THE DVD SHELF: Blu-rays of Oscar Winners "Grand Hotel," "Mrs. Miniver," "Driving Miss Daisy," "On the Waterfront"

By Steven Suskin
10 Feb 2013

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Our third film — fourth, chronologically, but the third brought to us on Blu-ray by Warner — is the 1989 winner Driving Miss Daisy. The film version is, understandably, quite different from Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning play; to begin with, the cast of characters is expanded from three to many (which made room for the post-Anything Goes Patti LuPone, as Daisy's annoying daughter-in-law Florine). The theatricality of the original is sacrificed, yes, but Uhry's film adaptation turns the piece into something equally compelling.

Daisy is played by the 80-year-old Jessica Tandy. who had 40-odd years earlier created the role of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. Tandy gives a luminous performance, which was rewarded with her only Oscar (to go along with three Tonys and an Emmy). Top-billed over Ms. Tandy is Morgan Freeman; he had originated the role of Hoke on stage, and his film performance made him a full-fledged movie star. He is, needless to say, wonderful. Dan Aykroyd is surprisingly strong as Daisy's long-suffering son, Boolie. Australian Bruce Beresford ("Tender Mercies") directs, and well, too. Oddly enough, "Driving Miss Daisy" was a rare Best Film winner for which the director was not even nominated. The first since "Grand Hotel," as it happens. And who knows? It could happen again soon. Very soon.

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