Corinne Burns is the mouthy 17 year old lead singer of Punk Rock girl band The Stains in “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains”. Huh? Who? if you’re still wondering how that film has somehow passed you by…read on…
This very American take on Punk was written by Hollywood screenwriter Nancy Dowd, and directed by Lou Adler. “Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains” charts the meteoric rise and fall of a fictional teenage girl band “The Stains”. Made by Paramount in 1980, and intended as a major release, the film starred the young Diane Lane, as Corinne, along with Laura Dern and Marin Kanter, and right from the start looked like a serious contender in the movie hungry youth market. Additional street cred was gained with cameos by Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, Paul Simonon of The Clash, and journalist and one time Clash manager Caroline Coon, who was on hand with styling advice. The film also counted Ray Winstone, as Billy the leather-clad vocalist for rival band The Looters, and Fee Waybill of The Tubes, as members of the cast.
Filmed in Vancouver in 1980 and featuring hundreds of extras, the classic teenage crash and burn story-line of the film, started to play out in real life when, the footage spent over a year in the cutting room. It finally opened in 1982 and having entirely underwhelmed its first audience – the finished film was immediately shelved by Paramount. There was no big opening, no red carpet, and definitely no nominations. During the lengthy post-production period, the writer even took her name off the credits and replaced it with the much less Nancy Dowd-ish sounding, Rob Morton.
Relegated to the back of a cupboard at Paramount Studios it eventually flickered back to life in the mid 80s via the late-night cable show Night-Flight, where it finally found a small but nonetheless appreciative, some might say bordering on the obsessive, audience.
In 1998 “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains” had its first official cinema screening in 15 years at The Chicago Underground Film Festival to a packed house. Since being unleashed by Night-Flight the film has become something of a cult classic and has been name-checked by numerous people including Courtney Love, Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill “It’s the most profound film I’ve ever seen”, and Kate Nash.
One of the most enduring fans of the film is the writer, pod-caster and counter-culture vulture Jake Fogelnest. In an interview with The Dissolve in 2013, he recounts his ongoing relationship with the film calling it “one of the best Punk Rock movies ever made”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains” is now available on several major streaming sites, or for a more of a “behind the scenes” look try this Sam Green and Sarah Jacobson documentary via youtube.