ABBA: The Movie (1977): Hallstrom’s Documentary

ABBA: The Movie, a documentary about the Swedish pop group ABBA’s Australian tour, was helmed by Lasse Hallström, who directed most of the group’s videos.

The film has become a cult film among ABBA fans. It benefited from the simultaneous release of ABBA: The Album, the group’s fifth studio album, featuring songs from that album and many of their hits.

The film depicts the adventures of Ashley Wallace (Robert Hughes), a naïve DJ on Radio 2TW, who usually presents a through-the-night country and western-themed show.

He is sent by the station’s boss (Bruce Barry) to get an in-depth interview (“Not an interview, a dialogue”, demands his boss), set to be aired on the day ABBA leave Australia.

Ashley, who has no experienced, fails; he has forgotten to pack his press card is one obstacle.

Armed with a tape recorder, Ashley is forced to follow the group all over Australia, in Sydney, and then travelling, in order, to Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne, experiencing repeated run-ins with the group’s protective bodyguard (Tom Oliver), and his exasperated boss.

Ashley is also interviewing the public, asking them if and why they like ABBA. Most of  the comments are positive, but one man is upset by his ABBA-obsessed teenage son, and a girl thinks ABBA are over the top.

Cast
Benny Andersson as himself
Björn Ulvaeus as himself
Agnetha Fältskog as herself
Anni-Frid Lyngstad as herself
Stig Anderson as himself
Richard Norton as himself, bodyguard and fitness trainer (uncredited)
Robert Hughes as Ashley Wallace
Bruce Barry as radio station manager
Tom Oliver as bodyguard/bartender/taxi driver

Songs

“Tiger”
“S.O.S.”
“Money, Money, Money”
“He Is Your Brother”
“Intermezzo No. 1”
“Waterloo”
“Mamma Mia”
“Rock Me”
“I’ve Been Waiting for You”
“The Name of the Game”
“Why Did It Have to Be Me?”
“When I Kissed the Teacher”
“Get on the Carousel”
“I’m a Marionette”
“Fernando”
“Dancing Queen”
“So Long”
“Eagle”
“Thank You for the Music”

TCM showed the movie on September 5, 2020.