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Irma La Douce (Widescreen)

Jack Lemmon , Shirley MacLaine , Billy Wilder    Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Product Description


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 fans of Wilder or stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine (the same trio had made a masterpiece, The Apartment, three years earlier). It doesn't represent the best work of those legends, but Irma provides tart entertainment. At least some of the movie's popularity can be chalked up to its subject, which was pretty risqué for the time: Lemmon plays a Paris policeman who falls in love with a prostitute (MacLaine). The script was adapted from a stage musical, but Wilder decided to cut the songs, instead developing the humor and romance into his own blend of bittersweet perversity; this Technicolor-fantasy Paris is kind of a dark cousin to Gigi. Lemmon is in his prime period of hand-wringing self-doubt, and MacLaine is perfectly in tune with his rhythms, especially in scenes that add tenderness to the sometimes queasy mix of moods. Ironically--given the nixing of the songs--the film won its only Oscar for André Previn's adaptation of the stage play's music into a wordless orchestral score. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Irma, prostituée parisienne au grand cœur, prend pour patron Nestor, un ancien policier qui la sauve des griffes de son ancien souteneur. Elle l'héberge et travaille pour lui, mais bien vite, fou d'amour et de jalousie et ne supportant plus d'avoir à la partager avec ses autres clients, ce dernier met au point un brillant stratagème. Irma la douce, réalisé par feu Billy Wilder, est une comédie romantique à la française, mâtinée de poésie, dans laquelle Jack Lemmon et Shirley MacLaine forment un duo émouvant et charmant. Le rythme plutôt lent du film et les décors attachants (un Paris rêvé d'antan, noctambule et coloré ; un Montmartre d'Amélie Poulain avant la lettre.) rappellent qu'il fut adapté d'une pièce de théâtre qui connut un véritable triomphe. --David Rault

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic masterpiece (part 2) Feb. 21 2003
By Eva25at
Format:VHS Tape
"Irma la Douce" was Billy Wilder's biggest hit at the box-office. With its absurdly funny situations and its snappy dialogues it is perhaps the most anarchistic screenplay he and I.A.L Diamond have ever written. The stars were at the height of their artistic powers. Marguerite Monnot's tuneful score didn't hurt, either. And this is just the package. Audiences are always grateful when allowed to peep through key-holes and "Irma la Douce" was the first major Hollywood-production ever to deal with the subject of prostitution. Of course, there have been many women with a past, shady ladies, innocent girls gone astray or clever girls in search of a sugar-daddy. But never before has a leading actress been shown while haggling over the price or describing the strange predilections of her clients.
Wilder originally wanted Charles Laughton for the role of Moustache. Those who have seen him in "Witness for the prosecution" know what he could have done to this film and his co-stars. Wilder's initial choice for Irma was, as everybody knows Marilyn Monroe. Her memories fresh from "Some like it hot", she threw the role away. She would have been wonderful in the role. MacLaine however, is excellent in her own right. Her ultra-cool delivery of her lines make her a provocative foil for Lemmon.
Watching Lemmon's performance, many critics were reminded of the great comedians of the golden age. No wonder. One must be tied up to resist this lovestruck hero. The scene where he enters Irma's room for the very first time, sweetly hesitant, ill at ease, because he knows that in a few minutes he is going to make love to her - this scene alone would secure this film its place among the great romantic comedies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comic masterpiece (part 1) Feb. 21 2003
By Eva25at
Format:VHS Tape
She's a music student with an interrupted career, the victim of U.S.Airforce, the daughter of a missionary. Sometimes her sister needs a blood transfusion. This is what Irma la Douce (Shirley MacLaine) tells her clients in order to send up the price. She occupies the best spot on her street - near "Les Halles" where it literally smells of fish - and her admirers prefer her charms to those of Amazon Annie, Mimi the Mau Mau and Lolita. She commutes betweent the "Hotel Casanova" (her office) and the bistro "Chez Moustache" (Lou Jacobi) where Hippolyte, her "Mac" is losing her money at the gambling-table.
Nestor Patou (Jack Lemmon), a young cop has saved a little boy from drowning. As a reward he is transferred to Irma's district. He struts along, self-contented, unsuspecting, and buys himself an apple. The fruit-seller looks perplexed at the money in his hand: In this part of the city, as a custom, policemen are not those who pay, but those who get paid...While Nestor saunters about the street, wishing the ladies a good morning, eating his apple, something is beginning to dawn on him. He seeks information from Moustache: What is it, with all those couples who enter this Hotel?
Sadly, Moustache's make-love-not-war-message is lost on Nestor's little-bourgeois mind. He puffs himself up ("fragrant vice...must be stamped out") and decides to make a raid. But first, would Moustache kindly tell him the phone-number of the police-station? In his industry he fails to notice that he is bribed behind his back...The transport of the ladies to the police-station is heavy work - they spray perfume in his eyes and taunt him badly - but crowned by success: "16 females and one poodle. I'll do better next time".
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great For A Laugh! 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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 days ago by June L Sanders
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Faeri Tale for the grown ups
This movie has a slow start (understandably being made in 1962) but then before you know it, it transforms in to a sweet faerie tale for the grown ups. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by MoonLitTree
5.0 out of 5 stars But that's another story . . .
It's astounding. This is one of the funniest comedies ever made and few people have even heard of it.
Everyone's seen "Some Like it Hot" (I HOPE! Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2002 by the wizard of uz
5.0 out of 5 stars "In our langurage of love"
What a remarkable transformation from stage to screen. A Broadway musical made into a straight movie but using all the songs from the Broadway Musical but without the words. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2002 by Rick D. Barszcz
5.0 out of 5 stars irma la douce
Is there another movie this great? My 90 year old grandfather and I are in total agreement about this hilariously wonderful film! Read more
Published on May 28 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Parisian Fairy-Tale!
Shirley MacLaine is great as Irma La Douce (Irma The Sweet) and this is a fantastic film! Irma is the most popular prostitute in Paris' red light district,and she is 'managed' by... Read more
Published on June 19 2000 by Byron Kolln
5.0 out of 5 stars This has been in my grandma's film library for years and...
...i didn't watch it until the thursday before last which was a mistake.the afi rated some like it hot as the funniest movie of all time but i thought this movie was a damn sight... Read more
Published on June 18 2000 by Jerimie
5.0 out of 5 stars Lemmon/Wilder do it again!
Whenever Billy Wilder (Director) and Jack Lemmon (Actor) get together be prepared for laughs and a great motion picture. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2000 by Nancy K. Grimes
5.0 out of 5 stars deserves more reviews.
an exceptional jack lemmon flick, so unfortunately passed up by many for more of his popular stuff. Jack is a cutiepie. loved it.
Published on Dec 21 1999 by James R Whitcomb
5.0 out of 5 stars tellement doux
Ce n 'est pas un film , c'est de la poesie en images , la douceur de la vie , la peine et les joies de l' amour ... tout est la .
Published on May 4 1999
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