"ABBA -- The Movie," the documentary film based on the Swedish supergroup's tour of Australia, will arrive for the first time on DVD via Polar Music International/Universal Music throughout Europe tod

"ABBA -- The Movie," the documentary film based on the Swedish supergroup's tour of Australia, will arrive for the first time on DVD via Polar Music International/Universal Music throughout Europe today (Sept. 26), excluding France, where it is due Oct. 31. Releases in the United States, Japan, Australia and Brazil are also set for October.

The film, written and directed by Lasse Hallstrom ("The Cider House Rules," "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"), weaves rare concert footage around a fictitious DJ frantically seeking an interview with the band.

Thanks to Hallstrom's innovative ABBA video clips, of which he directed all but the final two, unparalleled frenzied hysteria developed in Australia, comparable to that of the Beatles' initial American appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." The film documents the phenomenon following ABBA's domination of the Australian singles chart at No. 1 for 42 weeks and the album chart at No. 1 for 35 weeks, in the 78 weeks from October 1975 to the climatic March 1977 tour.

The Swedish Film Institute (SFI) initiated an extensive restoration project of "ABBA -- The Movie" with a grant from Sweden's Parliament. "Our ambition was to make this the technically best music DVD ever released," says Universal Music Sweden managing director Marten Aglander, who adds that ABBA is Universal Music's biggest selling catalog artist worldwide. "When you look and listen to it, you can say that we succeeded."

"ABBA -- The Movie," was one of the first films ever to utilize "surround" sound, with one channel behind the audience. "Even if most of the sound in the rear channel was created from stereo effects, it helped that there was a 'surround' sound already recorded in 1977," according to Aglander.

The movie is being released as a single-disc DVD and a limited edition two-DVD digipak. On the latter, the bonus disc features a 40-minute interview filmed in New York in June with Hallstrom and ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, as well as a theatrical trailer and television commercials.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print