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Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS never received a formal theatrical release and was only seen on late-night cable, poor-quality bootlegs, or on rare occasions at film festivals. Yet somehow this 1981 film about a trio of misfit teenage girls who start a punk band went on to inspire a generation of female rockers.


Recently orphaned Corrine Third Degree Burns (a 14-year-old Diane Lane) enlists her cousin (Laura Dern) and sister (Marin Kanter) to launch a punk rock band, The Stains. Three rehearsals later, The Stains score the opening slot on a cross-country tour with aging metal act The Metal Corpses (led by Fee Waybill of The Tubes) and British punk rockers The Looters (real-life punk pioneers Paul Simonon from The Clash and Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols). The Stains meteoric rise (and equally lightening-quick fall) owes more to TV exposure than to talent.

Some movies just stumble towards cult, mythic status; Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains is one of those magnificent accidents. Besides in-fighting, the few previews shown to the public were unanimously panned, Paramount was at a loss as to how to market it, and the movie had never been available on DVD (or VHS, for that matter). This has just compounded its status as a "lost" film, with the few people who have seen it being evangelical in their gossip about this pseudo punk 'n' roll documentary. Now that it’s here, was it worth the wait? Does it hold up over time? You bet it does. Orphaned girls (Diane Lane, Marin Kanter) along with their cousin (Laura Dern) channel their frustration into a band, The Stains. After a few gigs, the media picks up what they consider a novelty. This leads to a tour with The Looters--idealistic punks from London--and the Metal Corpses (headed by Fee Waybil of the Tubes in a perfectly oblivious performance). Head Looter takes head Stain under his wing, only to become disillusioned as he watches the American media, and by extension American teens, chose popularity over talent (as he sees it). Despite their differing views about how the movie should be handled, both the message of girl empowerment (screenwriter Nancy Dowd) and the idea that all great ideas become co-opted and watered-down (director Lou Adler) resonate throughout the film. The performances, while not uniformly great, work so well within the context of the documentary style that they have their own charm. And Diane Lane, as Stain leader Corinne "Third Degree" Burns, is simply outstanding, simmering with angst that bursts out at all the right points. A young Ray Winstone turns in a fine performance as the lead singer of the Looters, showing both contempt and sensitivity towards the fledgling Stains. Adding to its cult credentials, the rest of the Looters are played by Steve Jones and Paul Cook (Sex Pistols) and Paul Simenon (The Clash). With audio commentaries by not only director Adler, but stars Lane and Dern, this movie is not only great for any fans of Times Square and Rock 'n' Roll High School, but it’s a great addition to any library of music films in general. --Robert Arambel

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Diane Lane, Ray Winstone, Laura Dern, Peter Donat, Barry Ford
  • Directors: Lou Adler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Rhino Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001B94JWE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,019 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Ciccocenta on July 31, 2004
This movie is awsome. I first saw this film in 1983 when i was 15 on a TV show called "Night Flight" (anybody remember it?), fell head over heels in love w/ teenage Diane Lane & have never forgotten the impact this film made on me & watching it recently brought back many memories. I have been looking for this film for 20yrs & i finally found a copy! It basically tells a very cynical & realistic tale totally bashing the music industry. Young female nobody has ambition to be somebody, forms a band called The Stains with her cousins (one, a very young Laura Dern), goes on the unglamorous rough & lonely road with 2 other very chauvenistic rival male bands--a has-been-on-its-last-legs headliner & an up & coming punk band. Fee Waybill of the Tubes is great as the has-been & Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols has another great role as the lead singer of the punk band. BTW, the songs in this movie are very good & very catchy---you will find yourself singing "We're the Professionals!" for days! As the girls rise to the top theyre punk hair, clothes & attitude become a symbol of young female power & all the rage with young girls everywhere. theyre slogan "We Dont Put Out" becames the anthem of girl power that sweeps the nation. Theyre rise to the top is squashed by the backstabbing music industry & the conservative male dominated American media. The fluffy MTV styled video at the end is the icing on the cake! This movie is awsome because it takes on so many issues without ever losing the central story of this film or becoming cheesy or preachy. They really dont make movies like this anymore & I can say that this film is an unequivical classic with Diane Lane putting on the performance of her life. wow! what an actress.Read more ›
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steve on June 21, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Next to "The Great Rock n Roll Swindle", and perhaps equally as "D.O.A.-A Right of Passage", this film is a top must have for any punk aficionado. The fictional band in the film, The Looters, features 2 sex PistOls (Paul Cook and Steve Jones) and Clash bassist Paul Simonon performing incredible rock, with 2 songs unavailable on any recording. It's worth it for that alone.
The film also stands on it's own. A very young Diane Lane (pre- "Outsiders") turns in a solid performance, and The Tubes Fee Waybil is funny as a Paul Stanley type rocker. Also of note is Brit actor Ray Winstone, who plays the Looters' frontman. As far as underground rebel rock movies go, it doesn't get much better.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bran Thorngrave on June 21, 2008
Format: DVD
FINALLY! This beloved blast from the past is at long last getting the release it deserves! And it's about bloody time.

I'm sure plenty of other folks my age (yeah, we're getting old!) remember watching this on Night Flight way back in the day. I watched it whenever they ran it and loved it each time ~ Three young girls dream of escaping their depressing small town lives and making it big as a rockin' grrrl band, though they can barely play their instruments or sing, god bless 'em. An opportunity presents itself when a small-time tour bus, with 2 or 3 similarly aspiring bands (one, a sad old group actually trying for a comeback), passes through town. The girls join up and so begins their journey to the top of the charts. But along the way are some hard lessons to learn thanks to: rival bands, song-stealing, leacherous stage managers, washed-up old rockers and fickle fans. Oh, the fickle, fickle fans.

Starring a very young Diane Lane and Laura Dern (who btw is totally awesome), with a good performance from Ray Winstone (who was just as cute then as he is now), this film does have some production flaws especially when compared to today's big-budget high tech "blockbusters". The script can be a bit iffy at times, some of the acting is a tad spotty and the photography (at least on the poor quality copies I'm used to) can be downright murky. But hey, it was the beginning of the 80's and I imagine it was no small feat to make even a low-budget independent film. And I think this one STILL rocks.

I'll finally be able to retire my poor old, sad old VHS bootleg. WHOO HOO!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Ratcheson VINE VOICE on July 27, 2008
Format: DVD
I also first saw this on the old Night Flight TV show & was fortunate to record the broadcast. One of my fav trashy films, & it's coming to dvd at last!

Also stars the Tubes Fee Waybill & the late Tubes keyboard player Vince Welnick; + a very young Laura Dern.

Besides being just plain fun & required for Tubes fans (Fee steals the movie), this is also an early indictment of corporate broadcast media.

The picture quality is excellent. Here's a few tidbits:

1. It's in widescreen (16X9), all the boots I've seen are fullscreen

2. The shower scene does not appear to be cut; it's actually not all that explicit, though Running time is the same as the boots.

3. Only extras are 2 commentaries: 1 from Lane & Dern, & 1 from Adler. The Dern/Lane commentary is really entertaining, though they got a couple facts wrong (Called Vince Welnick the Tubes bass player for one), & the Adler was so boring I gave up after 20 minutes. The short U-Tube featurettes are NOT on here.

4. No sign of the LP or cd so far. The film credits mentions a soundtrack on Ode Records (Adler's label). I don't remember seeing a soundtrack when it came out.

Fans of R&R cult films should buy this, it doesn't get much better. Liquid Sky is the only similar 80's film that even comes close.
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Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stins
OMG, is this real?
Sep 2, 2008 by Tyler Jones |  See all 4 posts
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