Movie that was meant to spark Houston's comeback

Whitney Houston left behind two new songs and a movie performance that insiders say would have been "a big, big comeback" for her this year.

The star had finally realised her dream of producing a remake of the cult musical film Sparkle, in which she plays the overbearing mother of three singing sisters whose group is torn apart by drugs and domestic abuse.

Sony said yesterday that the movie, which was filmed in Detroit last year, will come out as planned in the summer, along with a soundtrack that features Houston's final studio recordings. Hollywood insiders were shown a rough-cut of the movie on Friday night, and Houston had already begun pre-publicity for its release.

In one of her last interviews, Houston said she just "felt the role". She told Access Hollywood: "I felt the love a woman has for her children – in the 1960s, trying to keep her family together, a single mother."