This Week We're Channelling: Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman

In Scent of a Woman, for which Al Pacino won his only Academy Award, there’s a particularly special scene whereby he performs the tango in a three-piece Prince of Wales check suit. Here’s how to channel the look.

The tango scene in Scent of a Woman took two weeks of practicing and three days of filming to perfect.

When it comes to performances that transfix you due to the convincing portrayal of a particularly complicated character, Al Pacino as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman (1992) sits at the vertex of the thespian mountain. His performance is method acting at its finest. Also, in a career that spans six decades, it’s his best one to date, if his sole Academy Award for Best Actor qualifies for such an achievement.

Frank Slade has more than a few complexities – he's blind and suicidal,  yet has the flair of a crude poet. This has, in turn, morphed him into a bitter, drunk and erratic old man who’s dependent on Jack (but to Slade, it’s John “when you’ve known him as long as I have") Daniels and loves a wisdom-dripping monologue. The plot is one of a stimulant-fuelled adventure that sees him take, against his will, a young Chris O’Donnell — a private school boy who innocently volunteers to babysit the retired officer so to earn money for a ticket home for Christmas — to New York City “on a tour of pleasures”.

Staying in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria, the young schoolboy wakes up to find Frank Slade in the midst of a fitting. Slade's adventure rakishly starts with a fitting for a made-to-measure suit designed by the defining authority of classical menswear, Alan Flusser (who also designed the wardrobe for Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street).

Published

May 2018

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