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Irma La Douce

100 customer reviews

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(Sep 18, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

In 1963, Billy Wilder's Irma La Douce was one of the biggest box-office hits of the year, grossing twice as much as The Great Escape and The Birds. Yet this popular movie has been almost completely forgotten by film history, even to f

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Lou Jacobi, Bruce Yarnell, Herschel Bernardi
  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Writers: Billy Wilder, Alexandre Breffort, I.A.L. Diamond
  • Producers: Billy Wilder, Alexandre Trauner, Doane Harrison, Edward L. Alperson
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2001
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005LOLC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,442 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Irma La Douce" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAME on May 3, 2005
Format: DVD
Billy Wilder's 1963 adaptation of the successful stage musical IRMA LA DOUCE still makes for an entertaining movie experience. Shirley MacLaine is simply perfect for the title role with Jack Lemmon absolutely hilarious as her comical suitor.

Irma la Douce (Shirley MacLaine) plies her trade on the Rue Casanova of Paris with her fellow lovelies (with such names as Lolita, Amazon Annie, Mimi the MauMau and Suzette Wong). Into Irma's life comes the noble and honest policeman Nestor (Jack Lemmon) who is soon kicked off the job because he refuses to take bribes and compromise his own conscience. Nestor goes to live with Irma as her `business manager' but wants her to give up her profession, so he `invents' the filthy-rich Lord X to become her sole client, and takes a night-job to help the shortfall. All manner of hilarious complications ensue as Nestor's double life soon begins to spin out of control!

Based on the successful stage musical (music by Marguerite Monnot, lyrics by Alexandre Breffort), IRMA LA DOUCE was re-tooled by Wilder as a straight comedy piece. It works quite well either way, though I must confess that as an admirer of the stage play, it would have been smashing for Shirley MacLaine to perform that gorgeous score. The movie does retain the jaunty "Dis-donc, Dis-donc" and Andre Previn's score makes good use out of Monnot's music, particularly "Our Language of Love".

The strong cast also includes Lou Jacobi as the owner of the Bistro Moustache, Bruce Yarnell as Irma's previous manager Hippolyte and Billy Wilder stalwart Joan Shawlee as Amazon Annie.

The evocative costumes were designed by Orry-Kelly and the unbilled narrator at the beginning of the film is none other than Louis Jourdan.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alex Udvary on March 28, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Many might want to compare this film to Wilder's earlier Oscar winning film, "The Apartment" which also starred Lemmon and Maclaine. This time the two are in the red-light district in Paris. Maclaine plays Irma, aka Irma La Douce (meaning Irma the sweet) and Lemmon as an honest cop Nester Patou. As soon as Nester (Lemmon) sets his eyes on Irma he's taken away by her,but, he doesn't realize she's a "working girl". After being fired off the force for a hotel raid and arresting the chief of police Nester depressed walks into a bar owned by Lou Jacobi who play Moustache. Noticing that Irma's pimp is acting rough with her Nester decides to defend her by getting beat up by her pimp lol. Finally Nester gets the best of him, and finds that now he is Irma's new pimp. Nester finds that he has also fallen in love with her and doesn't want her to be with other men. He then gets a great idea that will enable her to only be with him. As one might expect since the two worked with each other 3 years earlier there is good timing between Lemmon and Maclaine. And Billy Wilder is in fine form. There are some great moment here, especially in the begining when we see Irma conning men into giving her a big tip. And the scenes with Jacobi and Lemmon are very funny as well. The film is based on Alexandre Breffort's play and was written for screen by I.A.L Diamond and Wilder himself. The movie was nominated for 3 Oscars; Best Actress, Cinematograpgy, and Music score. Wonderful film with lots of laughs!
p.s Jacobi's last line "Well, that another story! might make some think Wilder was going for the same type of ending he had for another film of his "Some Like It Hot" in whinch Joe Brown says "Nobody's perfect"!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on September 16, 2008
Format: DVD
Yet another Billy Wilder smash hit, `Irma La Douce' pits the wonderfully charming Shirley MacLaine against the hilariously witty Jack Lemmon in a comedy that is every bit as smart as it is unforgettable. This is one of those comedies that sneaks up on you, getting better and better as the film progresses onward to its end, and then the ending is one that takes you for a loop and makes you reevaluate your whole understanding of the film.

It's just wonderfully constructed from beginning to end.

The film tells the story of Nestor Patou, a policeman in Paris who happens to take the law seriously. Unluckily for Nestor, he's the only law-abiding citizen in his district, and when his clean and polished ways rub the police chief the wrong way he finds himself without a job. After a chance encounter with a young street walker named Irma and her pimp leaves him the talk of the town though, Nestor finds that the law may not be his friend, but his new life seems to fit him just perfect. That is until his emotional attachment to Irma gets in the way of her line of work, and soon he finds himself battling with her every step of the way.

`Irma La Douce' is a genuine comedy that is sweet and engaging despite its questionable subject matter. This is never played in a perverse way but used as light fun for the audience. As we watch Nestor try his hardest to keep Irma from `working' we fall in love with his efforts, for his care for her is genuine and sincere. As we watch their relationship totter because of his loving deceit we feel for them both because we want them to stay together.

The acting is superb here, especially on the parts of the two leads.
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