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The ABBA Story - The Winner Takes It All DVD

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The Winner Takes It All--The ABBA Story reflects the peaks and troughs of the Swedish supergroup's popularity over the decades, as well as the quartet's turbulent years together. Initially labelled as just another trashy Eurovision act following their win with "Waterloo" in 1974, the group confounded their critics by emerging as a credible musical team with superior songwriting abilities. Following a few years of mass adoration the punters got tired, and for most of the 1980s the group, along with their fans, were forced into years of hibernation and denial. Luckily a new dawn rose in the early 1990s with the emergence of ABBA tribute bands such as Bjorn Again, the appropriation of the group's music in the movies Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Muriel's Wedding, and the global success of the ABBA Gold greatest hits collection. This documentary successfully manages to piece together both the public and private side of the group, through the use of interview excerpts and video footage. The DVD also contains exclusive interviews with all four members of the band for the first time since their split. Reflecting on the intricate nature of their music, as well as the elevation of their compositions to the heady heights of pop classics, the documentary concludes with behind-the-scenes footage of preparations for the ABBA-inspired West End stage show Mamma Mia!. This is a must for all ABBA fans, as well as those wishing to discover the heritage of one of the world's greatest pop groups. On The DVD: although boasting 30 minutes of extra footage, interviews and music, this release is basically an extended version of the television documentary (of the same name) broadcast in 1999. The DVD version of the programme has been segmented into 20 chapters, labelled with names of classic ABBA tunes, which reflect the themes of particular parts of the narrative. Unfortunately all of the additional DVD footage has been subsumed into the documentary and cannot be accessed individually. There are no other extra DVD features (not even subtitles), and the main menu only allows access to the individual chapters. --John Galilee

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