Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|ABBA The Movie |
Director: Lasse Hallström
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Blu Ray pressing. Region Code A. Abba's documentary of their 1977 Australian tour features great concert performances and behind-the-scenes footage of the band as they make their way through the land down under. Abba-mani... more »
The best pop band in the world - Live in Australia
Andreas Komodromos | New York City | 09/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After a couple of false starts, the most anticipated DVD for all ABBA fans is about to be released.
ABBA the Movie was filmed in 1977 in Australia during the band's tremendously successful tour of that continent. In 1976 ABBA dominated the Australian charts like no other act has done before or since, so when the band decided to stage its first world tour the following year, Australia was one of the (very few) destinations.
The movie is basically a documentary following the band as they perform and thrill Australian audiences of all ages, from Sydney all the way to Perth. The majority of the footage consists of the band performing most of its early classics in front of thousands of ecstatic fans. We also get some backstage shots and a thin storyline that runs throughout the movie, about a radio DJ who is trying to get an exclusive interview with the band. Thankfully, the scenes involving the reporter are short and don't interfere with the real show, ABBA's performance.
From the very beginning, when the band arrives at Sydney's airport, you get the sense that ABBAmania has swept Australia. The view of so many screaming fans lining up the streets all the way into the city is just breathtaking. You will have to look back to old footage of the Beatles arriving in the US to see anything comparable.
One of the early scenes, a the press conference, the band gets to answer the standard questions, and we learn nothing new other than the fact that Agnetha speaks English with a heavy (sexy) Swedish accent, an accent that is much stronger than it sounds on the records.
If you are looking for some insights about the band and their private lives away from the spotlight, you won't find it here. We do see the band in a Sydney hotel, after the first performance, as they review the press and tabloids. Frida wonders out loud what does "kinky" mean and Agnetha, tired of reading about her famous behind (which is far more impressive than J-Lo's) she says "Don't they have bottoms in Australia?"
And that's it, that's all you get as far as "behind the scenes" or anything "intimate and personal". This is definitely not "Truth or Dare".
Thankfully the concert footage is excellent and will serve as a lasting reminder of how great ABBA is. There are no special effects, no million-dollar stage sets, no cheap shock tricks like today's artists who try to impress the audience with technology rather than their performance.
The movie was directed by Lasse Hallstrom who also directed most of the band's videos and who eventually became a successful Oscar nominated director for films like "The Cider House Rules" and "What's eating Gilbert Grape" among others.
As far as the songs, we get most of ABBA hits from 1973 to 1977 as well as a couple of songs from ABBA the Album (the movie was intended to support that album - note the similarities in the titles).
Some of the songs performed throughout the movie are:
SOS (Agnetha gives her best performance during this segment)
He is your brother
I've been waiting for you
Mamma Mia (the chopsticks ending)
Money Money Money (watch for Agnetha's famous asset as it is in full display here)
Why did it have to be me? (Frida's turn to shine, as she duets with Bjorn)
When I kissed the teacher
Get on the carousel (Unreleased song, part of the "Girl with the Golden hair" mini musical)
I'm a marionette (Different from the album version, with a very energetic performance by Agnetha and Frida)
Dancing queen (complete with a full orchestra)
Fernando (great scene with the audience singing along at the end)
Thank you for the music
From ABBA The Album we get a couple of "Video-like" performances - "Eagle" in an elevator scene as the storyline wraps up, and "The name of the game" in a dream sequence. Also, "Hole in your Soul" can be heard briefly during the opening credits.
Unfortunately the movie fails to present a complete record of the 1977 shows. During this tour the band performed a "mini musical" called "The girl with the golden hair". Three of the four songs from the musical are on ABBA the Album, but the complete presentation (with the narrator and choir) can only be heard on bootlegged cassette tapes. "Thank you for the music" and "I'm a marionette" are not shown within the context of the musical and the fact that Agnetha and Frida are in identical outfits and blonde wigs is never explained (they are supposed to be the same character, the girl from the title of the musical). The narration between the musical's songs is cut down to just a 10 second introduction of "I'm a marionette" (which sounds completely different and more energetic than the album version). Worst of all, the one song from the musical that never made it to any ABBA records, the brilliant "Get on the carousel", is cut in half for some interview montages.
It would have been great to include the entire four song musical as it was presented back then, even if the backing chorus sings such clichés as "She is a star shining, shining" between the songs. And since we can't get "Get on the carousel" on any ABBA CD, why not present the song in its entirety rather than chopped up. The song has been a fan fave for years and requests to have it released officially on a CD got nowhere. One more song from the musical (the only one not in the movie), the brilliant ballad "I wonder" was recorded live during these shows and ended up as a b-side to "The name of the game". Why wasn't this song included in the movie?
Also not included, the introductory song "I am an A" where each band member gets to introduce themselves to the audience. Again, the song was never released officially so including it as part of the film would have been a great bonus especially since it is part of this historic tour.
For ABBA fans who have been waiting for years for this DVD release a few added features would have been welcome, especially any additional concert footage, the inclusion of the entire "Girl with the golden hair" mini musical and the impossible to find "I am an A".
Overall though, the movie is thoroughly enjoyable and a MUST for any ABBA fan. The concert scenes are brilliant and capture the band at the height of its popularity. Even Agnetha seems to be happy when she is on stage (contrary to her recent interview) and both her voice and Frida's voice sound amazing - there is no lip-syncing here, unlike most of today's pop stars. Most of the songs stay true to the studio versions, with some notable exceptions like "I'm a marionette".
Great movie, great performances by the world's best pop band EVER, but a few added scenes and some additional performances would have made this an even better DVD than it already is.
The DVD's release will coincide with the release of Madonna's new single that heavily samples ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme", a fact that proves yet again that ABBA's music is timeless.
One last comment: Rock & roll hall of fame - WAKE UP."
A Very Original Look at ABBA-Mania!
Kenneth M. Gelwasser | Hollywood, Fl USA | 03/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a convert from pop music crumudgen to lover of all things ABBA, I have been looking forward to the release of "ABBA The Movie" for a long time. Unfortunately, I saw release dates come and go with only that mocking Amazon.com, 2010 date shown (which basically is code for "sorry kid, your out of luck"). To my surprise the DVD has finally been released. When I first purchased this DVD, I knew absolutely nothing about it's contents. Was it a documentary about the band? A concert film? A rock opera, ETC? Well, from a totally unique and original music group, "ABBA The Movie" turns out to be a very unique and original film. Swedish Filmmaker, Lasse Hallstrom basically gives us a look at the mania, that transpired 'down under' during ABBA's monumental, 1977 concert tour of Australia. Dosn't sound that different from all the other rock movies you've seen... right? Nope! Hallstrom came up with an interesting ideal. Within the real life events he was filming, he created a fictional, narrative about a country radio DJ named Ashley Wallace (Robert Huges), who is sent on a do or die mission by his station manager to get an intimate interview with ABBA. This is pretty much an impossible mission considering, that it seems like everyone in th Aussie world is trying to get up, close & personal to the band. Sounds like a stupid, cheesy ideal for a film, right? In lesser hands this could have a disaster. But Hallstrom uses this conceit not for just cheap comedy (though there are some humourus scenes), but to take an inspired look at the mania (which seems to involve an entire continent), that surrounded the tour and the love that fans and onlookers have for this pop group. It's all things ABBA! If your looking for a personal film about Benny, Bjorn, Agnetha & Anni-Frid your out of luck. The film mostly takes the fictional DJ's viewpoint of an outsider looking into ABBA's world. The band remains from begining to end, friendly, but rather enigmatic figures, who are seemingly trapped in the almost surrealistic, circus-like world of the tour. Finally, mention should made of this film's superb concert footage. If you are looking for just a straight ahead, by the book, filming of a concert, than you will be dissapointed. Instead, interspliced throughout the film in an almost jigsaw puzzle-like fashion, we are taken on tour and see performances from cities such as Sidney, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. I've been a music fan for many years and seen a lot of concerts on film. All I can say is that Director, Lasse Hallstrom did a stupendous job filming these shows. You can just feel the energy emenating from the stage and get an ideal of what it must have been like to be there. The editing is tight and the cinematograpy is absolutely beautiful. I would put this concert footage in the same league with movies such as D.A. Pennebaker's "Don't Look Back" (Dylan), Martin Scorses' The Last Waltz (The Band) or Jonathan Demmes' "Stop making Sense" (Talking Heads). It's that good! As for the DVD its self, the remastering of the picture & sound is fantastic. From such a beautiful film transfer its' hard to believe this movie is nearly thirty years old. If there is but one complaint about this release it's the lack of any extras. It would have been great to have the trailers, some commentary tracks, outtakes or (hold your breath) more concert footage! General music fans will enjoy the film. For ABBA fanatics its' a must! Highly recommended!"
Not the movie
Keith Young | California USA | 06/11/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is ABBA the movie, but not the version that you should get. Universal Music holds the rights to the entire ABBA cataloge. And they are currently restoring their own version of this movie which will be far superior to the Warner version and released around the same time in 5.1 stereo. Don't be tricked into buying the wrong one. Go to abbathesite.com for more
info about these two new releases."
Fun rock film
Jim | Moline, IL United States | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A thought came to me that if I were to put on a very limited showing of rock/pop films it might include The Beatles' Hard Day's Night, The Band's Last Waltz, then I thought why not this one to help encapsulate the feeling of the late 1970s. Filmed fantastically by Hallstrom (a major motion picture director ever since), with split screens and the whole thing, puts the viewer into the middle of the frenzy, the huge concerts, touring/meet-and-greet schedule, maniacal fans, etc. The concert footage is terrific, sound is excellent, plus the small handful of Australian actors are very memorable. I come across rock history buffs and musicians who still don't get the whole ABBA thing (this is coming from a guy who also listens to Sonic Youth, by the way), but perhaps this film will do it. Glad to see this on DVD - have been waiting a long time."