Stardom, Reception and the ABBA ‘Musical’

Jonathan Rayner

in Film's Musical Moments

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623440
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651115 | DOI:
Stardom, Reception and the ABBA ‘Musical’

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The musical biopic's complex articulation of the relationship between ‘life’ and ‘art’ raises issues also presented by the tradition of the rockumentary. Two notable Australian feature films of the 1990s, Muriel's Wedding (1994) and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), foreground the music of ABBA in self-conscious ways, connecting the films' narratives with the group's popularity. In particular, ABBA's significance to Australian popular culture is encapsulated in the feature film that centres on their tour of Australia in the 1970s: ABBA The Movie (1977). The ironic stance towards ABBA fandom in the 1990s was prefigured in the paradoxical attitude to stardom, and the fans' ownership of band, music and meaning, seen in ABBA The Movie. This chapter argues how ABBA The Movie (1977) helped to circulate star meanings attached to the band as well as being a way for the fans to have a form of access to their heroes. Its focus on the camp and ironic aspects to ABBA's Australian reception leads to a discussion of The Adventures of Priscilla and Muriel's Wedding.

Keywords: ABBA; rockumentary; Muriel's Wedding; feature films; The Adventures of Priscilla; stardom; reception; ABBA The Movie; fans

Chapter.  5626 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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