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Irma La Douce (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
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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
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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".Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The movie was recorded in PAL and I was obliged to copy it in order to be able to see it. The copy plays on
JVC . Read more
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 morePublished on Aug. 5 2003 by MoonLitTree
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
Is there another movie this great? My 90 year old grandfather and I are in total agreement about this hilariously wonderful film! Read morePublished on May 28 2002
Many might want to compare this film to Wilder's earlier Oscar winning film, "The Apartment" which also starred Lemmon and Maclaine. Read morePublished on March 28 2001 by Alex Udvary
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 morePublished on June 19 2000 by Byron Kolln
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