Don't put out, unless it's fame and fortune...
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS
After watching lead singer Billy (Ray Winstone) and his English band ‘The Looters’ play at a venue in her nameless, rundown town, Corinne Burns (Diane Lane), a hopeless, practically irritated teenager, feels inspired and determined to make her band of 3 big.
Managing to nudge their way into front lining The Looters, Corinne, her sister (Marin Kanter) and her friend (Laura Dern) show nothing but failure at their first gig, until Corinne performs a small publicity stunt, sparking interest in rebellious, rabid young girls country-wide. Though, as the bands fame and following gets bigger and inflated, Corinne begins to feel tested and changed.
Ladies and Gentleman, the Fabulous Stains is a tense, depressing, reflection on the music industry, the impression is has on ‘fans’, and the brands it creates.
When looking at the cultural impact this film has had on the punk scene and female musicians as a whole in its 40 years of existence, it’s hard to wrap your head around why this film was supposedly shelved for years and pulled theatrically until only eventually airing on late-night cable.
Diane Lane ‘headlines’ with a highly impressive and emotional performance as a ‘no fucks given’ rebel teenager, and at only the age of 16 mind you. Her breakdown after leaving the news channel at the very end of the film is a standout point to her craft as an actor. Ray Winstone nails it as an ignorant lead singer for a UK band giving it their all to live out their dream in Los Angeles, California but sadly sometimes dreams aren't always realistic.
The film tackles a buffet of various themes and topics. Most notably, the idea of getting more than you bargained for, and how fame always has the chance of inflating until the point where it is no longer stable, eventually bursting. However, the theme that really sticks out to me is the idea of brands in the music scene. And you can't help but compare The Stains to such real-life bands as Kiss, The Rolling Stones etc. The motto's, logo's, costume's and various other imagery and statement's a band may create can sometimes have more of an impact on fame, fortune and following than the actual music itself. This is as blatant as possibly shown in the movie, due to 'The Stains' riding their image and notoriety to stardom, whilst barely knowing how to even play their instruments.
In regards to the actual disc itself, Imprint Films have come out swinging, giving Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains its first ever worldwide Blu-Ray debut. From what I understand, the HD scan via Paramount is not new, thus being present on the previous, much older DVD release. However, don't discredit that as bad news. The HD scan is more than serviceable, and will be the definite release unless this film ever gets the 4K Ultra HD treatment I'd wholeheartedly be down for. As for the sound, I'm not much of a guru when it comes to this stuff but the 5.1 DTS-HD Surround was well mixed and elevated the various catchy music present throughout the film.
Overall, there is really not much else I can say on this film and the Imprint Film's release I had the pleasure of reviewing. It always helps that, Imprint being a local Australian label, means I am so easily accessible to the great releases they continue to put out. I highly recommend this film, it's Blu-ray, AND the special features contained on the disc!
Directed by: Lou Adler
Starring: Diane Lane, Ray Winstone, Peter Donat, Laura Dern
1982 / 87 min / 1.78:1 / 5.1 DTS-HD MA & LPCM 2.0 STEREO
No. of discs: 1
Release Date: 07 Dec 2022
- 1080p High-definition presentation on Blu-ray
- Audio commentary by director Lou Adler
- Audio commentary by actresses Diane Lane and Laura Dern
- NEW Audio commentary by film critic / author Lee Gambin and musician / journalist Allison Wolfe
- NEW I Don’t Put Out: Punk, Anger, X Feminism – video essay by film historian Kat Ellinger
- NEW Lizard Music: The Late Night Culture of the Fabulous Stains – video essay by author Sara Marcus
- Audio Interview with actress Marin Kanter
- NEW Keep On Rocking! – interview with actress Debbie Rochon
- Photo Gallery
- Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
- Audio English DTS-HD 5.1 Surround + LPCM 2.0 Stereo
- Optional English subtitles
- Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork
Imprint not only do great on the video and audio side of things, but the special features are also commendable, especially when looking at all the NEW! supplements that have been curated and added to the package. A total of three audio commentaries are featured in the extras, and while not having the time to properly listen to the Commentary featuring Lou Adler, the other two commentaries were worth the premium blu-ray price alone. Diane Lane and Laura Dern's commentary is a light hearted and easily digestible discussion by the two talented actors, and anything featuring Laura Dern is a must listen / watch. The other commentary I listened to was the Brand New Audio Commentary by film critic / author Lee Gambin and musician / journalist Allison Wolfe. I'm always down to hear Lee Gambin discuss any sort of film he might be even slightly a fan of, and he's obviously a huge fan of the film. Allison Wolfe also attends this commentary and the chemistry and information the two exchange with each other is great. The always hard-working Kat Ellinger brings out a new Video essay 'I Don’t Put Out: Punk, Anger, X Feminism' and as a 16 minute short, it encapsulates arguments and opinions much better than the review I'm currently writing. Sara Marcus' Brand New video essay 'Lizard Music: The Late Night Culture of the Fabulous Stains' is another worthy supplement, as well as the archival Interview with actress Marin Kanter and the Brand New interview with Debbie Rochon. There's also a photo gallery as a little going away present once you've dug into the disc!
ADDITIONAL IMPRINT FILMS INFORMATION
Corinne Burns (Diane Lane) is a typical frustrated teenager living in a nowhere town until she catches punk band the Looters. Bewitched by the whole punk scene, she and her fledgling band, the Stains, join the tour, and in no time at all become media magnets. The band forms a rabid following of young girls, while Corrine begins a relationship with Looters singer Billy (Ray Winstone). As the Stains get bigger and bigger, however, Corinne’s ambition gets the better of her.
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.
You can order the Blu-Ray via the link below;
Reviewed and edited by Joel Brady