Irma La Douce (1963)

Irma La Douce (1963)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Irma La Douce Photos

Movie Info

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
Classics , Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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Shirley MacLaine
as Irma La Douce
Jack Lemmon
as Nestor Patou / Lord X
Lou Jacobi
as Moustache
Joan Shawlee
as Amazon Annie
Bruce Yarnell
as Hippolyte
Herschel Bernardi
as Insp. LeFevre
Hope Holiday
as Lolita
Grace Lee Whitney
as Kiki the Cossack
Tura Satana
as Suzette Wong
Harriette Young
as Mimi the MauMau
Paul Dubov
as Andre
Howard McNear
as Concierge
Cliff Osmond
as Police Sergeant
Herb Jones
as Casablanca Charlie
Jane Earl
as Zebra Twin
Ruth Rogers Earl
as Zebra Twin
James Brown (II)
as Texan Customer
Bill Bixby
as Tattooed Sailor
Harriet Young
as Mimi the Mau Mau
Lou Krugman
as Customer
John Alvin
as Customer
Susan Woods
as Poule With the Balcony
Don Diamond
as Man With Samples
Edgar Barrier
as Gen. Lafayette
Richard Peel
as Englishman
Louis Jourdan
as Narrator
Joe Palma
as Prison Guard
Donald Diamond
as Man With Samples
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Critic Reviews for Irma La Douce

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (3)

A good example of how a movie can be utterly characteristic of its maker and still fall with a resounding thud...

Full Review… | August 15, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Wilder's soft-centred cynicism provides frequent enough laughs without too many longueurs.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Lemmon is little short of brilliant...

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | February 17, 2011

Wilder somehow sustains the lively pace and humor for the two-and-a-half hour color comedy.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
Combustible Celluloid

Just great fun.

February 21, 2008

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.

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

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.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


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.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

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