Mamma Mia! movie trailer

MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIEThe first trailer for the MAMMA MIA! movie was released this week. Official websites in the US (international) and the UK were also launched this week.

There are two versions of the trailer which can now be viewed online:

There are some different scenes between the two trailers, and at least one scene common to both traliers that is shown from a different angle in the UK version.

The US (international) website features the trailer, story, photos and downloads.

The UK site features the trailer and promises more features, including a competition to win a trip to the world premiere in London in July 2008.

Is it another MAMMA MIA! “coincidence” that the trailers are released in the same week as the 25th anniversary of ABBA’s final appearance as a group?

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One Response to “Mamma Mia! movie trailer”

  1. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi IAN

    More articles on the very, very beautiful Ms Meryl Streep, ABBA, reviews on ‘Mamma Mia!-The Movie’ and so on.

    Kind Regards

    Samuel Inglles

    The West Australian ( Perth ) – Tuesday, 22 July 2008 (Page 2)


    Movies – Edited by Mark Naglazas.

    Streep’s accent on foreign roles fades. Averaging two films a year as she nears 60, dual Oscar winner Meryl Streep has reinvented her career. Lynden Barber reports.

    Something strange has happened to Meryl Streep. It’s happened so quietly that no one seems to have noticed. She’s stopped doing what Clint Eastwood once called, with some alarm, the “big accent thing”.

    Streep used to be the accent queen, the woman who couldn’t resist no chance to wrap her gums around a foreign tongue, whether English (‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’; ‘Plenty’), Kiwi-Australian (‘Evil Angels’), Danish (‘Out Of Africa’), Southern American (‘The Seduction Of Joe Tynan’) or Polish (‘Sophie’s Choice’), which bagged her an Oscar).

    Critics began referring to the “Meryl Streep travelling accent show” but it wasn’t just the media who were over the phenomenon. Casting Streep in 1995’s ‘The Bridges Of Madison County’, her director and co-star, Eastwood, asked her not to put on an Italian accent for her Italian-American character.

    Streep simply ignored him, rehearsing the character with a heavy accent. When she turned up on set and Eastwood again asked her to refrain, she told him she’d already done the work, so had no option other than to go ahead. The result was another Oscar-nominated performance (she’s had 14 and won twice) that also drew its share of barbs.

    Yet in recent years, Streep has avoided, or perhaps hasn’t been offered, the showily accented roles that once used to fly to her like iron filings to a magnet. Maybe, like Eastwood, she is finally sick of them, realising they could be too noticeable, distracting, whereas a wholly successful screen performance is always invisible.

    Something else has happened. Her range – never exactly narrow – seems to be getting even broader. Her unsympathetic or villainous roles used to be rare. As Woody Allen’s ex-wife in 1979’s Manhattan , Streep played the perfect bitch.

    The role would prove atypical, as exemplified by such critically acclaimed hits as ‘Kramer vs Kramer’ (her first Oscar) and ‘Silkwood’. But more recently she’s played often creepily powerful women in films like ‘Rendition’ (as a shadowy CIA chief), ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ (domineering fashion publisher) and ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ (ruthless senator).

    At her media conference in Sydney for ABBA musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ Streep had trouble recalling what her recent unsympathetic roles might have been and bridled at what she called “a confounding” question about them. She even had trouble recalling her ‘…Prada’ character’s name.

    “Well, interestingly a lot of men found my portrayal of Amanda (sic), whatever her name is, Miranda Priestly, if not sympathetic, they told me they really related to her, she was someone they could empathise with.”

    But what Streep seemed to be alluding to in her tongue-tied way was her ability to add the kind of complex shading that makes terms such as “sympathetic” and “unsympathetic” too black and white. Her Miranda Priestly was chilling one minute, emotionally vulnerable the next. In the underrated ‘Rendition’, she could be one minute icily officious, the next arguing the case for underhand anti-terrorist measures with unswerving moral conviction.

    Perhaps the surprise is that Streep, who will be 60 next year, should be working so much at all. She once famously decried the lack of decent roles for women over 40, implying her career was washed-up. If that’s proved so for many older actresses, it hasn’t for her.

    Over the past decade, she’s averaged two films a year, usually thoughtful projects in which she could play substantial characters, such as her publisher in ‘The Hours’ and writer in ‘Adaptation’.

    It’s true that ‘Mamma Mia!’ hasn’t a single thought in its head and Streep’s Donna, a Greek island hotelier, could never be described as substantial, but the role certainly expands her range. As the dancing, jumping, smiling, hugging Donna, she radiates an unselfconscious joy that helps to counterbalance the project’s in-built cheesiness.

    That’s without mentioning her singing. While she showed off her vocal prowess in ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ and ‘Postcards From The Edge’, ‘Mamma Mia!’ communicates it to a mass audience. Her performance of ‘The Winner Takes It All’, one of the few ABBA songs that isn’t bouncy and upbeat, is a revelation. It’s the kind of demanding song that can’t be faked but Streep doesn’t just hit the notes, she lets the song’s aching emotion pour through her.

    Streep modestly downplayed her vocal strengths and said she hadn’t prepared much for the role. The closest she came to a scary moment came when former ABBA composer Benny Andersson met her in New York ’s Lincoln Centre to run through the songs to discover if they needed any key changes.

    According to Streep, “about halfway through, I realised that I was in … an audition. And if it did not go well, I would not be doing this (movie). So then I got reaaallly nervous and I just was terrified and my lips started twitching.” The result? “I went out really elated because I knew it was going to happen.” It did indeed. And without an accent, to boot.

    Photo of Meryl Streep in Australia this year: Surprising – Meryl Streep’s range of characters has widened with the years.

    The Guardian (London/Manchester) – Friday, 20 June 2008 (Page 5)

    Rock & Pop

    Words fail them…

    The art of songwriting is a skill abused more than most. Here, Alexis Petridis offers tips to avoid the kind of lyrical minefields that have lured pop’s biggest names.

    Starting with tomorrow’s paper, the Guardian is giving away a series of eight booklets on the works of some of the greatest pop lyricists of all time – Springsteen, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Chuck D and so on. It would be nice to celebrate this event by ruminating upon what makes a truly great lyric that will ring down the ages and stand the test of time. But it’s a thankless task. There’s something paranormal about truly fantastic lyrics, something that evades capture and analysis. It’s probably for the best: You don’t want to spoil the magic by taking them apart.

    So how can you emulate the eight lyricists selected? The best advice we can give may be to explain what not to do. The art of writing good lyrics may be beyond our understanding, but the art of writing really bad lyrics is a straightforward business. Indeed, how not to write a lyric can be explained by eight simple rules.

    1. Don’t allow your political convictions to get the better of you.
    2. Be really careful when dealing with sex.
    3. Make sense.

    4. Don’t go with the first thing that comes into your head.
    Heed the sorry tale of Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA. He was one half of the premier pop technicians of the 1970s, crafting singles of such dazzling perfection they sound like they had been dreamed rather than written. Alas, doing that left little time for writing lyrics for albums. He later told a journalist that he would sit up all night unsuccessfully trying to write words for certain songs, then desperately take any rubbish into the studio to prove he’d been working hard, hoping his band members would veto his efforts. “But actually,” he lamented, “they didn’t care.” Hence, ‘King Kong Song’ (“About a dreadful mighty killer/A big black wild gorilla”) and ‘Sitting In A Palm Tree’, in which a man deals with romantic rejection by sitting in a palm tree (“I will stay here among my coconuts”). Hence also ‘Dum Dum Diddle’, a song about a woman who feels sexually threatened by her partner’s violin (“And you’re only smiling/When you play your violin”).

    5. Check your facts.
    6. Remember: multimillionaire rock stars do not have the same problems as ordinary people.
    7. Don’t act as if taking too much cocaine is a mythic incident of vast significance.
    8. Don’t be Dolores O’Riordan.

    The Great Lyricists series begins tomorrow with Bob Dylan, introduced by Greil Marcus.

    Sam’s note: Unfortunately ‘The Great Lyricists’ series booklets’ doesn’t include the lyrics/works of Björn Ulvaeus, Stig Anderson and Benny Andersson.

    The Guardian (London/Manchester) – Friday, 11July 2008 (Page 7)

    FILM REVIEWS: ‘Mamma Mia!-The Movie’, 108 mins, cert PG.

    Score: 1 out of 5 stars.

    Super pooper: As the film of the show ties itself in knots trying to fit in every single ABBA hit, Peter Bradshaw rues the most irrelevant plot in cinema.

    I’ve been cheated by films since I don’t know whe-e-n,
    Ta- da-da-da-da; ta-da-da-da-da.
    This one’s got one good point: it must come to an end.
    Ta-da-da-da-da; ta-da-da-da-da.
    Look at me now! Will I ever learn?
    I don’t know who … thought Pierce Brosnan should sing in it.
    How on earth could it not – be – a bad-beat?
    One more smirk, and then I knew it would bomb,
    One more scene and I’d a great need to vom,

    Mamma mia. There they go again. Bringing us a movie based, with chilling calculation, on a hit stage show franchise, this one being laboriously structured around the songs of the once mocked, then ironised, and now adored 1970s pop legends ABBA. The most transcendent type of film, they say, leaves a subliminal image imprinted on your mental retina, an image which you only see fully on leaving the cinema. After Michael Haneke’s Hidden, we asked ourselves: “So what did happen outside the gates?” Ten minutes after this film, I suddenly gasped: “Ohmigod, was Colin Firth’s character supposed to be ‘gay’?” Of this, more in a moment.

    Struldbruggs among you will remember the 1994 film ‘Muriel’s Wedding’, with Toni Collette as the big, goofy woman who is obsessed with ABBA and dreams about a white wedding. (That ecstatic-bride logo for the ‘Mamma Mia!’ stage show, on display outside theatres from Antwerp to Las Vegas , owes a great deal to the ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ poster.) ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ was, however, conceived during the affectionate-irony phase of ABBA’s reputation, when it was entirely appropriate that a nerd should be obsessed by the band, but that the nerd should be gloriously liberated and transformed by the sheer zinging power of ABBA’s tunes.

    ‘Mamma Mia!-The Movie’ is very different. Everything has been squeaky-cleaned up. It too has a feelgood wedding motif – but there is no irony, no heartache, certainly no paralysing illness, no dramatic plausibility, and weirdly, no hint that the characters know whose songs they are singing; there is no sense of perspective on the music. In ‘Mamma Mia!’, ABBA is everywhere and nowhere. This is Planet ABBA or ABBAworld. The characters are forever dancing and smiling and bursting into ABBA songs like Stepford cyborgs when you flip the secret panel behind their heads and press the Life-Affirming Behaviour button. An ABBA instrumental is even used when the bride walks up the aisle, instead of Handel. And nobody ever says: “Oh for goodness’s sake, just for a change, can we sing something by the Carpenters?”

    The story is … urh. No film has ever had a more irrelevant story. Is it, you ask, a musical account of the true story of how ABBA singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born in 1945 as a result of a Nazi plan to boost the Aryan gene pool by mating German soldiers with Norwegian mothers? No. The film and stage show are very loosely based on 1968 Gina Lollobrigida movie called Buona Sera, Mrs Campbell. Meryl Streep plays Donna, a former hippie and free spirit who runs a B&B on a horrendous Shirley-Valentine-style Greek island. Her 20-year-old daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is about to get married. Donna has invited her best buddies Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) to the event.

    But how about Sophie’s long lost father, the guy who had his way with Donna and scarpered all those years ago? Sophie has discovered the existence of three of her multi-shagging mum’s old lovers who may have supplied the DNA at the time. Life-affirmingly, she invites them all to her wedding without telling her mother: Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) and Harry (Colin Firth). All three guys show up with cute old photos of them in hippy-ish or punky garb. Bill even waffles about his love for Donna having taken place in the era of peace and love. Huh? Assuming the film is set roughly in the present day, and Sophie is 20, then their love was in the era of Westland and privatising British Gas.

    Anyway, all three guys are still plausibly dishy. But there is something odd about Harry. Of the three, his paternity claim appears to be the weakest; he talks about having no children, only a pair of dogs, and in the final group-dance-hug scene, appears to cop off with someone of the same sex group. Could it be that Harry’s enthusiasm for womankind is now limited to his mamma-mia? Is this the movie attempting, in its simperingly inclusive way, to acknowledge the band’s gay fanbase? Either way, it’s a coy sort of outing which leaves the character deeper in the closet than ever.

    ‘Mamma Mia!’ ties itself in knots trying to shoehorn in every single famous number, and each time, the beginning of an ABBA song triggered in me a Pavlovian stab of pleasure, cancelled after a millionth of a second by a backwash of rage that this soulless panto has done nothing to earn or even understand the good feeling.

    Some songs are easier to incorporate than others. ‘Waterloo’ is saved for the closing credits, perhaps because screenwriter Catherine Johnson didn’t grasp its metaphorical quality, and that she would not in fact need a vast Napoleonic army to troop across the island. But there is one very famous ABBA number which is entirely omitted. That is a crying shame. I have an idea for the way in which it could yet be included, should an extra scene be needed for the DVD. There’s a six-year-old boy on the island called Fernando, and caring Meryl Streep suspects that poor little Fernando could be hearing-impaired. She sits the little lad down, takes out a set of drums and bangs them close to his ears; with tears pouring down her cheeks, she sings to him a single, heartrending question …

    The West Australian ( Perth ) – Wednesday, 2 July 2008 (Page 11)

    Film Editor: Mark Naglazas

    Mamma Mia! How critics rate the new movie: Ready to boogie? It’s CINE-MAMMA MIA!

    The movie version of the smash-hit musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ – inspired by the ABBA back catalogue – is an absolute winner, according to early reviews, and will indeed take it all at the international box-office.

    “‘Mamma Mia!’ is the most fun to be had at the movies this or any other recent Summer,” raved Ray Barrett, of the reputable trade magazine Hollywood Reporter.

    “Teenage boys may be glued to the latest action adventure, but the rest of the family will be having a rollicking good time and dancing in the aisles to Swedish pop group ABBA’s irresistible songs.

    “It’s a delightful piece of filmmaking with a marvellous cast topped by Meryl Streep in one of her smartest and most entertaining performances ever.”

    That Streep is even appearing in a movie musical is an anomaly as the multiple Oscar winner has built her reputation as the cinema’s greatest actress on serious dramas and romances such as ‘Kramer vs Kramer’, ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ and ‘Out Of Africa’.

    But after seeing the Broadway production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ Streep wrote a gushing letter to the producers, setting up a relationship that resulted her being cast as the former rock chick who, on the eve of her daughter’s wedding, is confronted by three former lovers.

    Judging by these initial reports the casting of Streep is the coup that is likely to send ‘Mamma Mia!’ into the box-office stratosphere.

    “Streep is sensationally good in rendering the whole yarn credible and in making dramatically moving songs such as ‘Slipping Through My Fingers’, sung to her departing daughter, and ‘The Winner Takes It All’ to a lost love,” Barrett said.

    “It’s no stretch to think of her performance in Oscar terms, ranking with previous musical winners such as Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand and Catherine Zeta-Jones. And when Streep teams with Julie Walters and Christine Baranski for dynamic and crowd-pleasing numbers such as ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Super Trouper’ there’s not an audience anywhere that won’t be smiling.”

    The probable success of ‘Mamma Mia!’ combined with the ecstatic reception for ‘Sex and the City’ (amongst viewers more than critics) is dramatically altering Hollywood ’s attitude towards female-oriented films.

    So men should prepare for evenings home with their Dirty Harry boxed sets while their partners kick up their high heels at the multiplexes.

    ‘Mamma Mia!’ opens in Perth on July 10.

    The West Australian ( Perth ) – Thursday, 10 July 2008 (Page 9)

    ABBA-salute hoot for fans of campy fun as Streep and tone-deaf hunks let loose. By Pip Christmass

    The groans and guffaws rising from the audience at the Perth premiere of the big-screen version of smash-hit stage musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ almost drowned out the film’s soaring ABBA-drenched soundtrack.

    How can you take seriously any movie that features tight-lipped hunks Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth breaking out into tone-deaf versions of ‘S.O.S.’ and ‘Dancing Queen’?

    Yet an hour into this soufflé-light ABBA tribute masquerading as a film with an actual storyline, I found myself totally seduced – laughing and singing along with the rest of the audience.

    While the filmmaking is far from first-rate, only a hardened cynic would fail to be swept up by the gorgeous Greek island setting, the exuberance of the performances and, most of all, the genius of ABBA.

    Such is the infectiousness of the ABBA songbook that we even forgive star Meryl Streep’s melodramatic struggle with one of Benny and Björn’s greatest tunes, the heartbreakingly beautiful ‘The Winner Takes It All’.

    Streep is no Barbra Streisand in the vocal department but she injects such warmth and vivaciousness into the role of a former disco diva running a shabby hotel on a picture-perfect Aegean isle that she gives the feel-good fantasia some emotional clout.

    Streep is more than adequately backed by Julie Walters and Broadway regular Christine Baranski as her fun-loving best friends.

    Of course, if you couldn’t care less about ABBA and hate musicals, watching ‘Mamma Mia!’ is going to seem like a month locked in a padded cell.

    But for those willing to give themselves over to ridiculously simple pleasures, ‘Mamma Mia!’ delivers the glittery, campy blast we all expected.

    Mamma Mia! opens today.

    Photo: Greek idyll: Meryl Streep, front, injects warmth into ‘Mamma Mia!’ as a former disco diva running a shabby hotel.

    The Times ( London ) – Saturday, 19 July 2008 (Pages 6 & 7)

    News: 1970s

    Here we go again … my, my how can we resist the lure of the 1970s?

    From Babycham and ABBA to economic crisis and Doctor Who, today’s cultural climate gives Ben Macintyre that eerie feeling of familiarity.

    I lived through the 1970s once already. Do I really have to go through it all again?

    Suddenly, almost overnight, we have slipped back three decades: a plunging economy, a tottering Labour government, flares, Leonard Cohen singing miserably, football teams failing to qualify for international tournaments, ‘Doctor Who’…

    It is like being stuck in some extended version of ‘Life On Mars’. Everyone is humming ABBA again and talking about belt-tightening. What next? Angel Delight and fondue sets and shagpile carpets? ‘Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep, Cheep?’ Mateus bloody Rosé?

    Our collective rush back to the 1970s is partly due to the economy, stupid. (A cliché that would not be born for another two decades.) It is easy to exaggerate the economic parallels but impossible to ignore them. In the 1970s, a global boom was brought to a halt by soaring oil prices, amid rising unemployment and swelling inflation. House prices collapsed. Economic growth all but shuddered to a stop. Strikers demanded higher wages.

    The rubbish is not piling up in the streets as it did in the Winter of Discontent but the whiff of industrial and social unrest is in the air again today.

    The political echoes are deafening. Harold Wilson was the pre-eminent politician of his day, but then stood down to hand over to a former Chancellor, Jim Callaghan, who did not have the same touch. A centre-left coalition began to go pear-shaped. A young Tory opposition flexed its muscles. It is déjà vu all over again.

    We even seem to be locked into a new Cold War, engaged in a war of words with Moscow that has slipped, all too easily, into familiar battle lines and rhetoric.

    But beyond the economic and political memories of 30 years ago, an extraordinary cultural revival seems to be under way. It is not quite nostalgia, for that implies a cosy revelling in shared memory, but something rather grimmer: an acceptance that the austerity, bad temper and poor fashion choices epitomised by the 1970s are somehow natural partners. When the going gets tough, it seems, the Brits buy bell-bottoms and dig out the old David Essex LPs.

    The 1970s are the decade everyone loves to hate, a dismal and beige decade, the Austin Allegro decade, a bad hair day that lasted ten long years. Yet it is all coming back, as if through some cruel time warp.

    Thank you for the music, for giving it to me, again. The film of ‘Mamma Mia!’ has shot to the top of the U.K. box office, taking £5.2 million in its first week and, impossibly, making four ageing Swedish pop stars cool again. Demis Roussos, 62 years young, is touring once more. It is no accident that ‘Life on Mars’, the cop series set in the 1970s, was cult viewing. Here is Bruce Forsyth at 80, posing with Miss Puerto Rico: age will wither her, eventually, but not him. ‘The Generation Game’ is part of the of the regeneration game. Turn on the TV at random and you will, more likely than not, end up with ‘Porridge’ or ‘ Fawlty Towers ’. Here are Basil Brush and Doctor Who as perfectly preserved as, well, Helen Mirren.

    The fashion crimes of the 1970s have, it seems, been forgiven, or forgotten. Unbelievably, the maxi-dress and flared trousers are making a comeback. Last week I spotted someone in Bond Street wearing a tie-dyed poncho, without matching irony. In February there was the re-launch of Halston, the iconic 1970s label, at New York Fashion Week. And no one even sniggered.

    Babycham, the sparkling pear cider, reached its heyday in the 1970s. The Jam sang about it in ‘Saturday’s Kids’ in 1979. In Blackpool , famously, it was mixed with brandy to create a cocktail known as a “legover”. But by the 1980s it had become impossibly, undrinkably naff. Now perry is back in vogue. Ed Balls has admitted being partial to a Babycham. The Duchess of Cornwall is said to drink perry. Pete Doherty named his band Babyshambles.

    Even sport, usually unforgiving to past heroes, seems to be undergoing some strange time-glitch. On the leader board at the Open Championship you find Greg Norman, the great white shark that no one can kill off, who won his first PGA Tour of Australia in 1978. His new wife is Chris Evert, world No.1 female tennis player for most of the late 1970s.

    ‘Superstars’ was the ultimate 1970s television sporting challenge (with the possible exception of ‘It’s A Knockout’). Brian Jacks, the Olympic judo champion, always seemed to win. The sight of the flat-footed racing driver James Hunt panting down the running track was one of those TV spectacles that brought an entire nation together.

    Hunt died in 1993. Jacks, who put his success down to massive consumption of oranges, founded a bouncy castle hire company. But ’Superstars’ has miraculously found a second wind. The programme has returned on Five, for eight one-hour shows, with Kelly Holmes, Steve Redgrave, Roger Black and Mike Catt as team captains.

    In literature, bright young things such as Hanif Kureishi and Louis de Bernieres are now bright middle-aged things, looking back on the 1970s, not in anger or disdain, but with an inquisitive eye.

    Perhaps one reason why we cling so naturally to the 1970s is that this was the decade when pop culture became truly popular. The 1960s were divisive; the 1980s diffuse. But in the 1970s popular culture was shared in an unprecedented way. Everyone watched ‘The Magic Roundabout’ and ‘Mastermind’. ABBA were simply inescapable. Many of us gained our first understanding of industrial relations from ‘John Craven’s Newsround’.

    The 1970s marked the worst decade of Western and American economic performance since the Great Depression. By 1980 the so-called misery index, calculated by combining the unemployment rate and the inflation rate, had reached an all-time high.

    We have not sunk to that level of economic gloom. Oil prices have doubled in the past year and are higher in real terms than 30 years ago. But the world is not in recession, yet. Inflation is unlikely to reach 27 per cent, as it did in 1975. Stagflation has not yet, returned, although the word, and the fear, most certainly have. But if the economic news is mostly bad, the cultural forecast may not be so terrible after all. The 1970s gave us some indescribably bad music. ‘Grandad’, the wincingly saccharine ballad by Clive Dunn, spent three weeks at N.1 in 1971. That alone should be a source of enduring national shame.

    But the decade also produced some great cultural achievements: David Hockney, Sydney Opera House, David Bowie, ‘Taxi Driver’, Roxi Music, Monty Python and much more. In the end, the 1970s created punk, a sound, a look and an idea in which Britain is still world leader. The Chopper was a fine bicycle. I even quite liked Black Forest gâteau.

    The writer Tom Wolfe called the 1970s “The Me Decade”, but it was also, in some way, The We Decade, a time when a new sense of human community took root. Many of the social revolutions begun in the 1960s achieved reality in the 1970s, most notably in the areas of sexual equality, racial equality and gay rights. It was an intensely serious but also a joyful decade, fruitful, and very odd.

    There is some evidence to suggest that we are at our most creative when times are hard. The successive crises of the 1970s, over natural resources, strikes, terrorism, nationalism, came accompanied by a raucous gaiety: this was the era of glitter and glam rock.

    In his novel ‘The Rotters’ Club’, Jonathan Coe looks back on the 1970s and describes “the ungodly strangeness of it, the weird things that were happening all the time.” So as the economy falters, the Government wobbles, the strikers gear up, and Britain joins in a rousing chorus of ABBA’s ‘S.O.S.’ before settling down to ‘Doctor Who’, we can reflect that we have seen, and heard, and worn it all before. Crisis? What crisis?

    But there are limits. If the Bay City Rollers reunite then we are in serious trouble.

    Photos: (1) It was a joyful, fruitful but intensely serious decade, with police regularly called to disputes such as the Grunwick strike in Willesden, northwest London . (2) Even flares are making a comeback. (3) Tom Baker as the Doctor. (4) The wholesome ABBA. (5 & 6) The guilt-free smoking of Tipalet cigars offered a distraction from the misery of the strikes that left rubbish pilling up in the streets. (7 & 8) The trains were late but, hey, what about a cultural legacy that includes the genius of Bowie . (9 & 10) The arrival of Spielberg with his bone-crunching Jaws and the delight of the potato substitute Smash? (11, 12 & 13) Hard times, creative times: the decade gave us the escapism of ‘Grease’ and ‘The New Avengers’ as well as those impossible platforms. (14) Who cared that the green goddesses were on standby?

    The Times ( London ) – Friday, 18 July 2008 (Page 47)

    Mamma Mia! proves the film musical is not dead. By Amanda Andrews

    When Hollywood legend Meryl Streep took “six screaming 11-year- olds” to see ‘Mamma Mia!’ on Broadway to provide them with some relief from the horrors of 9/11, she enjoyed herself so much that she wrote the cast a fan letter. That letter which found its way to the producer Judy Craymer, was the first step in the show’s journey to Hollywood .

    ‘Mamma Mia!’, which has been playing in London since 1999, has become a global phenomenon. Thirty million people have seen the show worldwide and sung along to ABBA’s hits from ‘Dancing Queen’ to ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and it has taken an estimated $2 billion at the theatre box office from Moscow to Osaka to Daegu and Seongnam in Korea .

    “They are mad for musicals in Korea and ‘Mamma Mia!’ has been a huge hit,” says Ms Craymer, who was born and bred in North London and began her career working alongside Sir Cameron Mackintosh at a touring theatre company.

    The show’s worldwide success – which Ms Craymer puts down to the story line about the relationship between a mother and daughter “which appeals to all cultures”, allied to the popularity of ABBA’s music – brought Hollywood knocking on her door at an early stage. However, she had reservations. She was aware of the challenges in bringing a successful stage musical to the big screen.

    “Producing a film is not for the faint hearted,” she says. “But musicals adapted for the cinema can run the risk of being pigeon-holed. I had to work hard convincing a lot of people who thought musicals were not particularly hip, that ‘Mamma Mia!’ was different.

    “They soon realised that it wasn’t a typical musical. Meryl Streep gets 007 (Pierce Brosnan) and Darcy (Colin Firth) and 007 sings ABBA songs. Even 15-year-ols swoon at Darcy and 007,” says Ms Craymer, adding that at a test screening of the film for 13-year-olds in San Diego in March the children were up dancing for the duration.

    She admits that she was concerned about losing control if ‘Mamma Mia!’ found itself in the hands of a Hollywood studio, so a decision to join forces with Universal did not come overnight. “I knew that if we were going to make a film, I wanted Hollywood involved, as we needed the big machine of a major studio to make this a success. The handling of the film internationally was very important, as we needed it to be released in all countries simultaneously. But control was a big issue.”

    And she ensured she got control. “I have been working on the film every day for the past year-and-a-half.”

    The setting for the film, an idyllic Greek Island full of lush bougainvillea and whitewashed villas, was also important – Ms Craymer insisted that this would be a “real film” without the stage-like set of recent cinematic musicals such as ‘ Chicago ’.

    With the added contribution of a raft of high-profile executive producers, including Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, and the former ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the studio expects the film to be an international money-spinner. It has already taken more than £10 million at the British box office since its release on July 11 and is today set for US and international release. A relief for Universal, no doubt, which admits to spending significantly more than the average £40 million marketing budget.

    Despite the large budget, marketing ‘Mamma Mia!’ presented a challenge because ABBA always insisted that its music was not used for advertising. David Kosse, the president of Universal Pictures International, and Ms Craymer made regular visits Stockholm to meet ABBA’s Benny and Bjorn. The result was a television advert in Britain for Maltesers, the first time ABBA music has been used in a promotion, and a campaign for a Swedish biscuit brand.

    ABBA needed assurance that the adverts clearly promoted the film, not just chocolate bars. It is, after all, in their interest to make the film a success, promoting their love ‘em or hate ‘em disco hits to younger generations. The film’s soundtrack is currently one of iTunes’ bestsellers.

    Photo: The film of ‘Mamma Mia!’, whose stars include Meryl Streep, has taken £10 million since its British opening on July 11.

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