UNFINISHED - THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. Some of this information will be moved to the Swedish entry for ABBA - The Movie.
Footage for ABBA - The Movie was filmed in Australia in March 1977 and in Stockholm in June 1977.
This entry focusses on the Australian-filmed footage. See ABBA - The Movie (Swedish footage) for the footage filmed in Stockholm.
SYNOPSIS as described in the press release from Warner Brothers
Ashley, a disc jockey at a radio station in Sydney, Australia, is assigned by his boss to get an exclusive, in-depth interview with ABBA when they arrive for their sell-out concert tour of Australia. Ashley has never done anything like an in-depth interview before in his life and is more than a little panic-stricken by the assignment.
The film captures ABBA's hit-making performances at a series of amazing concerts which feature all the top-selling songs that have made them world-wide superstars , and also gives an insight into their hectic off-stage life. Ashley's first task is to meet the fans - from young children to senior citizens - and discover the secret of their fantastic popularity. He sets out to learn as much as he can about ABBA. It's hardly a challenge, because the stores are filled to overflowing with ABBA magazines and other ABBA articles. What is a challenge, is getting hold of ABBA. Ashley is no journalist and doesn't have a press card. Without a press card you can't go anywhere near ABBA, but he is stubborn and somehow manages to get into some press conferences. After ABBA has left ...
His job is hanging on this interview so Ashley follows them back and forth across the continent: from Sydney to Melbourne, Adelaide and the last stop Perth, where, with time rapidly running out, he finally succeeds in tracking down the super group.
SCENE-BY-SCENE - more or less (and naturally mainly concentrating on scenes with ABBA or ABBA connections in).
- Please Change Your Mind (Opening shots)
- Please Change Your Mind was a song written by written by Benny & Björn and this instrumental version of it, performed by the Swedish country band Nashville Train, featured during the opening moments of the film. Nashville Train included the ABBA studio musicians Roger Palm (drums), Rutger Gunnarsson (bass) and Mats Ronander (1979 and 1980 tour guitarist). The song, complete with lyrics, was released on their album ABBA Our Way in 1977. The other tracks on the album were Ring, Ring, Why Did It Have To Be Me, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, People Need Love, Honey, Honey, I've Been Waiting For You, Hasta Mañana, Fernando, Another Town, Another Train, I Am Just A Girl and Waterloo.
- The opening moments of the film show various animals waking up to a beautiful sunrise. We see a horse, a donkey, another donkey, a kangaroo, a wallaby and a cow - no koalas however.
- Radio Station 2TW Studio - Ashley Wallace (Robert Hughes) was a radio DJ who presented a country and western early morning radio show. We see him signing off at "one minute to five" ie. 4.59am.
- Radio Station 2TW - Boss' office - the radio station boss (Bruce Barry) meets with Ashley where he tells him he wants him to make a 2-hour radio special with ABBA on the night of their departure from Australia.
- Notice that the blue (Australian) Ring Ring LP cover keeps disappearing from the desk - sometimes it's there and sometimes it's not. This is not as clearly visible in the widescreen version however.
- The radio boss' conversation is interspersed with shots of fans waiting at the airport for ABBA's arrival - although a couple of shots (here and here) are from fans at the rain-soaked Sydney concert (note the sou'westers and umbrellas) and another is of fans outside Melbourne Town Hall.
- After the radio station manager says, "This is gonna be worldwide" and the screen subsequently widens into 'letter-box' format, the screen doesn't return to 'normal' until Ashley is racing to the press conference in his purple car under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
- Hole In Your Soul - a Qantas plane flies over Sydney Harbour Bridge, presumably coming in to land at Sydney airport accompanied by cute running cartoon figures (which subsequently appeared on the cover of ABBA - The Album a couple of months later.
- Fans at airport
- Ashley fights his way through crowds
- Plane lands - Airport arrival - first sight of ABBA walking through airport wearing white jackets with their first initial on the back / Stig is behind them / Ashley walking through crowds, Agnetha kisss a guard, police in crowds, / ABBA meet the press / first appearance of bodyguard / press cameras / a little wave / Ashley talks to press / 9 oclock I think / you all right? All right, see you / crowds / car leaving behind hit by fans / car they've gone out the back door car / car creeping out with Richard Norton, bodyguard and ginger guy paving the way / press conf on in half an hour / abba wishes to thank their supporters for coming and are sorry they cannot see you / Avis hire car
- When (supposedly) ABBA's Qantas jet lands at the airport it is still broad daylight, yet ABBA's flight was scheduled to arrive at 21:15 (on Sunday 27 February 1977) when it is dark in Sydney in early March. Many parents had taken their young kids dressed ready for bed in their pyjamas just to greet ABBA at the airport which was widely mentioned in the press at the time.
- When ABBA first appear before the cameras and Björn asks, "What do you want us to do?", you hear the bodyguard shoo away a cameraman telling him the "press conference is tomorrow" which was true enough (the press conference was at 11.30am the morning after ABBA arrived). Yet when Ashley asks a photographer what time ABBA are arriving, he is told "9 o'clock I think" which was also approximately correct.
- However, when Ashley discovers that ABBA have left the airport, he's told he'll just have to wait for the press conference ("it's on in half an hour") which completely conflicts with what the bodyguard just said to the cameraman that the press conference is tomorrow.
- The guy in a black and white striped T-shirt holding out a microphone as ABBA arrived at the airport is the same guy who tells Ashley "they've gone" at the press conference.
- When Ashley discovers that ABBA have left the airport, he's told he'll just have to wait for the press conference ("it's on in half an hour") which completely conflicts with what the bodyguard just said to the cameraman that the press conference is tomorrow.
- In the first few minutes of the film when you see ABBA's black car leaving the airport, the car has Victorian number plates (Sydney is actually in the Australian state of New South Wales) and yet the next shot of the car being guided by the blonde bodyguard shows a car with a Western Australian number plate (where Perth is). These bits are better viewed by Australians who know what to look for in an Antipodean number plate and is only really noticeable on the big screen.
- Ashley trying to find press conf / Pink/Purple Ford Cortina / ABBA the pop group, do you know where they're staying? / press conference begins, L-R Bj, Ag, Fr, Benny / Is this the right jam for Kings Cross /
- Lasse Hallström wanted a distinctive looking car for Ashley, hence the pinky-purple colour, so when it came to filming the later scenes in Perth (which were passed off as being in Sydney), they had a very hard time finding another Ford Escort in the same colour. Robert Hughes recalls: "I remember there's a sequence with the purple car where they needed to shoot more traffic scenes, which were supposed to be in Sydney. But the close-ups were actually filmed in Perth, so they had to go around and find the same colour purple car to match and we mocked up a traffic jam."
- When Ashley is driving from Sydney Airport to the hotel, he's caught in a traffic jam on the northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge when both the airport and Kings Cross are south of the bridge (which also means he didn't *need* to cross the bridge anyway!).
- Ashley was in the right lane when another driver tells him he's in the wrong jam for Kings Cross!
- After all that, he is seen driving under the north approach to the bridge where he started off being in the jam in the first place!
- Press conference
- The press conference was held at The Sebel Townhouse Hotel at King's Cross in the Elizabeth Bay area of Sydney (and is now apartments).
- Apparently, the reason for the terrible lip-synching at the press conference was because the journalists were not members of actor's equity, so the questions were voiced by actors.
- Ashley in traffic jams - seeings tshirts / hats/ ABBA hit town / posters/ big lady /fans in street walking / socks etc. / Under Harbour Bridge at speed / press conference / I'd hate the sound of 30,000 people booing / How can I answer to that? / arrival at Sebel Town House Hotel / end of press conference
- The people seen wearing ABBA T-shirts and caps were all part of the film crew and the woman with long brown hair wearing an ABBA baseball cap was Shelley Bamford, a production assistant on the film.
- Ashley misses press conf - I think they've left, they've gone / two blokes we see later at some point
- Backstage / raining / crowds with umbrellas / Benny asks if got filmed footage of all the umbrellas in Swedish
- Agnetha putting make-up on / Stig asking about make-up / got some make-up. Bjrn in caravan doorway / Benny worried about rain talking to crew Bjorn with the wind and the rain / crowd chanting
- Backstage you can see one of the golden wigs for The Girl With The Golden Hair on one of the cupboards behind Agnetha as Ashley is playing back some of his sound-bites. It's in the top right-hand corner of the screen as kids are screaming, "Give us a B!" on top of what looks like a fridge.
- Backstage ready for Tiger / Frida and backign band Frida shakes fists at ?
- Waiting to go on stage for Tiger, someone (Lasse Hallström? walks in front of ABBA
- Hand points
- Tiger (10:30 / Live / wet piano / Agnetha's hair different parting / press pass collector / sold right out / Hello Sydney, very glad to see you ...
- On the original video release of the film, the sound blip in Tiger was caused by an error in duplication.
- Waiting to go on stage for Tiger, someone (is it Lasse Hallström?) walks in front of ABBA
- Agnetha's fringe is sometimes wide apart, other times hanging straight.
- SOS / Agnetha cloak off / Police officer with cotton wool in ears / Frida stands to the side next to piano while Agnetha sings / I love you Benny! / Plait / ABBA tickets 50 bucks - well you ain't gonna see ABBA then are you?!
- In "SOS" and "Rock Me", Agnetha's plait keeps disappearing (as does the scarf around her neck!) eg. in "SOS" she starts the song with her gold scarf hanging down on both sides of her neck, yet when she turns to sing the first chorus, it's flipped over her shoulder.
- The ticket tout was selling tickets for AUS$50 ("50 bucks") which today (April 2019) would be: £28 (UK) / $36 (US) / 334 SEK / 32 Euros.
- Money, Money, Money / tshirts / hats / dolls, MUGS / Ashley walking in the rain / badges / badg box / split screen couldn't see for years / Agnetha plait / socks, money, magazines, fireworks, DQ outfits
- Apparently some of the items shown during Money, Money, Money were not available in Australia, like the glass mugs and the banner they sit on (which were probably Swedish). ????
- The first time we see Agnetha turning her back on the audience she has a plait, yet when she's shown in close-up before turning around, the plait has turned into a ponytail.
- After Money Money Money when the fireworks are going off, Agnetha and Frida are shown running from (or is it to?) the stage wearing completely different outfits to the ones they had just been shown wearing.
- Sydney Opera House photo call with giant kangaroo, Ashley tries to ask for an interview. The bodyguard tells him there's no interviews today, it's just press photographers
- The spot in the Sydney Opera House forecourt where Ashley parks his car has been a No Parking zone since the Opera House first opened in 1973!
- Lasse Hallström can be seen behind Björn when Ashley says, "... I know ...."
- Although Robert Hughes' identity as an actor was kept from the ABBA team, the scenes on the steps of the Sydney Opera House must have been when he was sussed. You see Thomas Johansson move over behind ABBA to deal with Ashley and in the next shot there is a very obvious cameraman zooming in on Ashley's attempts to talk to ABBA standing right behind Benny.
- He Is Your Brother - only song seen in full (CHECK) (19:35)
- Guitarist Finn Sjöberg has a little toy koala bear attached to his guitar strap.
- Both Agnetha and Frida's golden scarves keep disappearing the song.
- Ashley on phone to radio station Manager / need to gain their confidence / Perth? That's 2,000 miles and a very expensive airfare away Ashley / View of Sydney Harbour Bridge through window while on phone / got press pass?
- Intermezzo No.1 / Ashley running to shop or newsagents / magazines in shop, running down the street, hats in a shop, buys red cushion/posters note cloth wall hanging in background / drops cushion in the street / packing suitacase with Press Conference on the TV / packs suitcase with tshirt and cushion on the top / leaving hotel through revolving doors / running across the street / travelators / checking in at airport / getting on airplane / all the while Benny's playing Intermezzo.
- Some of the merchandise you see Ashley flicking through and buying in the shop during Intermezzo No.1 was never actually for sale in Australia. Robert Hughes remembers: "Also, in Sydney, we filmed at a local department store that stocked all the cushions and merchandise - I think it was Grace Bros. in Chatswood. The film crew took a lot of merchandise from Australia back to Stockholm. The other merchandise sequence was shot in a Stockholm newsagent's using a lot of stuff from Australia."
- When you see Ashley running through the streets of "Sydney" and dropping his cushion, the street signs are in Swedish.
- When Ashley boards the plane en route to Perth at the end of Intermezzo No.1, he's actually boarding ABBA's plane as their name and logo is clear to see on the fuselage of the Ansett airline jet.
- Side note: There was a bomb scare at one of the Perth concerts and the venue was evacuated for 20 minutes. Benny was on stage playing Intermezzo No.1 as all of the backstage crew were being ushered to safety leaving him perplexed on stage when his solo had finished! The following concert was then delayed by 30 minutes.
- Ashley on plane / Womens magazine (which magazine?) / making notes / Frida / Benny described as generous, open / Agnetha observant / Bjorn good with languages and business / Manager Stig / breakthrough winning ESC.
- On board the jet to Perth, you see Ashley flicking through the pages of a magazine learning about each ABBA member. The widescreen version shows two baby pictures of Björn when the normal version just shows one. Also, the normal version doesn't show Björn in the first picture of The Hootenanny Singers, only the other three band members! Björn's face is seen as part of the group in the widescreen version and on the big screen.
- In the scene on the plane when reading through all those magazines, many of the photos shown are from different magazines, especially the pre-ABBA pictures. (examples?)
- Frida's bolero jacket disappears on the line, "is always repeating itself" but reappears straight afterwards.
- Aerial shot of Viggsö closing in on songwriting hut with Benny and Björn singing Thank You For The Music.
- Ashley's plane arrives in Perth. In his hotel bedroom he plays back some interviews with the public he's made while editing them together.
- The public are all dressed in raincoats and/or holding umbrellas (for example, this man and this woman), meaning they would have been filmed in Sydney (not Perth). In these inteviews, you see the tape machine playing on the left-hand side of the screen. This was not visible on the VHS version of the film - not until it was released in widescreen and DVD.
- The very next shot in Kings Park overlooking Perth city centre for "Interview No.5" has brilliant sunshine.
- And the very next shot with the man who "hates them" is from an interview outside the Sidney Myer Music Bowl convert venue in Melbourne.
- Ashley leaves his room with an armful of recording equipment.
- Mamma Mia
- During Mamma Mia and the line, "Yes, I've been broken-hearted", you see Frida in a fuzzy shot in a camera angle not seen anywhere else in the film.
- There are plenty of split-screen shots during Mamma Mia, of which only one side (I think the right-hand side) could be seen on the VHS video version of the film.
- At the end of Mamma Mia when the camera is focussing on Agnetha's bottom, she's wearing a plait which turns into a ponytail and then disappears altogether in the space of ten seconds!
- Ashley checks at his reception whether his press card has arrived yet - there's no mail at all for him.
- He arrives at Perth Entertainment Centre. The audience are chanting, "We want ABBA!"
- At the Box Office, he pleads to be let in but they're all sold out. Note that it's the European 1977 tour programme on show - the Australian tour programme had an Arrival picture on the cover.
- So he blags his way into the arena after interviewing and distracting a friendly ticket steward by asking him what he likes about them. He says, "Well, they're a clean-cut group with nice music and a nice beat." The boy in the red hat waiting to get his ticket marked shows up in the audience later.
- Ashley squeezes past chanting fans and then walks past the sound desk where sound engineer, Claes af Geijerstam is working.
- Backstage, Agnetha practices vocals for I Wonder ("... the hell am I ...")
- Frida also practices I Wonder ("If I....") in the mirror. Benny is sitting next to her although you can't see him other than his reflectionin the mirror. Benny's son Peter sits on watching. Peter was more noticeable in the widescreen and DVD versions of the film, but not so noticeable when the film was first released on VHS.
- Ashley somehow gets backstage and past two members of staff.
- Frida combs her hair doing vocal exercises
- Agnetha combs her hair to vocal exercises, "My, my, my, my, my, my"
- Ashley asks string section where ABBA are and are pointed in the right direction.
- Johan pä snippen is the name of the song which Benny is seen playing on the accordion in the dressing room.
- In a corridor trying to see into the dressing room, Ashley bangs his head on the ceiling. The bodyguard catches him. Ashley says he has an interview, and is asked for his press pass. The music you hear in the background here is Polkan går.
- Ashley gets booted out just as the drums start for ...
- Rock Me
- At the start of Rock Me (supposedly in Perth), there is a young blond curly-haired boy seen in the audience. The same boy is seen as Björn introduces Dancing Queen (supposedly in Melbourne) at the end of the film.
- Agnetha's hair keeps changing from no ponytail to having a ponytail.
- The man in the crowd wearing a red anorak and singing along to Rock Me singing the words "wannabe, wannabe, wannabe", looks like he's had a drenching which would have happened at the Sydney concert, yet in the film this scene comes when they're supposedly indoors at one of the Perth concerts. You see the same guy in the front row of the Sydney concert waving to the camera as the crowd is chanting "We want ABBA!" before the show starts while backstage discussions continue over the rain problems.
- A despondent Ashley wanders along the water's edge at sunset, alone with the birds at sunset.
- I've Been Waiting For You
- Agnetha looks a little windswept at the start of I've Been Waiting For You when they're supposedly in Perth. Yet Perth was the only INSIDE venue of the tour so this shot would have been filmed at any of the other three venues (Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide).
- As Ashley walks along the water's edge, the birds fly out of his way creating a spectacular sight.
- Hotel / Crowds of kids being held back in reception of hotel / Ashley walks to lift / Press coming out of the lift … Which floor? 5 but you haven’t got a chance! / That’s OK I’m a professional
Hotel bedroom /reviewing Sydney concert / SHERATON HOTEL STOCKHOLM / Kinky / Frida’s expression not seen on video copies / Agntha pregnant
Agnetha’s bottom tops DULL show / Don’t they have bottoms in Australia / Swedish bodyguard Nej Nej Nej / Frida slips on stage /
Hearing aggro outside room number 136-139 /Haven’t I seen you – lifts going up and down / this one's going down
Standing outside in Street looking up at window– NO STANDING.
- Stoned is the instrumental heard in the background in the hotel room where they are reading the concert reviews (filmed in Sweden). The track was listed on the UK release of the movie on video. It was written by Clive Hicks and you can hear the whole thing here. Just before the track is heard, a jingle for Sydney radio station 2SM can be heard (although they are supposed to be situated in Perth!). The same jingle can be heard near the end of the movie, when Ashley is running through his radio station.
- The hotel room scene (supposedly in Perth reading the "Sydney Review"!) was filmed at The Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm. Agnetha was mid-way through her pregnancy at this point and so you don't see much more than her head.
- The newspaper headline that's read out actually read "Agnetha's Bottom Tops DULL show" but a carefully placed thumb leaves the majority of the audience in the dark. Frida's face of thunder is a picture in this scene and her reaction to all the talk about Agnetha's bottom is clear for all to see - she seems irritated by it. However, in the widescreen version, you see much more of Frida and she doesn't look quite as miserable as she comes across on the "pan and scan" video version. her comical reaction to the definition of "kinky" is a treat in widescreen.
- Ashley outside hotel window - NO STANDING
- The Name of The Game
- Ashley sleeps and dreams
- The Spunky ABBA picture book
- The Name of the Game dream sequence was filmed in June 1977 on Djurgården, one of Stockholm's main islands and close to ABBA's homes at the time, with a crew of 15 including one bus and two trailers. Both Tom Oliver and Robert Hughes travelled across the world specifically for it. There's no surprise therefore why so many shots of Stockholm were passed off as Sydney or Melbourne in the final cut of the film.
- Walking arms around, frisbee
- Studio - psychiatristc chair
- surrounded by photographers
- runing towards Fridas open arms
- walking by canal
- walking in hazy field w Frida
- studio - frida and tape machine
- studio - f & a on sofa with Ashley tape machine
- studio - dinner, hand claps
- studio - saloon, B&B play piano, lots of back slapping, hugging, bar tender
- When the saloon doors open to reveal Ashley in a cowboy outfit at the bar, someone walks in front of the camera which looks suspiciously like Lasse Hallström wearing a fake beard just as Agnetha sings the line "your smile and the sound of your voice."
- white horse
- golf tee
- studio large head f& ad
- boat on djurgarden canal, reporters running
- allwalking down slope
- white horse and goat outside saloon
- card game
- Lucky Ashley got to kiss Frida four times in the dream sequence and Agnetha once although the Agnetha kiss is very much in the backround.
- 'The Name of the Game' dream sequence was filmed in June 1977 on Djurgården, one of Stockholm's main islands and close to ABBA's homes at the time, with a crew of 15 including one bus and two trailers. Both Tom Oliver and Robert Hughes travelled across the world specifically for it. There's no surprise therefore why so many shots of Stockholm were passed off as Sydney or Melbourne in the final cut of the film.
- Ashley is woken from his dream by the telephone - it's the radio station manager. He tells him he has to go to Adelaide. Ashley says he knows ABBA "quite well" but the time is not ripe for an interview yet. The radio station manager tells him not to forget the DIALOGUE!
- Ashley's flight is about to arrive in Adelaide as he wakes from a nap with his head on an ABBA cushion. This point is almost excactly half-way through the film.
- When ABBA arrives in "Adelaide", it's actually their arrival at Melbourne Airport you see.
- The stage is being constructed at West Lakes Stadium for the Adelaide concert. You get a feel for how many people and crew are involved in making it happen - putting up scaffolding and lugging equipment.
- Ashley walks down the street playing back one of his interviews with a seemingly professional music person.
- Benny, Björn, Stig and Thomas Johansson reviewing the stage (SWEDISH speak)
- Ashley walks through a park, playing back interviews with kids,askingthem
- Kid with glasses: "It's got type of, um, er, a feeling that you know, you're happy"
- Little girl in ballet class: "I think it's fun, I just like them, I don't know why I do, I just like them"
- Little girl: "There's nothing really special about them, they're only human beings - except their music, that's what's special."
- Ring Ring -
- Any five year old in the film would now (April 2019) be 47 years old!
- The Australian organiser and promoter, Paul Dainty is seen on the phone checking flight arrangements.
- Bjorn tuning guitar, 2 violas
Sound check, outside, scaffold, equipment, Benny tests the chairs, very comfortable
expect ?? image v. clean
- Outside venues, interviews, ABBA books and posters, ABBA buttons - Melbourne
- When the "Adelaide" concert is being set up (stage being constructed, guitars being tuned and Benny trying out the seating), most of the footage is from Sydney, as is most of the crowd footage racing to their seats. However, the clip where tickets are being taken is from Melbourne!
- Make-up - Frida, Benny, Bjorn, Agnetha.
- Ashley on balcony listening back to interviews - too many clothes, too much make-up
- Why Did It Have To Be Me
- Ashley editing his tape, kids - I like them very much, nice people, I sing it. One of the band is sexy. do you think ABBA are sexy. SEXY?
- When I Kissed The Teacher
- song sped up - Ashley more interviews, ABBA Father
- Ashley interviews a couple of priests, one of which tells him that ABBA is mentioned in the Bible, "ABBA Father".
- Notice the guy in the white T-shirt sitting with his back to the priests - it's Director Lasse Hallström!
- Get On The Carousel
- Ashely racing, getting on a plane, plane taking off
- footage of them arriving in Perth etc. on the plane Agnetha asleep.
- fans taking pictures with Benny (girl seen earlier in the film)
During Get On The Carousel and the scene where a photographer is organising a large group of people (including ABBA kneeling on the floor) watch out for American rock star Alice Cooper to the right of the screen doing a "bunny ears" to someone and British Comedy Actor Robin Nedwell just left of the middle in a dark striped t-shirt.
- The photographer has popped up throughout the film
- walkign through hotel corridor, bit of a tussle getting into the rhotel room Roonm 604.
- In one of the behind-the-scenes shots, when ABBA are seen in the hotel corridor and trying to get into their room surrounded by pushy film crews during Get On The Carousel, note that there are clearly only two cameras shown (one of which is obviously a Panavision camera), yet footage is used in the film from BOTH cameras ie. both angles. The whole scuffle in the corridor must have therefore been staged for the film and the worried looks on ABBA's faces, especially Frida, were the results of some very convincing acting!
- One of the film crews is heard to mention Channel 9, an Australian television network who at one stage were to film a concert for later screening on television (you hear someone say "We've go the rights to this film.").
- Frida cluknking towards the car, Ashley asks for another interview.
- At the finale of Get On The Carousel where the girls are posing with arms outstretched and the music gets higher with ever note - in the video, the sound is thrown from left to right on stereo systems (but sounds muffled on basic TV sets). In the actual concert, the sound was thrown from left to right then back to front - not easily achieved on video!
- Radio Station manager - with warmth, depth and sincerty.
- Ashley goes to the Old Melbourne Hotel in daylight. Mets Stig int he corridor and asks for an interview. Sitg agrees by 10am in reception tomorrow morning.
- When Ashley determinedly rushes through ABBA's hotel, the Old Melbourne Motor Inn, to find them it's night-time. Yet when he emerges with Stig and the bodyguard moments later it is broad daylight!
- I'm A Marionette
- Francis Matthews ...
- ABBA meetign people with reversed fliming effects. like puppets
- ABBA off the plane.
- Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and his family meeting ABBA backstage
- Stig can be seen smoking behind one of the photographers.
- Crowds running into Melbourne venue
- While Frida is exercising by the pool with her bodyguard, Richard Norton, and counting 1-5 in Japanese ("Ichi, ni, san, shi, go" ) - there are two people watching her from the swimming pool - Her son Hans and Benny's son. However, Hans is only noticeable on the big cinema screen.
- Frida's T-shirt says "I'm a Qantas Bird"
- police horse escort - then the car
- Ashley first row right?
- Ashley takes his seat - Benny to stage
- ABBA flag
- at the end of "Fernando", you see Frida talking into the microphone yet it sounds like Agnetha saying "Thank you so much."
- Curly haired boy in audience that we saw earlier
- Dancing Queen
- As Frida and Agnetha walk onto the stage Peter Grönvall is waiting in the wings, standing with his arms folded.
- The first thing Frida does when she gets on stage is to kiss Benny.
- Frida accepts a gift from the audience - what looks like a little flower in her left-hand ....
- ... yet very the next camera shot has her holding the microphone in her left-hand and no sign of a flower!
- At the end of the longer introduction to Dancing Queen, Frida looks around for Agnetha to check she's ready to start singing.
- In the last couple of bars of Dancing Queen, Frida quickly throws something off-stage to enable her to 'punch' the air for the final five notes of the song (she's unlikely to have thrown the sparkler she was just given into the audience though!).
- Ashley is alseep, we hear the sound of music in the distance, he gets out of bed and looks out of the window to see a carnival parade taking place.
- Robert Hughes recalled: "The sequence where I've overslept for an interview with ABBA was shot in two separate locations - one is in the hotel, maybe in Adelaide, and the second scene when I cross the room, look out of the window and see the Moomba Festival was shot from the window of the first floor of a bank in Melbourne."
- Down in the hotel reception, a rushing Ashley angrily asks, "Why the hell didn't you wake me up?".
- Moomba Festival - Ashley hurries through the crowdspassin
- The radio announcement you hear that "The Moomba Festival presents the last appearance of ABBA in Australia" is a fake one dubbed in afterwards. What's so odd about this announcement is that, according to the plot of the film, ABBA had only just arrived in Melbourne and hadn't even played a concert. Yet in real life, the Town Hall reception was ABBA's FIRST appearance in Melbourne.
- ABBA's appearance at the Melbourne Town Hall falsely suggested that it was part of the Moomba Parade. The Moomba Parade used to happen on the Labor Day public holiday, which always takes place on the second Monday of each March. In 1977 that was 14 March. ABBA left Australia the previous day, Sunday 13 March (and from Perth (not Melbourne!) to London).
- Melbourne inhabitants will recognise the street we see in the film with the festival parade because it is where the Town Hall is situated (Swanston Street) where all the fans were gathered outside and where ABBA waved from the balcony.
- The shots of Ashley peering up at the balcony surrounded by screaming fans were also shot after ABBA left Melbourne. They are very tight shots, but if you look closely, you can see vehicles in the background. Seeing the view from the balcony when ABBA were actually there, absolutely no traffic could get through as the road was blocked off entirely. Some ABBA fans who were there at the Town Hall were asked to come back some time later so they could be filmed, surrounding Robert Hughes, yelling and screaming for ABBA when they weren't even there!
- When ABBA are at the Melbourne Town Hall, you see a someone waving the single cover for Knowing Me Knowing You as Ashley tries to push his way through the crowds. The single had been released in Australia just the previous week.
- (ABBA arrived in Melbourne on Saturday 5th March 1977. They went from the airport to the Old Melbourne Hotel where they had a quick change and from there they went straight to the Melbourne Town Hall in the early afternoon on 5th March. That was a full 9 days *before* the Moomba parade. Lasse Hallstrom probably sent a film crew back to Melbourne to film the parade over a week later, because it was obviously "colour and movement" that he could add to the movie.
- Melbourne Town Hall fans, car, police, waving, balcony, copy of KMKY - LR, last apparance
- Ashley kisses receptionist
- I suppose they've gone already .
- Is ther eanyone else you wish to speak to?
- Testing 1, 2 Testing 1, 2, Testing ARRGGH!
- So Long
- ABBA's encore was actually Dancing Queen followed by Thank You For The Music, not So Long.
- Ashley walking looking furious
- Thank you We love you Thank you Goodbye
- Ashley, looking defeated, walks past hotel reception who tell him that his Press Pass has arrived. He tells them to keep it! Ashley walks to the lift. When the lift doors open, ABBA are in the lift so Ashley starts fumbling for his recording equipment.
- When Ashley gets into the lift where ABBA are standing, it is Benny who is facing the lift doors when they open.
- Watch out for Agnetha's grin when Ashley starts fumbling for his recording equipment.
- As the lift doors close, Ashley begins to get his interview.
- A brand new lighting effect was used for Eagle which had never been seen on the big screen before, although it was originally intended for the movie Superman. The 'flutter box' produced the effect of flickering coloured lights.
- Frida fluffs the line "and I dream I'm an Eagle" by miming, "is it true I'm an Eagle?" which Agnetha mimes correctly.
- The lift buttons towards the end were not visible on the VHS video version of the film.
- When the lift doors open after the song, it is Frida and Agnetha who are facing the doors and everyone appears to have "scooched" along by one place!
- Ashley thanks ABBA and they say goodbye. The radio station manager, on the phone, is overjoyed to hear Ashley got his interview as Ashley frantically tries to sort his interview tape out.
- Ashley races to the radio station by taxi
- Ashley's taxi journey only takes him approximately 30 minutes (based on the times shown on the clocks through the taxi window, and the fact his show is due to start at 7.30pm). However, a car ride from Melbourne to Sydney would take more like 12 hours and be horribly expensive since it's approximately 870km by the shortest route!
- The taxi interiors were shot in Sweden while the exterior shots of the taxi driving along were actually filmed in Melbourne. As the car was a Swedish left-hand model, the film was reversed.
- Tom Oliver went out with the film crew for a couple of hours filming his bit in the front of the taxi with the crew in the back filming him - and then Robert went out and was filmed from the front - so Tom Oliver and Robert Hughes were not actually in the car at the same time!
- All of the clocks you see were all shot in Sweden, including the clock tower at the end of Hamngatan in Stockholm.
- ABBA greet fans through barbed wire fence and sign stuff.
- ABBA press interviews, really had a good time Can you move in a bit further.
- Waving to fans = Goodbye! (Bjorn)
- Ashley gets to the radio tation
- Frantic fans through fences.
- Ashey runs to station - what time did ABBA leave?
- Airport - saying goodbye to Australia
- The scene walking past the fans at the airport where Benny shakes hands with a screaming fan - walking behind him is Hans although this is more noticeable on the widescreen version. Benny's son Peter had just walked in front of him (behind Björn)
- Before Benny shakes hands with the screaming fan over the security fencing, he picks something up from the floor but you have to be quick to catch it.
- Radio station Ashley getting ready. Just in time Asheley, Studio 2.
- Gettin gon the plane. this is a crazy thing.
- In the final scene including ABBA where they are boarding the plane and saying their goodbyes, Frida's very last wave and smile seems to be directly to the camera
- Out of breath ... Back from Sydney Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne
- Thank You For The Music
- Plane takes off
- Fans, sparkler.
- Studio Stockholm - mar?
- Benny on piano.
- Throughout the on-stage performance, Agnetha's headband keeps disappearing; Frida's golden cap keeps disappearing and Francis Matthews' neck scarf keeps changing position.
- It's been claimed that one of the early plans was to make a TV special and so one of the two Royal Albert Hall (London) concerts was filmed for that purpose in Feburary 1977 before the idea snowballed into a full-blown motion picture once they hit Australia. It is suspected that at least one shot of one of the London concert's footage is featured in the finished movie - in particular at the end of Thank You For the Music where there is a distance shot of the stage ("without a song or a dance what are we") because the curtains are draped across the top of the stage rather than lying straight as they were in most of the Australian concerts.
- Studio - round the piano
- In the studio shots, Agnetha has her back to Björn and Benny at the beginning, yet later we see a shot from the mixing desk and Frida turns around to see them and it is she who has her back to them.
- See here for the rest of the song.
- Closing credits - Viggsö, Stockholm - see here
CAST AND CREW
Apart from ABBA, two Australian actors starred in the film:
- Tom Oliver
Tom Oliver is best known as Lou Carpenter from the Australian soap Neighbours.
As well as the bodyguard, Tom Oliver also appeared as the drunken bartender, the butler in the dinner scene and the taxi driver at the end of the film.
Speaking to What's On TV magazine, he said, "ABBA were wonderful to work with! I played their bodyguard during their tour of Australia. So all the real tour footage was used in the movie. I was on stage with them a few times. There wasn’t really a script for the actual storyline, but it was all good fun. When Benny and Björn came to Melbourne for the premiere of Mamma Mia! a few years ago I tried to get in touch. But I’m not sure they ever got the message. Either that or they thought I was a mad fan!”
(Note: it was only Björn attended Mamma Mia! Première, Melbourne.)
- Robert Hughes
Robert Hughes is best known in Australia for his role as Martin Kelly in the sitcom Hey Dad
Speaking in 1977: "There was one occasion when I had to make a rush for ABBA as they came out of their tour caravan. And, would you believe it, nobody had told the bodyguards! I got clobbered right away and a glorious fight started. Well, we Aussie may be handy enough in a punch-up, but I was glad when someone eventually convinced those guys I was the actor!"
Robert was interviewed extensively by Australian fan Cotton Ward and featured in the ABBF Magazine across four issues from Issue 36. He said in that interview: "If Lasse had told everyone I was an actor, the bodyguards would have acted. So all their reactions to me on the Sydney Opera House steps were completely natural."
Although a loose synopsis had been written, Robert Hughes told the ABBF Magazine: "The first concert was in Sydney and that's when we were having talks about the script and we just started shooting. It was crazy - we just sort of went with cameras and did things. Robert Caswell was supposed to write the script and he was really upset because everything was moving too fast and he didn't have time to write anything. Most of the scenes I did were shot on my own and were adlibbed. There was no rehearsal, but it was a wonderful experience."
In particular, his scene at the start of the film with Bruce Barry, the radio station manager, was all ad-libbed. Robert said, "We'd discuss it and say, 'What do you want to talk about'?, come up with a character idea, kick it around and then shoot it."
Robert continued: "There's a lot of sequences where I was interviewing people that became really boring to do because I had to keep asking 'And what do you think of ABBA?' All that stuff was live and I was operating the tape recorder and doing the sound at the same time. I initiated some of the shots, such as the one in Perth at sunset - we were driving along and I saw a line of seagulls hanging in the breeze so I suggested putting a long lens on the camera and I walked towards it through the seagulls and Lasse used it during I've Been Waiting For You. Another was a quick shot of the ABBA flag with the full moon behind it. Also the sequence at the end when ABBA are in the studio, Lasse said, "What can we do? We've shot everything," and I said, "But you haven't actually shot them in the studio."
The film apparently had an unlimited budget. "Some say a million bucks, nobody knows," said Robert. "When they were shooting at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, the crew had every Panavision camera that was available in Australia. They also had isolated camera mounted for static shots. There were many people with buzzers and lights hidden around to help synchronise the sound. There were some complaints about the cameramen getting in the way. I've got a terrific shot of cinematographer Paul Onorato on his knees in front of the girls and he's got a huge Panavision camera doing a close-up on stage and a lot people complained about that and I can understand why. A lot of the close-ups of stage footage were shot at different concerts. ABBA wore the same outfits and the scenes were inter-cut."
For many years rumours have abound that Robert Hughes had been trying to distance himself from his involvement with the movie, but his willingness to give the ABBF interview (in 1993) as well as an Australian radio interview in the early 1990s, proved he had plenty of positive memories of his time working with Lasse Hallström and ABBA. Indeed his reason for distancing himself may well be embarrassment considering ABBA's huge backlash of popularity in Australia starting in the late 1970s. Another explanation may be the small issue of his payment for appearing in the film. In the ABBF interview he said, "I didn't get paid a lot of money for the film. I haven't had any residuals from overseas sales or anything. I just got a fee for each week of work and that was it. I'm looking into this. There's a bone of contention over the contract, which nobody can seem to find."
On filming the taxi scenes: "Tom Oliver was not sitting high enough so they took the seat out of the taxi. So he was driving a left-hand drive car around the streets of Stockholm sitting on an apple box as he improvised his diaglogue."
On filming in Sydney and then Stockholm, "When I started filming, I had a pair of boots and was doing all this running and because the boots had become part of the film, I had to take them to Sweden and did many running scenes in them. They were extremely uncomfortable. I also had three identical sets of the jeans and the top I wore - that became the uniform for the film so they didn't have to worry about wardrobe changes."
Robert spent four weeks in Sweden including a weekend on ABBA's island: "We'd gone to the island to watch the shooting of a pull-out shot of the island from a helicopter. We were hiding behind the cabin in the shot. There was a normal-sized three-bedroom timber home with a deck where ABBA lived on the lower island. They were having a sewerage problem in the main house when I was there and they were most apologetic about it because didn't smell too good!
In May 2014, Robert Hughes was convicted of sexual offences against children and sentenced to 10 years and 9 months' imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 6 years.
- Lasse Hallström, Director
"When ABBA first raised the idea for the film, they just wanted to make it for fun, for when they grew old. It was just intended to be a home move on 16mm. But then it grew bigger and bigger, and the next plan was to shoot it on 35mm, and then we decided to shoot it in Panavision as well."
Lasse Hallström simply told ABBA that the film would have two other roles - that of a bodyguard and a disc jockey reporter. He said, "I let these two actors appear as if they were people just doing their jobs. ABBA knew very little about what I was planning to do. I wanted to have the film as realistic as possible. I told them what was in the script when they got to Australia, but they were so nervous before their first concert that I guess it just went in one ear and out the other."
It was decided to weave a story around the concerts, because, as Lasse said: "I've seen lots of concert films, with long heavy numbers on stage and that just gets boring. I think even the most devoted ABBA fan couldn't stand a full-length film with only music performed on stage. So we added a story about a disc jockey who is doing a radio special on ABBA and keeps trying to interview them. It's nice to involve the group if you can, but there are a lot of dangers in that. Because if you try to involve the group in the story they need to be very good actors, and it could turn out to be corny or unconvincing. So we brought in a guy to play the disc jockey and handle the comedy part."
Lasse has confessed it wasn't easy filming ABBA on tour, "We had two film crews plus two extra photographers, and an unbelievable stack of equipment had to be packed, moved, unpacked and re-packed at every concert location on ABBA's tour. In all the inevitable confusion there were times when ABBA's own personal guards lost track of who was who. I found myself forcibly restrained from getting too close on several occasions and I got just a little tired of having to explain that I was there at ABBA's own request!"
- The setlist for 12 March 1977 concert at the Perth Entertainment Centre was as follows. Those marked ** never made it into the movie:
- That's Me **
Benny outside the trailer with Stig:
Benny: Har ni filmat paraplyerna därute? Det är en underbar sight tyker jag. Har ni gjlort det?
Stig: Ja, de har de gjort.
Benny: Have you filmed the umbrellas out there? it's a wonderful sight I think. Have you done that?
Stig: Yes, they've done that.
Stig (to Agnetha out of shot), then Benny and Björn and voice in background:
Stig: Agnetha ... jag har 4kg smink
Benny: Är sminkösen här?
Björn: Man kan säga till henne ...
Benny: Var finns hon nånstans tro?
Björn: Nämen hom kommer hit sörru, om man såager, ber henne det
Stig: Nåa, gå inte ut och blöt håret är du bussig.
Stig: Agnetha ... I have 4kg of make-up
Benny: Is the make-up woman here?
Björn: You can tell her ...
Benny: Where is she?
Björn: She will come here, if you tell, ask her to.
Stig: No, don't go outside and get your hair wet please..
In the hotel room reviewing the papers: (NEED PIC)
Benny (to Agnetha): Din ända var det bästa på hela showen!
Benny (to Agnetha): Your behind was the best in the whole show!
Need Swedish words for:
Bodyguard: It was pretty dangerous there for a while, wasn't it? With the rain on the stage.
Björn: No, not really.
Bodyguard (to Agnetha): It was pretty dangerous there for a while, wasn't it? With the rain on the stage.
Agnetha: Yes, really.
The bodyguard to Ashley when he's trying to get to ABBA: (NEED PIC)
Bodyguard: Nä, nä, nä, inga såna grejer här
Bodyguard: No, no, no, no such things here.
Thanks to Robin Andersson, Ian Cole, Harry Ehler, Julian D, Vladimir Chistov, Mark Creek, Malin Westerberg, George Bourdaniotis and the ABBF Fan Club Magazine.
Extra thanks to Harold Hanlon c/o ABBA Village.
Enormous thanks to ABBAMAIL (no longer online) and to Raffem.com.
Much of the information here was taken from ABBA Report Issue 17 Summer 2000 but the people who fed that article were ABBF Magazine (especially Cotton Ward), Claes Davidsson, Cliff Docherty, Micke Hjernestam, Alex Jones, Carl Magnus Palm, Luke Rogers, Rod Reynolds, Ian Smith, Bill Paganucci, Grant Whittingham, Graeme Read and in particular, Ian Cole. Most of those contributions came via ABBAMAIL (no longer online). Thanks also to Dmitry Shipov and Guido Strotkötter.
Ian Cole has been particularly helpful in sharing all his knowledge and information. 90% of the information for this ABBA - The Movie entry (and the Swedish one) is down to Ian's site The Secret Guide to ABBA - The Movie.
Thank you so much to everyone.
YouTube link c/o SorryHaters and Cid Nahuel Montserrat