Film Review

Al Pacino in “Scent of A Woman”

From director Martin Brest‘s 1992 hit, “Scent of a Woman,” staring Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell. The screenplay is full of witty double-entendres strung out by Lt. Frank Slade, a cantankerous blind alcoholic many years retired from the Army Rangers, and vaguely received by Charlie Simms, a poor prep school student trying to earn some cash for a trip home for Christmas.

“The Tango”

Lt. Col. Frank Slade: “No mistakes in the tango, darling, not like life. It’s simple. That’s what makes the tango so great. If you make a mistake, get all tangled up, just tango on.”

“I call them Principles” (MUST WATCH!)

[Charlie refused to come clean with the names of the students responsible for the prank; Mr. Trask is furious]

Mr. Trask: [furious] I am left with no real witness. Mr. Willis’s testimony is not only vague, it is unsubstantiated. The substance I was looking for, Mr. Simms, was to come from you.

Charlie Simms: [remorseful] I’m sorry.

Mr. Trask: I’m sorry too, Mr. Simms, because you know what I am going to do. In as much as I can’t punish Mr. Havemeyer, Mr. Potter, or Mr. Jameson, and I won’t punish Mr. Willis. He’s the only party to this incident who is still worthy of calling himself a Baird man. I’m going to recommend to the disciplinary committee that you be expelled. Mr. Simms, you are a cover-up artist and you are a liar.

Lt. Col. Frank Slade: But not a snitch.

Mr. Trask: Excuse me?

Lt. Col. Frank Slade: No, I don’t think I will.

Mr. Trask: Mr. Slade…

Lt. Col. Frank Slade: This is such a crock of SHIT.

Mr. Trask: Please watch your language, Mr. Slade. You are in the Baird School, not a barracks. Mr Simms, I will give you one last opportunity to speak up.

Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Mr. Simms doesn’t want it. He desn’t need to 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.

Mr. Trask: Are you finished, Mr. Slade?

Lt. Col. 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 seagoing snitches, and if you think you’re 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 a show you guys are putting on here today? I mean, the only class in this act is sitting next to me, and I’m here to tell ya this boy’s soul is intact. It’s non-negotiable. You know how I know? Someone here, and I’m not gonna say who, offered to buy it. Only Charlie here wasn’t selling.

Mr. Trask: Sir, you’re out of order.

[Trask hits the gavel; Col. Slade stands up angry]

Lt. Col. 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, I’m too fucking blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I’d take a…

Lt. Col. Frank Slade: [slams his cane on the desk, screaming] FLAMETHROWER to this place! Out of order? Who the hell do ya think you’re talking to? I’ve been around, ya 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 nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There’s no prostetic for that. You think you’re merely sending this splendid foot solder back home to Oregon with 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 gonna be Baird bums, the lot of ya. And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are, fuck you too!

[the student body and the committee are in shock as Trask’s anger is further aggravated]

Mr. Trask: [yells; hits the gavel three times] Stand down, Mr. Slade!

Lt. Col. 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 not a 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. 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.

(“I’m in the Dark”)
Lt. Col. Frank Slade: [Frank plans to kill himself and Charlie as well but hesitates] You don’t wanna die.
Charlie Simms: Neither do you.
Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Give me one good reason not to.
Charlie Simms: I’ll give you two. You can dance the tango and drive a Ferrari better than anyone I’ve ever seen.
Lt. Col. Frank Slade: You never seen anyone do either. (IMDB, “Scent of a Woman”)

Luke McKinley delivers in-depth, local knowledge regarding NW Washington neighborhoods. Luke is proficient in relative-valuation and formerly worked as a strategist for an advertising firm in Santa Monica. If you wish to learn more about your home's worth, please call or email to schedule a free real estate consultation today. You may also visit Luke Buchanan's blog or Facebook, to find additional information that may further guide your real estate decisions. Hobbies include: golf, grilling, image editing, photography, running, skiing, tennis, travel and yoga

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