Irma la Douce

1963

Comedy / Romance

1
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 78%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 0 14169

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

as Nestor Patou
as Irma La Douce
as Moustache
as Hippolyte
720p 1080p
1.15 GB
1280*548
English
X
23.976
02 hr 27 min
P/S 8 / 8
2.15 GB
1920*822
English
X
23.976
02 hr 27 min
P/S 11 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by wjv-1 10 / 10

Irma La Douce (Billy Wilder)

Irma la Douce is a gem, one of Billy Wilders best films. Banned from TV for many years by network censors, it began as a Broadway play and ran from Sep 29, 1960 to Dec 31, 1961 playing at both the Plymouth Theatre and the Alvin Theatre in New York. It quickly won the attention of Hollywood and in 1963 debuted as a film starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. It is a love story, the story of a policeman turned reformer who falls madly in love with a beautiful young prostitute. The IBDB captures its essence best: "Irma La Douce" is not only French; it is intensely Parisian French. Set in an area tourists seek, but so seldom find, its musical idiom, its moral atmosphere, its plot and its argot are part of Paris not even all Parisians know; a part of Paris where the underworld is known as the "milieu." A tart is a "poule," a pimp is a "mec" and money is "grisbi." If you remember Sam Seborn's affair with a prostitute in the first season of West Wing, you have the advantage. Mix with this belief in the underlying goodness of a person with the enchanting music and backdrop of Paris and you will find yourself pulling for Nester (Lemmon) in his quest to win Irma's hand. Marilyn Monroe was originally scheduled to play Irma but died before the film work began. As a credit to Wilder's casting, Shirley MacLaine's performance earned her an Oscar nomination for best actress. The film's cinematography received its own Oscar nomination and the music took Hollywood by storm. It's stunning Parisian melody, written by Marguerite Monnot and arranged for film by Andre Previn, won the Oscar for best music and remains one of the finest musical scores ever.

And within the cheerful comedy of the plot, the story's philosopher shines bright as the mentor for Lester who struggles to overcome the muk of daily life. Being none other than the bar tender and owner of the Chez Moustache, the bar and stage center for much of the film, Moustache lends his shoulder to Lester and instructs him in the realities of life: life accepts no conscientious objector and must be approached as if it were a war where only the strong survive. In other words, face the world as it is, not as you were told it was.

Watch this film on DVD and get the wide screen version if you can. If you find yourself critical of the film, remember that this is late 50's, early 60's America. It came out during the cold war, in a period where TV was still in its 'Andy of Mayberry' days. Movies were heavily censored and even the media was under intense scrutiny for what topics matters it discussed. Irma La Douce was buried from play and only lately rediscovered by VHS & DVD fans. Transport yourself back to the "Milieu" and enjoy, you may just learn something about life!

Reviewed by Neal Klein 9 / 10

Forgotten Wilder treasure

Billy Wilder is remembered for "Some Like It Hot" but not this great Jack Lemmon/Shirley MacLaine comedy of a Paris cop falling in love with a prostitute. In many ways, it's funnier, and certainly risque. But tasteful and delightful overall.

Until recently, I had never seen this film in widescreen. But I loved this movie since I was 11 years old. It celebrates love and jealousy in ways that tickle. Moustache is the best reason to watch the film for his witty dialogue and comedic timing.

Fans of cameos should spot Bill Bixby and Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand of Star Trek: TOS). I remember a time when I could tell you other things about this film, but that's another story!

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10

"But That's Another Story"

When I first saw Irma La Douce as much as I liked it, I was puzzled by the fact that Billy Wilder had chosen to do this hit musical without any songs in it. Very much like Fanny from a few years ago which also had a French setting and came to the screen without its score. The Broadway cast album was a staple in my house and I certainly enjoyed the songs that Keith Mitchell and Elizabeth Seal and the rest of the cast did on Broadway.

What made it more puzzling was the presence of Bruce Yarnell in the movie cast, the possessor of a really nice baritone voice, he played opposite Ethel Merman in the Lincoln Center revival of Annie Get Your Gun. That together with the fact Shirley MacLaine first made her mark in musical roles, in fact she had starred in the screen version of Can-Can the two years before.

Well, according to the recent biography of Billy Wilder by Ed Sikov in fact this film started out as a musical. Somewhere there is some footage of MacLaine, Yarnell, possibly even Jack Lemmon and Lou Jacobi doing some musical numbers lying in a vault somewhere. Wilder said he thought the numbers slowed the pace of the story and midpoint in the film he just scrapped what he had shot and didn't bother with the rest.

Personally I wish he had kept the numbers in, maybe it would have made Irma La Douce run too long. Who knows maybe we'll get to see them some day.

Shirley MacLaine got an Oscar nomination for her performance in the title role. She's a good natured working girl who has the misfortune to get busted by the one cop in Paris who is not winking at prostitution on his first day on his new beat. That would be Jack Lemmon who for his honest law enforcement gets himself fired.

That far from ends it as Lemmon falls for MacLaine and like he did in The Apartment sees himself as her savior. The rest of the film is the ridiculous lengths Lemmon goes to save MacLaine from her life of sin and debauchery.

His one confidante is Lou Jacobi who plays Moustache the owner of a local bistro where the girls and their mecs(that's French for pimp) hang out. His role was originally intended for Charles Laughton.

Billy Wilder has a well deserved reputation as a cynical observer of humankind and had some run ins with several Hollywood greats. But he became an unabashed admirer of Charles Laughton after working with him on Witness for the Prosecution. The tenderest part of that Wilder biography tells about how Wilder kept visiting Laughton up to the end discussing the part with both of them knowing it was never to be. Yet I wish Laughton had lived to do the part. It would really have been special.

Bruce Yarnell's part is that of MacLaine's mec. His career too was tragically cut short by a plane crash that he was killed in later in the decade. Terrific voice, nice screen and stage presence, what a terrible thing to happen.

Though I would have liked to have seen the musical, I can't fault Billy Wilder's production of Irma La Douce. The fact that this came to the screen at all was further demonstration of the Code finally being lifted from the backs of the creative.

Maybe we will see a full blown musical adaptation of Irma La Douce some day. But that's another story.

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