Archive of films Scent of a Woman / Scent of a Woman

1992, 157 min

Section: People Next Door
Year: 2017

Al Pacino took on the renowned role played by Vittorio Gassman in this American remake of Italy’s Profumo di donna, and he won an Academy Award for his efforts. The original comedy shifts closer to a psychological drama, and while the love of a devoted beauty won't save blind Lt. Col. Slade from bitter loneliness, as it did Italian Capt. Faust, concern for someone who is wrestling with an oppressive moral decision does the trick.


The American picture Scent of a Woman is not a remake in the true sense of the word. To a large extent it is an original work, borrowing from the eponymous caustic Italian comedy of 1974 only the plot outline, in which a blind captain seeks to fully enjoy one last week of life before committing suicide. Martin Brest submits an effective and well-paced drama, in which he pits the protagonist against a strong opponent, fleshing out both characters in detail. His Lt. Col. Slade is a lonely and traumatized man, and in contrast to the bit part given to the young naïf in Dino Risi’s comedy, his companion here is a student of pure character trying to solve a fundamental moral dilemma. What else can Slade do but help him navigate this test? And, with the young man’s help, he thereby attains inner regeneration. Thanks to Al Pacino’s acting chops (he earned a Best Actor Oscar for the role), not even Slade’s pathos-ridden plaint to a university disciplinary committee loses one iota of its impact.

Zdena Škapová

About the director

Martin Brest

Martin Brest (b. 1951, New York City) is an American director, screenwriter, and producer. He studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with the short comedy Hot Dogs for Gauguin (1972), featuring future star Danny DeVito in the lead. Working with big-name stars is as characteristic for Brest as the comedies that dominate his filmography, but his successes have been uneven: while the comedies Going in Style (1979), Midnight Run (1988, with Robert De Niro), and Beverly Hills Cop (1984, with Eddie Murphy) were praised by audiences and critics alike, his romantic comedy Gigli (2003, with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) was universally panned. Thus far the high watermark of his output is the original remake of the famed Italian comedy Scent of a Woman, winner of three Golden Globes.

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: People Next Door
Director: Martin Brest
Screenplay: Bo Goldman
Dir. of Photography: Donald E. Thorin
Music: Thomas Newman
Editor: Harvey Rosenstock, William Steinkamp, Michael Tronick
Art Director: Angelo Graham
Producer: Martin Brest
Production: Universal Pictures
Cast: Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar, Philip S. Hoffman

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