Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains

Overview

Lou Adler's low-key comedy-drama about the rise and fall of an all-girl punk band has developed a passionate cult following even though it barely received a theatrical release in 1982, was never released on home video and is best known to fans from periodic screenings on the USA network's weekend music show Night Flight (which has been off the air since 1988). Despite all this, the film has circulated for years on bootleg videotapes taken from occasional cable screenings, and now Rhino Home Video has given the ...
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Overview

Lou Adler's low-key comedy-drama about the rise and fall of an all-girl punk band has developed a passionate cult following even though it barely received a theatrical release in 1982, was never released on home video and is best known to fans from periodic screenings on the USA network's weekend music show Night Flight (which has been off the air since 1988). Despite all this, the film has circulated for years on bootleg videotapes taken from occasional cable screenings, and now Rhino Home Video has given the movie a belated release on DVD. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 1.78:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. Bruce Surtees' cinematography often focuses on the grimy side of the film's location shooting in Vancouver, British Columbia and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and the digital transfer honors the film's cool color palate, though the detail is significantly better than when the film appeared on television, and fans will welcome the chance to finally see the film in its proper aspect ratio after years of pan-and-scan TV presentations. The audio appears in two mixes, the original two-channel version in Dolby Digital Stereo and a new surround mix in Dolby Digital 5.1; the new mix is livelier than the original but the difference isn't especially remarkable. The dialogue is in English, with no multiple language options or subtitles included (and optional titles might have been helpful for some viewers given the thickness of Ray Winstone's British accent). Bonus materials include a large gallery of production photos and two commentary tracks. Director Lou Adler's chat is unfortunately lethargic, punctuated by long silences and offering little of interest, but the second commentary from Diane Lane and Laura Dern is charming and fun; the actors sound like old friends looking through a high school yearbook, alternately amused and mortified by their teenage adventures and remembering plenty of stories about their fellow cast members and the production history. It took more than a quarter century for Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains to arrive on home video, and this edition isn't quite perfect -- the documentary on the film that Sarah Jacobson and Same Green made for IFC's Split Screen series would have been an ideal supplement for this disc but it's sadly missing. However, at very least the movie looks and sounds great on disc, and would-be rebel girls wanting to see this picture can finally get it at any decent video store, which is a more than welcome turn of events.
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Special Features

Newly restored from original vault masters; 5.1 Surround Sound; Audio commentary by stars Diane Lane and Laura Dern; Audio commentary by director Lou Adler; Photo gallery
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
It's not hard at all to see how Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains became a cult favorite despite being thrown away by Paramount Pictures, who clearly had no idea what to make of the movie when they gave it a token release in 1982. The look and the sound of the teenage punk trio the Stains (played by Diane Lane, Laura Dern and Marin Kanter) is eerily prescient of the Riot Grrrl bands that would emerge a decade later (and to a lesser extent the inspired amateurism of the K Records roster), and while Lane's performance is a bit uneven, she captures the bluster and defiance of an adolescent too young and naïve to be intimidated with admirable brio. Christine Lahti is brilliant in her small but showy supporting role as Corrine's aunt, Fee Waybill of The Tubes is so hilariously accurate as a washed-up heavy metal lunkhead that it's a wonder he didn't get more film work after this, and someone should have had the good sense to have the Looters, the British punk outfit assembled for the film, cut an album after making this -- actor Ray Winstone (who did this shortly after Quadrophenia) is a good and charismatic singer, while Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Paul Simonon are a great rock and roll band in their all-too-brief moments on screen. But for every moment where Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains gets the feel of life on the road just right, there's another where the movie just doesn't ring true, and it simply defies logic that the Stains could suddenly start filling big halls simply on the basis on a few local television spots and without making a record (the MTV-influenced coda at least suggests a more likely scenario for their overnight stardom). And director Lou Adler has a truly lamentable sense of pacing here; the movie's tempo is uncomfortably slow, as the narrative lurches forward in sluggish fits and starts. There are far too many good things in Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains to ignore it, but it's simple to see why screenwriter Nancy Dowd took her name off the project (she's credited as Rob Morton); it's like an album with three or four terrific songs scattered among seven or eight tracks of tossed-off filler.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/16/2008
  • UPC: 603497981779
  • Original Release: 1982
  • Rating:

  • Source: Rhino Theatrical
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:27:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Diane Lane Corinne "Third Degree" Burns
Peter Donat Harley Dennis
David Clennon Dave Robell-The Agent
John Lehne Stu McGrath
Cynthia Sikes Alicia Meeker
Laura Dern Jessica McNeil
Marin Kanter Tracy Burns
Paul Cook Danny
Steve Jones Steve
Barry Ford Lawnboy
Paul Simonon Johnny
Christine Lahti Aunt Linda
Janet Wright Aunt Linda's Friend Brenda
Vince Welnick Jerry Jervey
Fee Waybill Lou Corpse
Ray Winstone Billy
Debbie Rochon Skunkette unc\
Brent Spiner Corinne's Boss
Technical Credits
Lou Adler Director, Producer
Tom Benko Editor
Leon Ericksen Production Designer
Don Johnson Sound/Sound Designer
Lou Lombardo Executive Producer, Producer
Rob Morton Screenwriter
Graeme Murray Production Designer
Joe Roth Producer
Bruce Surtees Cinematographer
Peter Young Set Decoration/Design
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains
1. Opening Credits/I'm Third Degree Burns [4:30]
2. Job Hunt [5:23]
3. "Do You Wanna be a Profesional" [5:46]
4. Backstage [3:47]
5. On the Tour Bus [9:11]
6. "The Fantastic Stains" [8:10]
7. Jerry Jervey's Girlfriend [13:26]
8. Room Service [7:22]
9. "She's Imitating Me" [11:27]
10. The Big Ripoff [6:56]
11. A Blown Concept [8:53]
12. End Credits [2:32]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains
   Play Movie
   Scene Selection
   Setup
      Audio Setup
         5.1 Surround
         2.0 Stereo
   Extra Features
      Commentary With Director Lou Adler
      Commentary With Actors Diane Lane and Laura Dern
      Photo Gallery
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