Aimee Semple McPherson was the most famous female evangelist of all time, healing the sick & raising the dead, stopping the rain in Kansas, cavorting with Charlie Chaplin. Then she vanished mysteriously in 1927 at Venice Beach. The faith-healer with a longing to be touched in a human way became the biggest Hollywood scandal & mystery of all time. Aimee was front page news! The few people who knew the truth were in their 90’s and near death when they decided to spill the beans nearly 75 years after Aimee disappeared.
Director Richard Rossi reveals the truth by interviewing Sister Aimee’s daughter Roberta, who breaks her silence for the first time. Roberta was not on speaking terms with her mother the last 9 yrs of her life. Roberta granted Rossi an interview shortly before she passed away to set the record straight. Also interviewed in this are the McPherson family secretary who also gave one interview to Rossi before her death. McPherson’s leading man in her theatrical sermons breaks his silence to Rossi before he passed as well in his only interview in which he reveals secrets of the legal battles & hidden plans of Aimee loyalists fighting over her legacy. The footage shot by Rossi of 3 primary witnesses is unique as they don’t appear together in any other film.
The story arc starts with Aimee’s background and move to California (narrated by her daughter), then takes us up to date with Rev. Gemma Wenger, a contemporary evangelist patterned after Aimee. The film builds to a climax of legal confrontations over the dismantling of Aimee’s temple. All sides are interviewed along the spectrum, from Ken Bernstein from the L.A. Conservancy who alleges Foursquare pastors misrepresented the facts, to a woman who believes Aimee was kidnapped presenting the evidence from the defense attorneys. There is a halting piano score played by the ninety-five year-old pianist who accompanied Aimee in her heydey. Though it may not be a perfect performance, it’s authentic. Combined with the use of silent movie style cards, it takes you back to the Roaring 20’s when Sister Aimee lived.
For the 1st time, in 2013, “Saving Sister Aimee” is available for a limited time on DVD. Fearless filmmaker Richard Rossi rips the lid off the secret legal wars to suppress the secrets of Sister Aimee. There’s a reason this film has won awards & is the best-selling DVD on Sister Aimee of all time. See it & judge for yourself. It’s up to you to decide.
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