- 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, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
- Language: English, French
- Subtitles: Spanish, French
- Dubbed: Spanish
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
- Release Date: April 1 2003
- Run Time: 147 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00005LOLC
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Irma La Douce (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
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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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JVC . The code 2 gone but the video is still in PAL it will not play on SONY or Pannasonic.
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". But his expected promotion does not take place, because - I bet you guess this one - the Chief of police was among the customers...
This same evening, after a day of futile efforts of finding another job, Nestor winds up again at "Chez Moustache". His belongings are in his suitcase. It's raining. At this late hour, things are usually pretty lively, but the rain keeps the customers away and Hippolyte has no luck with his card-game - and takes it out on Irma. Nestor hurries to her help - one of the most hilarious fight-scenes in film history - and wins. Irma's knowing smile reveals it, but it's not until the next morning that Nestor realizes that a new job fell right into his lap. While he still abandons himself to the recollection of the pleasures of last night Irma orders him to try on Hippolyte's suits and slings field-glasses (for the horse-race) around his neck. She promises that she will work harder for him than for any of his predecessors...
Every profession has its own status-symbols. Irma's trade requires a posh "Mac". She decorates him with expensive tie-pins in order to impress the other girls. She is also extremely jealous: Heaven help the girl who dares to make a pass on him. Traces of lipstick on his face present us with the most hilarious boxing-match between ladies since Marlene Dietrich fought it out in "Destry rides again".
Nestor too is jealous: of Irma's clients. He loves her dearly and wants her for himself. But Irma is a real pro who considers her trade as vocation and there is always this problem with money...After much brooding Nestor develops an ingenious plan: Irma needs a long-term patron: Lord X (himself + false beard + fake accent) will pay Irma 500 francs, twice a week for the exclusive title to her favor. Problem solved. Is it?
Suddenly Nestor discovers that those 500 francs, twice a week have to come from somewhere, have to be earned...Now he learns the rough way how hard it is to lead an easy life: Drug Irma's poodle with champagne, steal out of her arms to the market where the pork-butcher is waiting for him. He is pinched by lobsters, garbage has to be disposed off, too. A slightly untidy gentleman steals himself into Irma's bed again, always hoping she won't wake up...Irma's life underwent a drastic change too: Her relationship with Lord X is strictly platonic and Nestor is always tired. Slowly she shifts her affection from Nestor to the Lord. Mad with jealousy, Nestor decides to get rid of his alter ego. The truth is lost on Irma, but she certainly understands a crime of passion...
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.
Why then has this film been refused its place as a true classic? The problem with Irma is, that the story ends 20 minutes before the film does. We had our thrills, we had our laughs, and now the story forces Wilder to send after an ending that will satisfy the "little bourgeois" in us. It feels as if the film-presenter announces: Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you enjoyed this film and now, as an extra, Mr. Lemmon will perform some acrobatics...he married during shooting, be indulgent.
Make your choice: enjoy "Irma" completely, including its anticlimactic ending, or miss one of the funniest films of all time. Spicy enough to send you from one fit of laughter to the next, innocent enough not to offend your maiden aunt or harm your (elder) children. This film captures the delightful atmosphere of Paris and bubbles and sparkles like champagne. If "Irma la Douce" can't cheer you up, no film can.
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