Classic Video: “I’ll Show you Out of Order” – Scent of a Woman

Marked as the final scene of the entertaining film “Scent of a Woman”. A remarkable speech by Pacino who delivers amazing lines like “I’ll take a flamethrower to this place.” and “This is such a crock of shit.” He’s a blind man so he simply sits in his chair for 5 minutes and chats with the full assembly of private school boys and the faculty. And he’s got them in the palm of his hand as the cliche goes. Some interesting reaction shots by the boy he’s protecting, Charlie (Chris O’Donnell), and the boy, George Willis Jr., he needs to take down to protect Charlie (a very young Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays this role. Go back and watch this film from the beginning. Hoffman has some terrific moments.) Charlie won’t rat on George because Charlie has a moral code. Ironically not the code he learned at the big private school, but he knows what’s right and what’s wrong. So Charlie’s going to get punished for not ratting on George. That is until Al Pacino (Lt. Col. Frank Slade) steps in, gives a 5 minute speech and reverses the crowd’s feelings, much to the chagrin of the headmaster principal, who always seems to be a douche in the movies and in real life!

I saw this film 30 years ago tomorrow (January 2, 1993) amazingly enough, with my first girlfriend Christina. I begged her to see it as I heard the buzz and wanted to see Pacino in action. I recently got into film and just watched “The Godfather” for the first time that Christmas break from High School. This was a time when people went see movies in a cinema where it was just about people talking and figuring out life. “Scent of a Woman” was a monster hit grossing over $134 million on just a $31 million budget. You add that up and that’s a big profit. This movie wouldn’t even be made today, much less made that type of money. A lot has changed in 30 years.

The film that gave Al Pacino his much deserved Oscar, “Scent of a Woman”” is not even in the Top 5 of best Pacino performances, but he was due. They didn’t give him one for “The Godfather”. Didn’t give him one for “The Godfather Part II”. Didn’t give him one for “Serpico”. Didn’t give him one for “Dog Day Afternoon:, Didn’t give him one for “…And Justice for All”. Didn’t give him one for “Scarface” (he wasn’t nominated). Let’s just give him one in 1992 so we can finally say he’s got one and we don’t have to worry about it. Almost like how Peyton Manning finally won the Super Bowl in 2006. He’s got it so we don’t have to talk about it anyone.

“Scent of a Woman” is pure entertainment. And it teaches you a lesson too. Let’s attempt to make movies like this again. “Scent of a Woman” isn’t an amazing film. It won’t be on any professional critics Top 100 greatest movies list. But it has something. Heart. And entertainment through simple choices people make.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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