THE SECRET GUIDE TO
The following is a collection of things to watch out for in
ABBA - THE MOVIE, including hard to spot cameos, interesting facts, bloopers and
continuity mistakes. It is included as a bit of fun and is not meant to be taken
reading this, you may never be able to watch THE MOVIE in quite the same way. If you feel
this would spoil your enjoyment of THE MOVIE, do not read on!
This page was formerly the "cynics guide".
indicates recent updates
or new additions
During the early scene when the radio station manager is telling
Ashley that he wants him to get the "dialogue" with ABBA, watch the desk
carefully for the disappearing and reappearing copy of the Ring Ring (1975 reissue with
the blue cover) album.
Australian actress Nicole Kidman and her family are amongst the thousands of
fans at Sydney Airport. Sydney fan Judy Sawyer was also among the throng,
and can be spotted briefly, from behind.
When ABBA are "leaving the airport", the first car shown as
ABBA leave Sydney airport has Victorian number plates (Sydney in in New South Wales); the
next shot shows a car with Western Australian number plates. Incidentally, ABBA arrived at
night, yet are seen leaving the airport in daylight.
When Ashley is driving from Sydney Airport to the hotel, he is caught
in a traffic jam on the northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge (both the airport
and Kings Cross are south of the bridge, so driving across it is totally unnecessary).
Also, when he is told that hes in the wrong jam for Kings Cross, he is actually in
the correct lanes to get there (notwithstanding that he shouldnt be on the bridge in
the first place), so hes really in the right jam. Then he somehow gets off the
bridge and is driving under the northern approach (he wouldnt have been able to exit
until he was across the bridge).
While Ashley is driving to the press conference,
snippets of 'When I Kissed The Teacher', 'Dancing Queen' and 'Dum Dum
Diddle' are heard. In the movie trailer, 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' is heard
Something to watch for during many of the concert sequences is Agnethas
disappearing plait. Its there in one shot, gone the next, often during the one song.
Also noticeable is Frida's disappearing (or multiplying) scarves. Just a few of the many
instances that show the use of footage from different concerts during songs. Also
noticeable at times is the difference between the venues themselves!
THE MOVIE the tour starts in Sydney, then travels to Perth,
Adelaide and Melbourne. The real tour travelled Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth (which
makes much more sense geographically). Perhaps director Lasse Hallström is a Monty Python
fan, with a fondness for the SPAM sketch!
During 'Money, Money, Money', a lot of ABBA merchandise is shown. Amongst the
genuine Australian merchandise is some Swedish merchandise that was unavailable in
Australia, including a Swedish pressing of the 'Dancing Queen' single (held by a mannequin
wearing an ABBA t-shirt), and the blue and yellow ABBA scarf, which I
believe may be Swedish.
After ABBA sing 'Money, Money, Money' the girls are shown leaving the
stage at the end of the concert, wearing different costumes.
During 'Intermezzo no 1', Ashley is seen running around
"Sydney" and buying up ABBA merchandise and magazines. At least one of the
street scenes is obviously shot in Stockholm, as there are street signs plainly seen that
have never been used in Australia (the shot when Ashley drops something and stops to pick
it up). Amongst the merchandise that Ashley buys as research material are an ABBA
Scrapbook (containing nothing but blank pages) and an ABBA writing pad (with lined but
blank sheets of paper), and he also picks up two copies of the Spunky! ABBA Picture Book
(with the blue cover). When Ashley is shown leaving his Sydney hotel, he is leaving the
Sebel Town House, the hotel where ABBA were staying, which was clearly shown when Ashley
arrived for the press conference. When Ashley is seen at the airport he boards ABBAs
personal plane (distinguished by the large ABBA logo on the lower half of the fuselage).
On board the plane, Ashley is
reading through the magazines he bought in the previous scene. Many of the
photographs shown are not in any of the magazines bought, and in fact some
of them are from the tour programme
The Swedish polka tune played
in the dressing room by Benny on his accordion is 'Johan på snippen'. In the following scene between Ashley and the bodyguard, another
traditional Swedish tune, 'Polkan går' can be faintly heard in the background, again
played by Benny.
The scene of ABBA in the hotel room was filmed many months later at
the Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm. Notice that because Agnetha was obviously pregnant by
this time no more than her head is shown, aside form the opening long shot. Of particular
note is the strategically placed thumb over the newspaper headline AGNETHAS BOTTOM
TOPS DULL SHOW. Note too the looks that Frida gives when Agnethas bottom is
discussed (hidden behind her dark glasses).
During this scene, music can
be heard very faintly in the background. First is a radio jingle for Sydney
radio station 2SM (this scene is supposed to be in Melbourne), then an
instrumental piece of music is heard - this is 'Stoned', an unreleased track
that has been mentioned in several books as being in THE MOVIE.
As the crowd enters the "Adelaide" concert, tickets for the
Melbourne concerts are clearly seen being taken. Adelaide tickets, like
Sydney, had the 'Dancing Queen' single cover photograph.
In Get On The Carousel several of the lines sung by Agnetha and
Frida during the chorus have been mixed out of the soundtrack. Footage of Frida during the
second verse (singing the line "reached the top") has been slowed down ever so
slightly to match the vocal track (on the British VHS version).
In one of the behind-the-scenes shots
during 'Get On The Carousel, when ABBA are
seen surrounded by pushy film crews, note that there are clearly only two cameras shown
(one of which is obviously a Panavision camera), yet this confrontation is shown from both
points of view. One of the 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. Is the
Also during 'Get On The
Carousel' in the scene with the photographer (filmed at ABBA's hotel in Perth,
lining up a large group of people for a photograph, look
very closely for British actor Robin Nedwell (from TV's Doctor in the House),
American rock singer Alice Cooper, Britsh bands Gerry and The Pacemakers and
The Searchers, Irish band The Dubliners, and French violinist Stéphane
Grappelli, all of whom were touring Australia at the time and staying at the
same hotel and/or whose tours were promoted by Paul Dainty.
During 'I'm A Marionette', Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and his
family can be seen meeting ABBA backstage. Also seen during this song are several winners
of a "meet ABBA" competition in Sydney, including Ross Grayson
Bell, future producer of the movie Fight Club.
Before 'Fernando', when Frida is seen exercising with
bodyguard Richard Norton, they are by the rooftop pool at the Sebel
Townhouse Hotel in Sydney, yet this sequence of THE MOVIE is set in
In Melbourne the Moomba Festival started the weekend
that ABBA arrived. The parade shown in THE MOVIE was held the following
weekend. In fact the parade would have been going down the same city
street as the crowd was standing in outside the Town Hall. An announcer is heard saying
that this is ABBA's final appearance in Australia, when in reality they had not even
performed in Melbourne when they visited the Town Hall. As ABBA arrive at the Town Hall,
well-known Melbourne fan Luke Rogers can be seen in the crowd, holding the large
photograph of Frida.
When Ashley returns to his hotel after missing his arranged interview
with ABBA, because they are on their way to the airport to leave Australia, ABBA are in
the lift in Ashleys hotel! What are they doing there? Did they take a wrong turn
going to the airport? And the in-depth dialogue he ends up getting is as long as it take
to travel a few floors in a hotel elevator?
Ashley jumps in a taxi to get back to the radio station after securing his
interview with ABBA. The radio station is presumably in or near Sydney (traditionally
radio stations in New South Wales start with 2, as do the post codes), and hes in
Melbourne. Melbourne and Sydney are over 800 km apart by road, so it would be a long,
expensive taxi ride, but it only takes 20 minutes! There has been a theory that
Ashley actually goes to the Melbourne studio of his station, but this can be discounted,
as at the time there weren't really any national radio networks in Australia (except for
the government-owned ABC), and though there were "affiliated" stations between
different markets, a Melbourne affiliated station's call sign would have started with 3
(as all Victorian radio stations did) - Ashley clearly asks to be taken to "Two
During Thank You For The Music, when ABBA and the band are seen
performing on stage, Agnetha's headband and Frida's golden cap appear and disappear at
will, and the white band around Frances Mathew's neck keeps changing position. More
evidence of different concert's footage being edited together.
Also, in the studio setting, Frida and Agnetha switch
places between close-ups and longshots, and in the foreground Benny can be
seen (out of focus) with headphones resting around his neck, yet cut to
shots of him and Björn at the mixing desk, no headphones can be seen.
Spotted any more points of interest, or other outrageous errors or
alarming discontinuities (or just something thats plain damn funny) in ABBA
- THE MOVIE? Please
let me know so that I can add them
ABBA - THE MOVIE
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© 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000,
2002, 2007, 2017 by Ian Cole,