Irma La Douce (1963)
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This romantic comedy opens with a resounding warning: its chief concerns are passion, bloodshed, desire, and death. "Everything," exclaims the narrator, "that makes life worth living." Irma La Douce (Shirley MacClaine) is Paris' most prosperous prostitute. Wise, endearing, and compulsively clad in green, Irma rules the rue Casanova. She triumphantly works the most coveted corner on a street where the cops gladly look the other way and the naughty johns leave tips. Her street is a content community of live and let live and good-natured desire, an Augean stable of human understanding. However, to upright Nester Patou (Jack Lemmon), the area's new policeman, genial wrongdoing is still wrongdoing. Freshly promoted from day patrol at a children's playground, the scrupulous Nestor arrests Irma and her colleagues in a bumbling, unauthorized raid. He takes pity on Irma, but harasses the guilty johns -- including the police captain. Promptly unemployed, Nester returns to the scene of his crime, the rue, and to Irma. After physically besting her pimp, Nester unwittingly takes his position. The two fall madly in love, but Nestor quickly grows jealous of Irma's patrons. Thus, he masquerades as a wealthy English aristocrat and becomes Irma's sole customer -- only to eventually grow violently jealous of himself. Soon enough, this formally righteous cop is comically jailed for his own brutal murder! As the film's prologue promises, Irma La Douce is a celebration of life from beginning to end -- unabashedly adoring lust, emotion, fervor and, above all, foolish love. ~ Aubry Anne D'Arminio, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Irma La Douce
A good example of how a movie can be utterly characteristic of its maker and still fall with a resounding thud...
Wilder's soft-centred cynicism provides frequent enough laughs without too many longueurs.
One of Billy Wilder's lesser films, Irma La Douce relies entirely on its two stars, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, neither of whom is particularly good or funny, despite the masks and the accents.
Wilder somehow sustains the lively pace and humor for the two-and-a-half hour color comedy.
Just great fun.
The movie was filmed on a 360-degree set so shooting could be done in any direction.
Wonderful story, stars (Lemmon & MacLaine), director (WIlder). And what a great Previn score.
Though the saucy French soufflé has a few tasty moments it mostly sinks into being tasteless fare.
Audience Reviews for Irma La Douce
This is a fun film, but it doesn't near comparison to wilder's work with the two stars in 'the apartment." ...but no one said that it should.More
This is another really funny movie from WIlder, and starring the great Jack Lemmon. The story isn't new, and it's predictable sometimes, but that doesn't make the movie an less funny.More
A brilliant comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley McClane where the charcters and situation escalate way out of control and have hilarious consequences. The humour is still fairly subtle, but this is a totally unique quirky gem of a film, which has gone straight into to my favourites list.More
In Paris, naive cop Patou (Jack Lemmon) falls in love with top prostitute Irma (Shirley MacClaine). The dialogue is witty and Lemmon shines at times, but even at two-and-a-half hours the odd mix of lighthearted comedy and should-be-sordid subject matter never gels in tone.More
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