In Buenos Aires, all the tango lovers are familiar with Carlos Gardel, and his classic tango music “Por una Cabeza” [In Spanish it literally means by a head (of a horse), which talks about a compulsive horse-track gambler who compares his addiction for horses with his attraction to women.(Wikipedia)] It is not only a beautiful song to dance with, but also the directors’ favorite incidental music for movies. You must hear it in the famous Schindler’s list or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s True lies. But for me, the best version of this song is interpreted in the movie Scent of a woman by Al Pacino.
Blind, grumpy, loudmouthed, irascible Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino) hires a pre-school student in need of money, Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) to escort him to New York for a ‘final fling’. Charlie has his own issues that depress him, but the two end up having such a grand time in New York City. What makes the movie engaging is the bond that we see gradually occurring between our grumpy old man and the sweet and sensitive young Charlie that accepting each other and finding the new meanings of their lives.
Without a doubt, Pacino’s tango scene with Gabrielle Anwar (Donna) is the most classic highlight through out the whole movie. When Carlos Gardel’s famous and popular Argentine tango Por una Cabeza begins, Frank leads the beautiful woman, gently and masterfully, through the beautiful ritual of the Tango. She seems to move as one with him. Effective camera work reveals Frank’s dramatic and romantic execution of the Tango, and Donna’s pleasure and surprise at her ability to follow him, effortlessly, through this colorful dance that she has long wished to do. It’s one such magical moment – unfettered, unforced, and highly enjoyable, the dancing moment flawlessly demonstrates Frank’s yearning for life.
If you make a mistake get all tangled up, just tango on.
Two hours and a half, two man have just met, and a journey of a lifetime. Scent of a Woman is rather endearing and it possesses a level of charm; lovely, sweet, sad, and romantic yet uplifting. Same as “Por una Cabeza”, this movie is truly a classic for the ages.