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Scent of a Woman

A promotional film poster for Scent of a Woman.
Directed by Martin Brest
Produced by Martin Brest
Written by Giovanni Arpino (novel)
Bo Goldman (screenplay)
Starring Al Pacino
Chris O'Donnell
James Rebhorn
Gabrielle Anwar
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Music by Thomas Newman
Editing by Harvey Rosenstock
William Steinkamp
Michael Tronick
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) 23 December 1992 (USA)
Running time 157 min.
Language English

Scent of a Woman is a 1992 film which tells the story of a preparatory school student who takes a job as an assistant to an irascible, blind, medically retired Army officer. It stars Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Gabrielle Anwar. It is a remake of a movie made by Dino Risi in 1974, Profumo di donna, in which Vittorio Gassman played one of his best known roles.

The movie was adapted by Bo Goldman from the novel Il buio e il miele (Italian: Darkness and Honey) by Giovanni Arpino and from the 1974 screenplay for the movie Profumo di donna by Ruggero Maccari and Dino Risi. It was directed by Martin Brest.

It won the Academy Award for Best Actor (Al Pacino) and was nominated for Best Director (lost to Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven), Best Picture (lost to Unforgiven) and Best Adapted Screenplay (lost to Howards End).

The film was also the big winner at the Golden Globe Awards winning three for: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Motion Picture - Drama.

Portions of the movie were filmed on location at the Emma Willard School, an all-girls school in Troy, New York and at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City.

Contents

Plot summary

Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell) is a student at a private preparatory school, though is one of few students there from a modest background, attending on scholarship. To pay for his flight home to Gresham, Oregon for Christmas, Charlie takes a job over Thanksgiving looking after a cantankerous, irascible retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel named Frank Slade (Al Pacino), who is now blind and prone to alcoholism.

It is revealed early on that Charlie, along with a friend George Willis, Jr. (Philip Seymour Hoffman) were witness to a notorious act of vandalism at the school, and are being pressured by the school's headmaster Trask (James Rebhorn) to divulge the names of the perpetrators, which they both know. When Charlie refuses to talk, Trask offers a bribe: a letter of recommendation that would virtually guarantee his acceptance to Harvard. Charlie says nothing.

Slade unexpectedly whisks Charlie off to New York City. Slade has a room reserved at the Waldorf-Astoria. During dinner at the Oak Room (at the Plaza Hotel), he reveals the purpose for the trip: to eat at an expensive restaurant, stay at a luxury hotel, visit his big brother, make love to a beautiful woman, and then "blow his brains out." Charlie is taken aback, not knowing how seriously to take Slade's suicidal intentions.

They travel to the Colonel's older brother's home in White Plains for Thanksgiving dinner without informing the brother they were coming, a clearly unpleasant surprise for the family. Slade deliberately provokes everyone, and by the end of dinner he's succeeded in alienating himself from his family, while Charlie learns from Slade's rude nephew, Randy, how Slade lost his sight - by foolishly juggling hand grenades while drunk.

In a car ride, Charlie tells Slade about his complications at school. Slade advises Charlie to inform on his classmates and go to Harvard, warning him that Willis will probably be pressured into not maintaining silence.

Later, Charlie and Slade find themselves at a restaurant, observing Donna, a beautiful young woman (Gabrielle Anwar), waiting for her date. The blind Colonel takes Donna for a tango on the restaurant's dance floor. That night, Slade hires an escort.

The next morning Slade is deeply despondent and Charlie manages to raise him from bed by suggesting they test drive a Ferrari. A hair-raising scene follows where Charlie lets Slade drive the car, which he does at high speed with reckless abandonment, until finally being stopped by a policeman for speeding (Slade skillfully hides the fact he is blind and the officer issues no citation). When they get back, Slade is again out of sorts. Slade tricks Charlie into leaving the hotel room to buy him a box of cigars and some asprin, but a suspicious Charlie returns to find Slade preparing to shoot himself. Charlie intervenes, grabbing the gun just before Slade can pull the trigger, and after a physical struggle followed by a heartfelt argument, Slade does not shoot himself or Charlie. In the aftermath, Slade begins to confide in Charlie, particularly about his unrealized dream of one day finding a woman who would love him.

The two take a limousine ride home and Charlie is dropped at school. He and Willis 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 has decided to come back, guided by the limo driver, to join Charlie on the auditorium stage.

For his defense, Willis has enlisted the help of his wealthy father. Willis attempts to parry the question, saying his vision was impaired, but when pressed, he names the students responsible, while claiming to not be certain. When pressed for more details, he then passes the burden on to Charlie, whom the headmaster notes does not wear glasses, to provide additional evidence.

Charlie, after visibly struggling with his final decision, refuses to give the students' names, and headmaster Trask, deeply displeased at not getting the answers he wants, recommends Charlie's expulsion from the school, branding him as a cover-up artist and a liar. Trask's actions unexpectedly provoke the silent Slade into a passionate defense of Charlie, and a scathing criticism of the nature of the proceedings. Slade finishes with a speech on the nature of integrity, defending Charlie's choice to be silent in the face of obvious rewards to do otherwise, saying, "I don't know if Charlie's silence here today is right or wrong; I'm not a judge or jury. But I can tell you this: he won't sell anybody out to buy his future!"

The disciplinary committee comes to the decision that the students Willis named for committing the prank be placed on academic probation for suspicion of ungentlemanly conduct, further recommending that Willis receive neither recognition nor commendation for his testimony, and that Charlie be excused from any further response to the matter. The student body breaks into loud, enthusiastic cheering as Slade and Charlie leave the auditorium.

As Charlie is escorting Slade back to his limo, a female political science teacher, part of the discipline committee, approaches Slade, thanking him for his moving appearance on Charlie's behalf. Seeing that the two are clearly fascinated with each other, Charlie informs the teacher that Slade was on President Lyndon Johnson's staff. A romantic prospect is hinted at as they part ways, which lightens Slade, and he and Charlie part ways with Slade inviting Charlie to visit him before flying home for Christmas. The film ends with Slade being playful with his niece's children (whom he had previously been quite annoyed by at the film's beginning), and the limo driver taking Charlie back to school as the credits start to roll.

Cast

Actor Role
Al Pacino Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade
Chris O'Donnell Charlie Simms
James Rebhorn Mr. Trask
Philip Seymour Hoffman George Willis, Jr.
Gabrielle Anwar Donna
Richard Venture W.R. Slade
Bradley Whitford Randy Slade
Rochelle Oliver Gretchen Slade
Gene Canfield Manny
Tom Riis Farrell Garry Slade
Nicholas Sadler Harry Havemeyer
Todd Louiso Trent Potter
Frances Conroy Grace Canfield
Ron Eldard Officer Gore

Production

Reception

Scent of a Woman was released to a positive critical reception, with a 94% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[1] The film earned $63,095,253 in the US; internationally it earned approximately $71,000,000.

See also

References

External links

Preceded by
Bugsy
Golden Globe for Best Picture - Drama
1993
Succeeded by
Schindler's List

Scent of a Woman
Directed by Martin Brest
Produced by Martin Brest
Written by Giovanni Arpino (novel)
Bo Goldman (screenplay)
Starring Al Pacino
Chris O'Donnell
James Rebhorn
Gabrielle Anwar
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Music by Thomas Newman
Editing by Harvey Rosenstock
William Steinkamp
Michael Tronick
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) December 23, 1992
Running time 157 min.
Country United States
Language English

Scent of a Woman is a 1992 film which tells the story of a preparatory school student who takes a job as an assistant to an irascible, blind, medically retired Army officer. It stars Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Gabrielle Anwar. It is a remake of the Italian movie Profumo di donna (1974), directed by Dino Risi.

The movie was adapted by Bo Goldman from the novel Il buio e il miele (Italian: Darkness and Honey) by Giovanni Arpino and from the 1974 screenplay by Ruggero Maccari and Dino Risi. It was directed by Martin Brest.

Al Pacino won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance; the film was nominated for Best Director (lost to Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven), Best Picture (lost to Unforgiven) and Best Adapted Screenplay (lost to Howards End).

The film won three major awards at the Golden Globe Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Motion Picture - Drama.

Portions of the movie were filmed on location at the Emma Willard School, an all-girls school in Troy, New York, and at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City.

Contents

Plot summary

Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell), a student at an exclusive New England prep school, is one of the few students there from a modest background and attends on scholarship. To pay for his flight home to Gresham, Oregon for Christmas, Charlie takes a job over Thanksgiving looking after a retired Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel named Frank Slade (Al Pacino), who is disagreeable, blind, and an alcoholic.

Charlie and his friend George Willis, Jr. (Philip Seymour Hoffman) were witness to an act of vandalism at the school. They are pressed by the school's headmaster Trask (James Rebhorn) to divulge the names of the perpetrators, whom they both know. When Charlie refuses to talk, Trask offers a bribe: a letter of recommendation that would virtually guarantee his acceptance to Harvard. Charlie continues to remain silent but begins to question his decision.

Shortly after Charlie arrives, Slade unexpectedly has Charlie accompany him on a trip from New England to New York City. Slade reserves a room at the Waldorf-Astoria. During dinner at the Oak Room (at the Plaza Hotel), he reveals the goals of the trip: to eat at an expensive restaurant, stay at a luxury hotel, visit his big brother, make love to a beautiful woman, and then "blow his brains out". Charlie is taken aback, not knowing how seriously to take Slade.

They travel to Slade's brother's home in White Plains for Thanksgiving dinner without advising the brother of the visit. Slade and Charlie appear to be an unpleasant surprise for the family. Slade deliberately provokes everyone, and by the end of dinner, he succeeds in alienating the members of his family. Charlie learns from Slade's nephew, Randy, that Slade lost his sight by juggling hand grenades while drunk and one went off.

As they return to New York, Charlie tells Slade about his complications at school. Slade advises Charlie to inform on his classmates and go to Harvard, warning him that Willis will probably be pressured into not maintaining silence. Later at a restaurant, Charlie and Slade observe Donna (Gabrielle Anwar), a beautiful young woman waiting for her date. Although blind, Slade leads Donna in a spectacular tango on the dance floor. That night, he hires a call girl.

Deeply despondent the next morning, Slade responds to Charlie's suggestion that they test drive a Ferrari. Charlie lets Slade drive the car, which he does at high speed, until they are stopped by a policeman (then-unknown Ron Eldard.) Slade hides the fact that he is blind and the officer issues no citation. When they return to the hotel, Slade tricks Charlie into leaving the room to buy him cigars and aspirin. Charlie returns to find Slade preparing to shoot himself. Charlie intervenes, grabbing the gun just before Slade can pull the trigger. After a physical struggle and argument, Slade lets go. He confides in Charlie, particularly about his dream of finding a woman who would love him.

The two return by limousine to New England, where Slade drops Charlie at school. He and Willis 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 returns to the school and joins Charlie on the auditorium stage.

For his defense, Willis has enlisted the help of his wealthy father. Willis attempts to parry the question, saying his vision was impaired, but when pressed, he names the students responsible, while claiming to be uncertain. When pressed for more details, he passes the burden to Charlie.

Although struggling with his decision, Charlie refuses to give the students' names. Trask recommends Charlie's expulsion. Slade passionately defends Charlie, and criticizes the proceedings, as well as the boys' vandalism. Finishing with a speech on integrity, Slade says, "I don't know if Charlie's silence here today is right or wrong; I'm not a judge or jury. But I can tell you this: he won't sell anybody out to buy his future."

The disciplinary committee decides to place on probation the students named by Willis, and to give Willis neither recognition nor commendation for his testimony. They excuse Charlie from any punishment, to loud applause from the student body.

As Charlie escorts Slade to his limo, a female political science teacher, part of the committee, approaches Slade, thanking him for his defense of Charlie. Seeing a spark between them, Charlie tells the teacher that Slade served on President Lyndon Johnson's staff. A romantic prospect is hinted at as they part ways.

Charlie takes Slade home, where they part ways. The colonel walks towards his house and greets his niece's young children happily; the three enter the house to make hot chocolate.

Cast

Actor Role
Al Pacino Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade
Chris O'Donnell Charlie Simms
James Rebhorn Mr. Trask
Gabrielle Anwar Donna
Philip Seymour Hoffman George Willis, Jr.
Richard Venture W.R. Slade
Bradley Whitford Randy Slade
Rochelle Oliver Gretchen Slade
Gene Canfield Manny
Tom Riis Farrell Garry Slade
Nicholas Sadler Harry Havemeyer
Todd Louiso Trent Potter
Frances Conroy Christine Downes
Ron Eldard Officer Gore

Production

Scent of a Woman was filmed in the following locations:[1]

Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York, USA (studio)

Reception

Box office

Scent of a Woman was released to a positive critical reception, with a 94% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[2] The film earned $63,095,253 in the US and $71,000,000 internationally, totaling $134,095,253 worldwide.

See also

Film portal

References

External links

Preceded by
Bugsy
Golden Globe for Best Picture - Drama
1993
Succeeded by
Schindler's List

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Scent of a Woman is a 1992 film which tells the story of a preparatory school student who takes a job as an assistant to an irascible blind, medically retired Army officer.The story takes us on journey where the colonel plans to spend the last of his life doing things which he always wanted to do . Once he is over with his list of things. he loses hope ,the hope is revived by the young intern , who pursues him to go on with life. in the end the colonel helps the intern in getting over his dilemma, should he save his career or his classmates ??

Contents

Frank Slade

  • When in doubt, fuck!
  • If you make a mistake and get all tangled up, you just tango on.
  • The IQ of sloths and the manners of Banshees! He's a car-mechanic, she's a home-maker! He knows as much about cars as a beauty queen and she bakes cookies that taste like wing-nuts. As for the tots, they're twits.
  • There are two kinds of people, those who face the fire and those who run for cover. Cover's better!
  • I like it when you hurt me!
  • "What are the chances of me suiting you up sometime?
  • What life?!? I got no life! I'm in the dark here! You understand? I'm in the dark!
  • I'm too old, I'm too tired, I'm too fucking blind.
  • Outta' order? Outta' order?! I show you outta' order!
  • Makers of men, creators of leaders, be careful what kind of leaders you're producing here.
  • Women! What could you say? Who made 'em? God must have been a fuckin' genius. The hair... they say the hair is everything, you know. Have you ever buried your nose in a mountain of curls... just wanted to go to sleep forever? Or lips... and when they touched, yours were like... that first swallow of wine... after you just crossed the desert. Tits. Hoo-ah! Big ones, little ones, nipples staring right out at ya, like secret searchlights. Mmm. Legs. I don't care if they're Greek columns... or secondhand Steinways. What's between 'em... passport to heaven. I need a drink. Yes, Mr Sims, there's only two syllables in this whole wide world worth hearing: pussy. Hah! Are you listenin' to me, son? I'm givin' ya pearls here.
  • If I were the man I was five years ago, I'd take a flamethrower to this place!
  • But there is nothin' like the sight of an amputated spirit.
  • You think you're just sendin' this fine, upstanding young man back to Oregon with his tail between his legs. But I say, you are executin' his soul! And why? Because he's not "a Baird man". You hurt this boy, you'll be Baird bums, the lot o' you.
  • How's that for cornball?
  • The day we stop looking, is the day we die.
  • Are you married?
  • PUERTO RICANS!!! They always made the best infantry men!
  • It's fuck your buddy, Cheat on your wife, Call your mother on mother's day, It's all shit, Charlie.

Charlie

  • You're not bad. ...you're just in pain.
  • I'll give you two. You can dance the tango and drive a Ferrari better than anyone I've ever seen.

Dialogue

Trask: Mr. Sims, you are a cover-up artist and you are a liar.
Frank Slade: But not a snitch!
Trask: Excuse me?
Frank Slade: No, I don't think I will.
Trask: Mr. Slade!
Frank Slade:This is such a crock of shit!
Trask: Please watch your language, Mr. Slade. You are in the Baird School not the barracks. Now Mr. Sims I will give you one final opportunity to speak up.
Frank Slade: Mr. Sims doesn't want it. He doesn't need to be labeled, "...still worthy of being a 'Baird Man.'" What the hell is that? What is your motto here? Boys, inform on your classmates, save your hide. Anything short of that we're 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.
Trask: Are you finished, Mr. Slade?
Frank Slade: No. I'm just gettin' warmed up. I don't know who went to this place--William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan, William Tell--whoever. Their spirit is dead; if they ever had one, it's gone. You're building a rat ship here. A vessel for sea-going snitches. And if you think your preparing these "minnows" for manhood, you better think again. Because I say you are killing the very spirit this institution proclaims it instills! What a sham! What kind of show are you guys puttin' on here today? I mean, the only class in this act is sittin' next to me. And I'm here to tell you, this boy's soul is intact. It is non-negotiable. You know how I know? Because someone here--I'm not gonna say who--offered to buy it. Only Charlie here wasn't selling.
Mr.Trask: Sir, you are out of order!
Frank Slade: Out of order, I'll 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, and I'm too fuckin' blind. If I were the man I was five years ago I'd take a flame-thrower to this place. Out of order? Who the hell do you think you're talking 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 is 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 executing his soul!" And why? Because he's not a Baird man. Baird men, you hurt this boy, you're going to be Baird Bums, the lot of ya. And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are out there, fuck you too!
Mr. Trask: Stand down Mr. Slade!
Frank Slade: I'm not finished! As I came in here, I heard those words...cradle of leadership. Well, when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And it has fallen here, it has fallen! Makers of men, creators of leaders, be careful what kind of leaders you're producing here. I don't know if Charlie's silence here today is right or wrong; I'm no judge or jury. But I can tell you this; he won't sell anybody out 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. (pause) Now I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard. Now here's Charlie; he's come to the crossroads. He has chosen a path. It's the right path. It's a path made of principle, that leads to character. Let him continue on his journey. You hold this boy's future in your hands, committee! It's a valuable future. Believe me! Don't destroy it...protect it...embrace it. It's gonna make you proud one day...I promise you.

(Sits down, round of applause from audience) How's that for cornball?


Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Clear them little bottles off. And when I get off the phone here, call up Hyman and tell him I want it wall to wall with John Daniels.
Charlie Simms: Don't you mean Jack Daniels?
Lt. Col. Frank Slade: He may be Jack to you son, but when you've known him as long as I have... that's a joke.

External links

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