COL. FRANK SLADE HAS A VERY SPECIAL PLAN FOR THE WEEKEND. IT INVOLVES TRAVEL, WOMEN, GOOD FOOD, FINE WINE, THE TANGO, CHAUFFEURED LIMOUSINES AND A LOADED FORTY-FIVE. AND HE’S BRINGING CHARLIE ALONG FOR THE RIDE.
Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell), a New England prep school student, is hired by a blind, retired army officer (Al Pacino) as his assistant and they soon find themselves in New York City… but the veteran has a hidden agenda. One of the director’s most successful films, a remake of a 1974 Italian movie, has its two lead characters on separate journeys in life, but they will learn a thing or two from each other. Its formula makes the movie feel lightweight, especially during the climactic finale back at the school, but many dialogue-heavy scenes between the two leads are very engaging and Martin Brest finds the right tone of sadness. O’Donnell and Pacino are terrific, the latter in a performance that has become much imitated.
1992-U.S. 157 min. Color. Produced and directed by Martin Brest. Screenplay: Bo Goldman. Cast: Al Pacino (Frank Slade), Chris O’Donnell (Charlie Simms), James Rebhorn (Mr. Trask), Gabrielle Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Venture… Bradley Whitford, Frances Conroy.
Trivia: Jack Nicholson was allegedly considered for the lead role.
Oscar: Best Actor (Pacino). Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture (Drama), Actor (Pacino), Screenplay.
Last word: “The partnership with Martin Brest started upon his invitation to write what became ‘Scent of A Woman’. He might deny it, and I may be wrong, but I think he had approached others and been turned down. Brest had spent too long a time securing the rights to ‘Profuma di Donna’, was somewhat exhausted by the efforts but we shared the same wonderful agent, Jack Rapke (now a producing partner with Robert Zemeckis). Jack urged me to take the job. It became my life. Marty and I spent days patrolling the lot at Universal working out the story. He sat with me as I wrote it, transcribing and getting into his directing soul my illegible (not to me) handwritten pages on a computer (an unfamiliar object which I immediately detested, and still do). Marty, as the expression goes, ‘got it out of me’.” (Goldman, Double Exposure Journal)