The Pierre, New York, A Taj Hotel, New York Starring Role: Scent of a Woman
One of the iconic grande dames of New York City's hotel scene, The Pierre has been featured in dozens of films and TV shows. In the 1970's Love Story had a shot of the hotel's facade, and in The First Wives Club the terrace of the Getty Grand Suite appears as part of Stockard Channing's apartment. In the 1990 Tom Hanks comedy, Joe vs. the Volcano, the main character hops into a cab at the New York airport and tells the driver to take him to the best hotel in town, asking for The Plaza? No, the wise driver explains, the best hotel is The Pierre.
Though the hotel is not referenced by name, or even used as a hotel, in Scent of a Woman, it is the setting for what is arguably the movie's most famous scene: the Tango dance. For the two-and-a-half-day shoot, the Cotillion Room, normally a banquet and meeting space, was transformed into a restaurant, complete with additional walls, tables, greenery, and a maitre' d stand, along with a band. Director Brest selected the room himself, impressed with the recessed ceilings, two balconies, and the big windows overlooking Central Park. Actors Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell were present for the shoot, along with Gabrielle Anwar, who played the colonel's (played by Pacino) dance partner. As one Pierre staff member who was present at the time remembers, Pacino stayed in character as the blind colonel even when the cameras weren't rolling, walking to set with the help of a cane.