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Al Pacino tangos to Por Una Cabeza in Buenos Aires

You may have heard that Al Pacino is in town at the moment. Anyone who has seen Scent of a Woman will remember the infamous tango scene with Pacino´s blind character whirls a female around the dance floor while a tango orchestra plays on. While arguably lacking in actual tango dancing (besides the initial embrace and walk), the song he dances to is one of the most famous songs in the tango world. 


Por Una Cabeza (By a horse´s head) was penned by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera and is the voice of a horse track gambler that relates his addiction to horses to his attraction to women. Written in 1935, it has been sung by many famous singers and used in multiple movies. It premiered in 1935 in the movie Tango Bar starring Carlos Gardel. It was in Scent of a Woman and is the song to which US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama danced (with Mora Godoy and José Lugones) to during the visit to Buenos Aires earlier this year. 


It was also used in the movie Easy Virtue with Colin Firth, who does a much more convincing version of actual Argentine tango, although mixed with a bit of showy Ballroom Tango. It is good to note that Gomez Addams is not actually dancing what the Argentines call tango but that´s another story.


The song is so famous that it is not limited to the golden age of tango singers who have given us such personal interpretations of the song. Singer Andrea Bocelli has also given his version of the infamous song, singing alongside two stage tango dancers as his honey voice gives a beautiful rendition of this traditional work. 


So how did Al Pacino fare on his second public performance of this song? If the Buenos Aires press is anything to go by, he gave a rather disappointing 10 second interpretation of the famous movie scene. With an Argentine girlfriend and an entire performance (An Evening with Pacino) the Teatro Colon, one might expect at least some knowledge of the basic steps. You can be the judge of it with this glimpse of his performance (and the theatre) here.



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