Ladies and Gentleman, The Fabulous Stains - 35mm

MA 15+
20 November
Location informationArc Cinema
Event cost$12 / $10 (single session) or $70 / $56 (all 7 films)

‘You are so jealous of me,’ Diane Lane’s character Corinne tells a disgruntled Billy (Ray Winstone). ‘I’m everything you ever wanted to be.’ He hurls back an insult – ‘a c**t?’ and she responds, all of 17 years old, ‘exactly’. There are films that have a ‘f**k you’ attitude and then there are films like Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1982).  

Featuring some of the very first roles for then teenagers and future Oscar nominee Lane and Oscar winner Laura Dern, it follows 3 girls from a low socio-economic background who hit the road with a punk band and washed-up rock stars. Their drive is less about ‘making it’ per se and more about paying their rent, paying their bills and keeping food in their mouths all while pushing their outwardly feminist agenda. ‘We don’t put out!’, screams a made-up and mulleted Corinne to an unruly audience, their aggression and attitude inspiring a wave of other teen girls in what becomes an unlikely phenomenon.     

Lost to a wider audience for decades, it’s easy to understand why a cult fandom percolated for Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains with the themes and message as punk rock today as they were at the dawn of the 80s. Post The Runaways, the film is as much a satire about female exploitation in a male-dominated industry as it is a rollicking musical featuring sex, drugs and very, very good rock’n’roll.  

With a screenplay by Nancy Dowd enhanced by the lived experience of music producer and director Lou Adler, its formidable reputation made it a critical text for the feminist riot grrl movement which was birthed not long after. 

- Maria Lewis, Assistant Film Curator (ACMI) 

Presented in partnership with ACMI

See more films in our Wild at Heart - the films of Laura Dern season.



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