20+ Secret Facts About “Scent of a Woman,” Which Was Actually a Remake

3 years ago

28 years ago, in 1992, the film Scent of a Woman, by Martin Brest, was released. The movie tells the story of Charlie Simms, who finds a job as an assistant to moody colonel Frank Slade, that lost his vision. Over time, this movie has become truly iconic and the scene where Al Pacino is dancing tango is one of the most moving scenes in cinema history.

We at Bright Side watched this movie again and decided to find out all the secret details about it.

  • This movie is the remake of the 1974 Italian drama Profumo di Donna. The film was even nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Writing (Screenplay Adapted From Other Material) categories. Maybe this is why Scent of a Woman has obvious references to Italy — Al Pacino as the lead actor and the name of the girl he dances the tango with, Donna, which means woman in Italian.
  • Both movies are based on a novel by journalist Giovanni Arpino, called Il Buio e il Miele, but really only the premise was taken from it — a moody blind man who is accompanied by a young boy.
  • Originally, Jack Nicholson was supposed to play Frank Slade, but he turned the offer down after he read the script. Dustin Hoffman and Joe Pesci were also considered for the role.
  • Interestingly, Al Pacino turned the role down at first, but then he changed his mind because his agent talked him into it.
  • It wasn’t easy to find an actor for the role of Charlie, either. Matt Damon, Brendan Fraser, and Ben Affleck auditioned for the part, but Chris O’Donnell ended up getting it. By the way, later they all appeared together in School Ties.
  • Also, there’s information that Leonardo DiCaprio could have gotten the part, but the producers probably decided that he was too young. He was only 18 years old at the time.
  • Scent of a Woman was the turning point in Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career. He took part in the audition 5 times before he got the part. Before this film, he’d only had very small roles in movies and worked stocking shelves at a supermarket. After the film, he was noticed and invited to be a part of bigger projects.
  • Al Pacino took his role very seriously. In order to portray a blind man in a plausible manner, he got help from a school for the blind.
  • While the actor was working on the film, he was “blind” even outside the set: he wouldn’t look at other people, he didn’t focus his vision on anything, and he even walked with a cane.
  • Originally, Al Pacino was supposed to wear special eye lenses to help him play the part, but later they decided not to use them because they found out that they could injure his eyes.
  • “HOO-AH” came from Al Pacino’s gun expert. Every time the actor did something right, the expert would say, “Hoo-ah!”
  • During the shooting process, Chris O’Donnell attended Boston College.
  • Gabrielle Anwar rehearsed the tango scene for 3 weeks alone. Al Pacino didn’t rehearse at all. Later, she admitted that during the dance, Al Pacino constantly stepped on her feet and almost broke her toes. But Gabrielle was okay with that. In an interview, she said, “It’s Al Pacino, for God’s sake, I couldn’t exactly complain.”

  • Some scenes were shot in Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, which belonged to Donald Trump at the time. Several years later, Chris O’Donnell said in an interview that, originally, there was supposed to be a small scene with the billionaire and his wife at the time. But the scene got cut.
  • Some of the shooting took place at Emma Willard School — the first women’s higher education institution in the United States. In the film, it was actually a boarding school for boys. Later on, The Emperor’s Club would also be filmed there.
  • The film got a very high score from critics and viewers. The rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 88%. The production of the movie cost $31 million and it earned $134 million.
  • Al Pacino won his first and only Oscar as Best Actor. Before that, he was nominated 6 times, but never won.
  • By the way, that same year, Pacino was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Glengarry Glen Ross. He was the first actor to get 2 nominations in the same year and win one of them.
  • Later, in an interview, Al Pacino said that right after he got the Oscar, he felt the worst shame in his life. He was in an overcrowded elevator and didn’t notice that his statue was touching the butt of a very famous actress who was standing right in front of him. Pacino realized what happened, leaned over, and said into her ear, “Pardon me, that wasn’t me, that was my Oscar!”
  • Chris O’Donnell was nominated for a Golden Globe for his part.
  • The screenplay writer for Scent of a Woman, Bo Goldman, said, “If there is a moral to the film, it’s that if we leave ourselves open and available to the surprising contradictions in life, we will find the strength to go on.”

Best quotes

  • “If you’re tangled up, just tango on.”
  • “I’d hate to disagree with you, Colonel.”
  • “You’re not bad. You’re just in pain.”
  • “What are you, dying of some wasting disease?
    No, I’m right — I’m right here.
    I know exactly where your body is. What I’m looking for is some indication of a brain.”

  • “You got integrity, Charlie. I don’t know whether to shoot you or adopt you.
    Not much of a choice, is it, sir?
    Oh, don’t get cute now.”

Do you like this film? What do you think about Al Pacino’s acting? Was it worthy of an Oscar?


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