Posthumous praise for Jackson as fans flock to film

Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:43am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Michael Jackson fans poured out of cinemas around the world on Wednesday applauding a new movie about the singer which they said proved he deserved the title King of Pop.

Their excitement at the heavily hyped release of "This Is It" was mixed with sadness that one of history's biggest music stars and most troubled celebrities died before he could bring his live comeback to the stage.

This Is It was cut from 80 hours of film of the singer's rehearsals for 50 London concerts planned from July which he had envisaged both as a comeback after years of living as a recluse and a final farewell to live performance.

"It's great!" wrote Karen Portem on the Facebook social networking site, having seen the movie on its first day of release in the Philippines. "But it's so sad to think that people ... aren't able to see M.J. perform it live."

Critics have been largely positive, describing the film as a fitting tribute to a star who fascinated the world with his slick dance moves and versatile vocals as well as his increasingly bizarre appearance and legal troubles.

Jackson died suddenly on June 25 in Los Angeles at the age of 50 after suffering cardiac arrest, just as he was about to return to the limelight and put behind him the stigma of a sensational 2005 trial where he was acquitted of child molestation charges.

He grew up as one of Motown legends The Jackson 5, made the gliding "moonwalk" famous the world over and still has the best-selling album of all time with his 1982 "Thriller."


<p>Tito (L), Marlon (C) and Jackie Jackson pose at the premiere of the documentary "This Is It" in Los Angeles October 27, 2009. The documentary includes interviews, rehearsals and backstage footage of Michael Jackson as he prepared for his shows in London and opens in the U.S. on October 28. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>