A Few Words About A few words about...™ Driving Miss Daisy -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The final of the latest Best Picture trilogy from Warner Bros, Driving Miss Daisy (1989) has been the newest missing Best Picture Blu-ray. That honor now falls to Paramount's Terms of Endearment (1983). I love everything about this film, beginning with the extraordinary performances, onward to Bruce Beresford's direction, the score by Hans Zimmer, and Peter James' glorious cinematography, which I'm certain will cause someone, somewhere, hopefully on another site, to question whether Warner's new Blu-ray is out of focus, or the possibility that it might look just as good on standard def. It won't. The beautiful, softly luscious cinematography is reproduced here magnificently, as only it can be on Blu-ray. The textures and color in this film are a delight. Warm and luminous, without losing the reality of color and blue skies. Have I mentioned that I love this film? A number of years ago, I was working on a project, and after seeing them around, realized that Ms. Tandy and Mr. Cronyn were also in residence. We'd not been introduced, and I presumed that they'd never to come over to chat with me because I looked either far too busy, or unapproachable. It was my norm to have dinner at the bar, and one evening, noting a waft of pipe smoke, I turned to find Mr. Cronyn heading my way. Not my way precisely, but toward an open seat at the end of the bar. After he kindly asked if his pipe smoking might offend me -- I believe I told him that if he was doing the pipe smoking it would not -- he joined me. He ordered a bit of food, and our conversation took off. It covered his work with Alfred Hitchcock (four films - two as an actor, and two as writer), inclusive of his casting in Shadow of a Doubt. A kind, unaffected gentleman, with quite a history in film. The discussion could not have missed hitting on my admiration for Driving Miss Daisy, and my respect for his wife, who about half an hour in, came by to tell him she was heading up. He kindly introduced us, and since our discussion had covered the basics of film restoration, and Lawrence, Ms. Tandy informed me that her first husband (I hadn't known that she was English) was Jack Hawkins. Wearing what at that time seemed to be a trademark gingham scarf on her head (I believe she was going through chemo treatments at the time), she excused herself and headed off to their room. I recall turning to Mr. Cronyn, and with a huge smile, telling him how thrilled I was to have finally met the "real" Blanche. I don't believe they make people like them anymore. That mold has been broken. As to the new Blu-ray from Warner Bros., to my eyes and ears, it appears perfect in every way. One of the most beautiful and special films ever created, finally available as a Perfect Blu-ray. Image - 5 Audio - 5 Extremely Highly Recommended. Especially for under $20. RAH
     
  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I saw Julie Harris do Miss Daisy in the national tour, and she was wonderful, but I still think Jessica takes the prize. I really loved the film.
     
  3. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    Looking forward to my Amazon shipment next Tuesday of all three Warner Best Picture Oscar winners, partly thanks to your highly-favorable reviews of them, Robert...thanks for the RAH Seal Of Approval!!!
     
  4. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    I am thrilled about the release of missing 'Best Pictures'. The early part of 2013 brings us Grand Hotel, Mrs. Miniver, Driving Miss Daisy, On The Waterfront, and Gentlemen's Agreement. However, I would like to correct your statement about the 'newest' missing title - that dubious distinction falls to Schlindler's List (1993). David
     
  5. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    The Jack Hawkins part of the story, alone, is worth the price of admission.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quite correct!
     
  7. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Wonderful few words as usual, Mr. Harris... Love the anecdote! Reminds me I need to drop by this section more often... Looking forward to revisiting this sumptuously described film on BD... perhaps even w/ my kids, who are growing to appreciate such fine beauty... Hmmm... Wonder if this might actually also make a fine film to screen and share w/ a group of seniors... Shalom in this New Year... _Man_
     
  8. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I understand why that slipped past RAH - Schindler's List was supposed to be part of Universal's 100th Anniversary Collectors Series last year but somehow got indefinitely delayed.
     
  9. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I could be wrong but I thought that, despite being one of the titles that was restored for Universal's 100th anniversary, Schindler's List was always set for 2013 which is its 20th anniversary.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Would naturally need to be fully and brilliantly restored.
    Hate it when a lab is printing the original negative, it ends on on someone's shoes, and gets dragged into the bathroom.
    Same situation as Disney's Little Mermaid. Destroyed, presumably by Technicolor!
    Needed a full restoration.
    RAH
     
  11. Mark Mayes

    Mark Mayes Stunt Coordinator

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    "I recall turning to Mr. Cronyn, and with a huge smile, telling him how thrilled I was to have finally met the "real" Blanche." As a Vivien Leigh fan, I am going to pretend I don't know WHAT you could mean :)... But, if you are interested in Miss Tandy's approach to Blanche, I have posted this Youtube excerpt that might interest you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmpjP-ZKDvg&list=UU9aDrQoLXbQdGlPDovfDHoQ&index=2
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Whenever I watch that superb film, I always feel I'm watching Miss Scarlet, having gotten on in years.
    And I am not happy with it.
    The situation was much like that of a certain musical, in which a role might have gone to the individual
    who perfected the role on Broadway. While I have no real problems with that film, Streetcar might have
    been quite different.
    RAH
     
  13. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Silly Academy, giving Vivien Leigh an Oscar for her performance in Streetcar, when she obviously ruined the role! :D
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    They bought that fake southern accent.
     
  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Well, to be fair, though Tandy was the original Blanche in New York, Leigh was the original London Blanche, so it's not like she wasn't familiar with the role.
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    They were going for "star power," which Leigh still possessed.
     
  17. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Second Unit

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    Personally, I've never understood why Oscar-winning Best Pictures have NEVER been top priority on studio's 'to do' lists. Even if one disagrees with the choices made by AMPAS - and believe me, I could also decry a few of them over the years (Hamlet instead of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre!!!!) one has to admit that the very endowment of an Oscar should at least warrant a reissue of these titles on home video's latest format with all due diligence and good speed. For the record, the following are BEST PICTURE Academy Award Winners still MIA in hi-def. The list is distinguished. Note, I haven't listed titles that are pending release in the very near future. The Broadway Melody (1928/29) Cimarron (1930/31) Cavalcade (32/33) It Happened One Night (34) The Great Ziegfeld (36) The Life of Emile Zola (37) You Can't Take It With You (38) Going My Way (44) The Lost Weekend (45) The Best Years of Our Lives (46) Hamlet (48) All The King's Men (49) The Greatest Show On Earth (52) From Here To Eternity (53) Marty (55) Around The World In Eighty Days (56) Tom Jones (63) A Man For All Seasons (66) In the Heat of the Night (67) Oliver! (68) Ordinary People (80) Terms of Endearment (83) Schindler's List (93)
     
  18. moviepas

    moviepas Second Unit

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    This reminds me that a scene was missing from the DVD version that was in the VHS issue. There are s many such issues, hard to keep up with.
    Otherwise the list is a good one. The Great Ziegfeld has been mooted as a Blu Ray. The earlier releases for home video have shown a very scratched original. A good clean up would be nice. Just finished reading a rather long book on Flo which as informative.
     
  19. Mark Mayes

    Mark Mayes Stunt Coordinator

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    Kazan was very unsure of Tandy's perormance-as was Hume Cronyn, who kept asking Kazan not to give up on her-and in his autobio "Elia Kazan: A Life" (1988, Alfred Knopf) Kazan said , "There was one door in Jessie's performance I could never unlock, but I wasn't sure I wanted to... Was Hume right that something in the balance of the performance had gone wrong?" In the end, when the film came up he says that he did not fight very hard for her. And even Irene Selznick put in her two cents for Vivien after seeing her work in the London stage production. The problem seems to be in the way that Tandy played Blanche only as an uptight schoolteacher, instead of a romantic, sexual woman who had really never wanted to be a schoolteacher. This never let her balance the role and Brando stole the show. The radio clips I posted will bear out just how much the language is more innate with Leigh than it seems to be with Tandy. Tandy also used a fake accent, I must point out. Brando in his bio said that Vivien Leigh was "perfect" as Blanche, because he felt she was Blanche. And Williams himself told LIFE magazine of Leigh, she had brought everything he had intended to the part and much he had never dreamed of. "The situation was much like that of a certain musical, in which a role might have gone to the individual who perfected the role on Broadway. While I have no real problems with that film, Streetcar might have been quite different." Ahh, but you see, I think most would agree that Deborah Kerr was the perfect inexchangeable choice for Anna Leonowens, despite Gertrude Lawrence having originated the role. (Just kidding, I know you mean MFL)
     
  20. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Of course, I know you were kidding in alluding to The King and I but Gertrude Lawrence could never have been a consideration: she died in 1952. But maybe Robert Harris was referring to Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun or Panama Hattie or Gypsy.
     

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