Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon (2010)

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Released 12-Jan-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Interviews-Cast-Germaine Greer, Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper (6.37)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 75:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Paul Clarke
Robert de Young
Paul Clarke
Paul di Giacomo

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Paul Clarke
Paul di Giacomo
Michael Lira

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† Sometimes, timing is everything. There is bad timing, such as when I sat down to watch and review this DVD only to find it was being broadcast on SBS the same evening! Then there is good timing. The sort of good timing that saw music-loving Australian journalist Lillian Roxon turn up in New York at the moment that modern music was changing gears. The little known story of Roxon paints a picture of a larger than life character who burned brightly for several years before burning out in almost rock star fashion. Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon chronicles the life of this important journalist from her escape from Fascist Italy to Australia, then through her rebellious teens in Brisbane and, most memorably, her time in the US. Aside from anything this documentary is a rarity in giving us a look at the press side of the music industry - when was the last rock journo who got their own film?

†††† Roxon was in the US as a foreign correspondent, interestingly under the supervision of Derryn Hinch, but her focus stretched not only to US politics and events but also to the growing importance of pop and rock music to the identity of the nation and the groundswell of youth culture. Identified as one of the first journalists to take rock music seriously, and the author of the first Encyclopaedia of Rock, she apparently got Linda Eastman, the future Mrs Paul McCartney, into a Beatles press conference to meet her future husband. For each silver lining there is a cloud though and Roxon never forgave Linda for ignoring her after she became a "pop stars wife".

†††† Though 1960s New York was a good vantage point to see the British invasion and the growing youth culture, she is forever associated with the crowd at Max's Kansas City, a New York nightclub that just happened to be the crucible of counter-culture in the 60s and early 70s. With A&R legend and dear friend Danny Fields she became the Queen of Max's, championing the new sounds that came out of the club. At first it was the home of Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, the band that inspired generations of indie rockers. Under Andyís spell the weird and the wonderful came out to play and mingle. But as the 60s came to a close the early punk of Iggy Pop and the Stooges and the glam of Alice Cooper and David Bowie took over and Max's became forever associated with those acts. Lillianís untimely death from an asthma attack didn't kill Max's (disco probably did that) but a unique champion of the underground was lost.

†††† Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon comprises interviews with some of the important figures in Lillianís life including fellow Sydney Push Movement friend Margaret Fink, Oz legend Richard Neville, dear friend/enemy Germaine Greer (The Female Eunuch was dedicated to her much to Lillianís annoyance), author David Malouf, rock photographer Lee Black Childers, former boss Derryn Hinch and some of the legends of Max's including Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper. Danny Fields also makes several appearances and although documentaries of this type, where the protagonist hasn't been interviewed or filmed extensively, can seem a little empty of character we do get some connection with Lillian through recorded telephone calls between her and Fields. The documentary is narrated by Judy Davis and Lillianís "voice", reading letters and the like, is by Sascha Horler.

†††† This is an essential documentary for those interested in the 60s New York music scene or the music industry. Even if you caught it on TV it is worth a buy.

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Transfer Quality


†††† Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon is presented on DVD at a native widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It is 16 x 9 enhanced. In fact, the film is comprised of a variety of sources and aspect ratios and the original 1.33:1 ratio is preserved for the early footage.

†††† The recent interview footage is suitably crisp and clear and free of noticeable defects. The flesh tones are accurate. Then there is the historical footage which varies according to the era and the quality of the source. There are a lot of moments from Max's Kansas City and other archival footage which looks just as ancient and weathered as it should.

†††† There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon is presented in an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack running at 224Kb/s. Despite the absence of sub-titles the dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The 2.0 soundtrack perfectly conveys this aspect of the film. The dialogue is in audio sync.

†††† Although the lack of a surround track doesn't hurt the lo-fi aesthetic of the music on offer, a higher bitrate would have been nicer. There is plenty of music from the Max's bands.

†††† There are no technical problems with the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Bonus Interviews - Germaine Greer, Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper

†††† The only extras for the film are three extended interviews with Germaine Greer, Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper. Worth a watch, the latter talk glowingly about the Max's Kansas City life-style.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† This is an All Region DVD.


†††† Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon is a reminder that journalists have as much a role in the promotion of music as the publicists - often more as they tell us who we should be listening to for quality reasons and not which pop star we should send up the charts. The DVD looks and sounds fine and the short extras are worth a watch.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Interesting documentary. - TurkeyTom