When is a concert movie more than just a concert movie? In the case of "This Is It"-the documentary that offers a glimpse at Michael Jackson's rehearsals for a sold-out run of 50 shows he was set to perform before his shocking death tragically cut those plans short-it's when a concert movie becomes an opportunity for millions of grieving fans to witness the final blast of creativity from a fallen icon.
The arrival of a film artist's final work shortly after his or her death can provide a communal spiritual catharsis. (King of Pop followers have snatched up enough online pre-sale tickets for "This Is It" to sell out over 1,600 screenings nationwide.)
In that spirit, here's a look back at other times when the magic of the movies afforded a sense of closure after the cruelly abrupt demise of a celebrated performer. Some of these posthumous releases had been completed before their stars' deaths, and others had to be creatively altered to cover up the mid-production loss of an actor. In every case, they offered up an irresistible chance to say goodbye.