7.4/10
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Irma la Douce (1963)

Unrated | | Comedy, Romance | 5 June 1963 (USA)
In Paris, an ex-cop falls in love with a prostitute, and tries to get her out of that life by paying for all of her time. Not so easy...

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nestor Patou / Lord X
...
Lou Jacobi ...
Bruce Yarnell ...
Herschel Bernardi ...
...
Lolita
...
Amazon Annie
...
Kiki the Cossack
Paul Dubov ...
Andre
...
Concierge
...
Police Sergeant
Diki Lerner ...
Jojo
Herb Jones ...
Casablanca Charlie
Ruth Earl ...
One of the Zebra Twins
Jane Earl ...
One of the Zebra Twins
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Storyline

Naive, by the book French police officer Nester Patou, is transferred to the Red Light district. Upon witnessing what must be a brothel, he calls the station and organizes a raid, transporting all the 'ladies' to the jail. This unfortunately disrupts the well organized system of the police and the Pimps union. Not to mention inadvertently netting his station superior at the brothel. Fired, he goes to a bar to drink, is befriended by Irma, beats up her pimp, and finds he is now Irma's new pimp. Nester's doesn't like the thought of his girl seeing other men, so comes up with a plan. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

YOU COULDN'T ASK FOR FRIENDLIER FEMALES OR A FUNNIER PICTURE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 June 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Irma la dulce  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Seine was heavily polluted at the time of the shooting. For the scene where Lord X emerges from underwater Jack Lemmon had to be given a number of immunization shots, including tetanus, before entering the water. He later said it was the most disgusting thing he had ever had to do in a film. See more »

Goofs

The shadow of the "boom" can be seen on the brown wall, at the right of the screen, just after Lemmon shows up in MacLaine's apartment, following his jailbreak. It shows up behind Bernardi, just after MacLaine's sarcasm that Lemmon could be found in jail. See more »

Quotes

Irma La Douce: A painter once lived here. Poor guy, he was starving. Tried everything, even cut his ear off.
Nestor Patou: Van Gogh?
Irma La Douce: No, I think his name was Schwartz.
See more »


Soundtracks

Selections from 'Irma La Douce'
Music by Marguerite Monnot
Used throughout the background score
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of Wilder's most divisive film's amongst his fans.
4 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Adapted from Alexandre Breffort's stage musical, Irma la Douce in film form turns into something of a roller-coaster ride. Even allowing for the absence of the songs {a major gripe with purists}, the film is far too bloated to really achieve the heights of being a great comedy classic. If it had been condensed to perhaps a 100 minute film then I think it could of achieved the splendour that some sequences hint at. As it is tho there is still much to enjoy, and nobody should be under the allusion that this film isn't funny, because it is, but just how long can you stretch the joke Mr Wilder?.

I think the chief thing that sticks out is just how did Wilder get such an overtly sexual farce past the censors? He pushes the boundary more than usual with this one, and I honestly would be surprised if he himself wasn't surprised to get away with so much cheeky sexual shenanigans. The sets are fabulous from Alexandre Trauner, and Andre Previn's score is perfect and in tune with the Parisian heart of the film, but the lead actors here are oddly not firing on all cylinders.

Jack Lemmon's hopeless romantic Nestor is the core humour character. A character who becomes jealous of himself! His transformation into an English fop is hilarious at first, but on, and on, and on it goes till the joke becomes a heavy weight on the film's shoulders. Lemmon is fine, he's just the victim of over ambition from Wilder. Shirley MacLaine is the title character and it doesn't quite come off, sure she gives it gusto and she looks fabulous {as always}, but the role cried out for a more cosmopolitan actress, and this again comes down to Wilder losing site of things with this particular project.

It's a safe recommend for Lemmon fans, but for Wilder worshippers such as me the problems are evident in spite the film being his highest grossing film of the decade. A cautionary 7/10.


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