Lt. Colonel Frank Slade: Excuse me senorita….. Do you mind if we join you? I feel you are being neglected here
Donna: Well i am expecting somebody
Lt. Colonel Frank Slade: Instantly?
Donna: No. But any minute now
Lt. Colonel Frank Slade: Some people live a lifetime in a minute…………………..
Watching ‘Scent of a Woman’ is still remain fresh after two decades, and I would have seen this film umpteenth time. Yes for the sheer joy of Al Pacino’s power packed performance for his portrayal of the feisty, spirited Colonel Frank Slade, which took him home the Oscar for the best actor in 1993.
It is a remake of Dino Risi’s 1974 Italian film “Profumo di donna”. Scent of a Woman was released in 1992, is directed by Martin Brest, who received an Oscar nomination for the film. Besides this film won three major awards at the Golden Globe Awards for the best adapted screenplay, best actor & best motion picture
This movie is a very fascinating experience and in a way a delicate journey of two different people. Frank Slade (Al Pacino) is a reclusive retired Army colonel who lost his sight in an accident. He is clever, but a bitter man, poky to booze and abrasive criticism of those who come into contact with him. Nearby at a posh New England prep school, scholarship student Charlie Simms (Chris O’ Donnell) takes up a temp job to assist Frank Slade during the Thanksgiving vacation, where he picks up from his School billboard and in the backdrop of his feared expulsion as being part of witness, playing a nasty prank on the headmaster, where the decree is due soon after the vacation
O’Donnell as Charlie offers a performance here that defies the usual coming-of-age film, as a guarded young man. Unlike most of his peers, Charlie comes from a humble family background. To pay for a flight home to Oregon for Christmas, Charlie accepts a temporary job over Thanksgiving weekend looking after retired Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade.
Frank announces a surprise trip to New York City with Charlie, for what he calls “a last tour of the battlefield.” The cynical old warrior intends to commit suicide after a weekend of exquisite, high-class living. Despite his depression, Frank still has a way with women. Charlie learns a quick lesson in sexual politics as he watches this blind man pick up a beautiful woman at a fancy restaurant and teach her the tango in front of a group of astonished observers. Before the weekend is over, Charlie steers Frank clear of fulfilling his death wish.
The two return to New England. At school, Charlie and his classmate George (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are subjected to a formal inquiry in front of the student body and the student/faculty disciplinary committee. As headmaster Trask is opening the proceedings, Slade unexpectedly returns to the school, joining Charlie on the auditorium stage for support. For his defense, George has enlisted the help of his wealthy father, and divulges the names of the perpetrators, qualifying that his vision was not clear. When pressed for more details, George passes the burden to Charlie. Although struggling with his decision, Charlie gives no information, so the Head master Mr. Trask recommends Charlie’s expulsion.
At this, Slade cannot contain himself and launches into a passionate speech defending Charlie and questioning the integrity of a system that rewards informing on classmates. He tells them that Charlie has shown integrity in his actions and insists the committee not expel him because this is what great leaders are made of, and promises he will make them proud in the future. The disciplinary committee decides to place on probation the students named by George, and to give George neither recognition nor commendation for his testimony.
This particular sequence has a wonderful lines of intermittent interchange of words captured so passionately from Slade excoriating his emotions in the School to protect the Charlie and his innocence with Mr. Trask
Lt. Colonel Frank Slade: What is your motto here? Boys, inform on your classmates.. Save your hide. Anything short of that and we are gonna burn you at the stake. Well.. Gentlemen.. When the shit hits the fan, some guys run and some guys stay. Here’s Charlie facing the fire and there’s George hiding in big daddy’s pocket. And what are you doing? You’re gonna reward George and destroy Charlie…..
Lt. Colonel Frank Slade: Out of order, I show you out of order. You don’t know what out of order is, Mr. Trask ! I’d show you, but I’m too old, I’m too tired, I’m too fuckin’ blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I’d take a flamethrower to this place! Out of order? Who the hell do you think you’re talkin’ to? I’ve been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And I have seen. Boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there isn’t nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that. You think you’re merely sending this splendid foot soldier back home to Oregon with his tail between his legs, but I say you are… executin’ his SOUL!! And why? Because he’s not a Bairdman. Bairdmen. You hurt this boy, you’re gonna be Baird bums, the lot of ya.
Lt. Colonel Frank Slade: I dunno if Charlie’s silence here is right or wrong.. I am not a judge or jury. But I can tell you this. he wont sell anybody else to buy his future. And that my friends is called integrity.. thats called courage.. Now thats the stuff leaders shud be made of. Now I’ve come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was.. without exception I always knew.. but i never took it.. because it was too damn hard. Now heres charlie.. he has come to crossroads.. He has chosen a path.. its the right path.. a path made of principle. Let him continue on his journey.. His future is in your hands committee.. Its a valuable future.. believe me.. dont destroy it.. protect it.. embrace it.. Its gonna make you proud one day. I promise you..
Hooooo-ahhh!!! Lt. Slade walks as Charlie escorts him to his limo, a female political science teacher, Christine Downes, who was part of the disciplinary committee, approaches Slade, commending him for his speech. Seeing a spark between them, Charlie tells Ms. Downes that Slade served on President Lyndon Johnson’s staff. A romantic prospect is hinted between Slade and Ms. Downes as they part ways.
Charlie takes Slade home, where they go their separate ways. The colonel walks towards his house and greets his niece’s young children happily as Charlie watches by the limo………..
In many ways, Al Pacino’s character is undoubtedly tied up as a delineated loner, a very unconventional and derisible blind man, with his attached significance to the love of a woman that even in his bravado it is hard not to feel sadness at his submissions. Al Pacino delivers his life time knockout performance winning Oscar, which is the first of his career after four previous nominations.
‘Scent of a Woman’ possesses a level of charm, romantic, exquisite, sweet, sensitive and moment of sadness to the soulful and imperative dimensions of life and in all, anyone who have watched for sure would have fell in love with the lovely Gabrielle Anwar when she danced with Pacino. Hoo-ah!
- Produced & Directed by Martin Brest
- Screenplay by Bo Goldman
- Based on Italian story ‘Il buio e il miele’ by Giovanni Arpino
- Cast: Al Pacino; Chris O’Donnell; James Rebhorn; Gabrielle Anwar & Philip Seymour Hoffman
- Music by Thomas Newman
- Cinematography Donald E. Thorin
- Editing by Harvey Rosenstock; William Steinkamp & Michael Tronick
- Studio: City Light Films
- Distributed by Universal Pictures
- Release dates: December 23,1992
- Run time of 156 minutes
- Country:United States
- Language: English