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, still remain fresh after more than two decades now, would have seen this film umpteenth time. Yes, for the sheer joy of Al Pacino and his power packed performance, in the portrayal of the feisty, spirited Colonel Frank Slade, that 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
The 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 has lost his sight in an military accident. Frank Slade’s a clever, bitter man, who has high highs and low lows of life. Yet to be a poky over booze, and abrasively critical of those who come into contact with him. The other character is Charlie Simms, a nearby student from the posh New England prep school, who is a scholarship student. He takes up a takes up a temp job to assist Frank Slade during the Thanks-giving vacation. Charlie in his break, also undergoing a bad week in the school, where he’s in the backdrop of his feared expulsion as being part of the witness in one of the school’s nasty incidences, which’s a serious prank on the headmaster, where the decree is due soon after the vacation
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 returns 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 Headmaster Mr. Trask recommends Charlie’s expulsion.
On his side-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 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 won’t sell anybody else to buy his future. And that my friends is called integrity. that’s called courage. Now that’s the stuff leaders should 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 here’s Charlie… he has come to crossroads… He has chosen a path… it’s the right path.. a path made of principle. Let him continue on his journey… His future is in your hands committee… It’s 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………..
Al Pacino’s is intense as ever and his adoption of a hammy screamer, roaring in self-parody. Most of his recital, of his mockingly chortle “Hoo-ah!”, catchphrase from Scent of a Woman, seem a crave to his delicately overwhelming work as the quietly corrupted Michael Corleone in The Godfather, and mourn the loss of the great Italian-American hope of naturalistic screen acting.
Bo Goldman’s intrepid and exciting screenplay gives Scent of A Woman, its emotional clout as a unforgettable drama about youthful initiation into adulthood. Scent of a Woman is pretty endearing and it enjoys a level of charm; beautiful, sweet, sad, and romantic yet heartening.