Monday, 24 June 2019
It wasn't until 2008 that the footage was all finally put together with the sound rushes and an edit could be made and yet the film was delayed a further 10 years by ongoing legal issues and Aretha's refusal to approve it's release.
The perseverance of Producer Alan Elliott (who was 7 years old when the original shoot took place) pays off as the completed film is absorbing and utterly mesmerising. The Queen of Soul gives a powerful, impassioned performance yet remains calm throughout, eyes mostly closed, as she lifts her vocals to a higher plane. You can feel the heat in the room as the intimate crowd are whipped up into a frenzy and it's their reactions and those of the Southern California Community Choir, along with the colourful MC Rev James Cleveland that make the film such a pleasurable watch.