William Stevenson
October 10, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Al Pacino wasn’t the first blind army officer to lead us by the nose. In 1974, Profumo di Donna — the original scent of a woman — unleashed suave Vittorio Gassman on the Italian countryside, with Alessandro Momo in tow as the young soldier who must watch him for a week. Previously unavailable on tape in the U.S., this Scent has comparatively understated performances (how could it not!) and no prep-school subplot, making it more believable if less exuberant than the American remake. Sparing us the bellowing that won Pacino an Oscar in 1992, Gassman’s crusty captain is surprisingly likable. Momo’s aide is winningly innocent, and bella Agostina Belli makes an enchanting inamorata. The only jarring element is Armando Trovajoli’s music, which cues touching moments far too obviously. B+

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