Irma la Douce
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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Irma la Douce can be found here.

When honest Parisian policeman Nestor Patou (Jack Lemmon) is fired from the force for raiding a brothel and upsetting both the police and the Pimps union, not to mention inadvertently netting his station's chief inspector at the brothel, he takes on the job of being pimp to prostitute Irma la Douce (Shirley MacLaine). When Nestor falls in love with Irma, he finds that he doesn't like the thought of Irma seeing other men, so he devises a plan to guarantee that he is her only customer.

No. Irma la Douce is based on the French stage musical of the same name by Alexandre Breffort (play) and Marquerite Monnot (music). It was adapted for the screen by Romanian-born comedy writer I.A.L. Diamond and Austrian-born film-maker Billy Wilder. The film version of Irma la Douce, however, is not a musical.

At the very beginning of the movie, it is explained that "Irma la Douce" is French for "Irma the Sweet".

When Nestor learns from Moustache (Lou Jacobi) that Irma is pregnant, he breaks out of prison and dashes back to Irma's loft. He asks her to marry him, even though Irma tells him that the baby is Lord X's, not his. He eludes the police when they come looking for him by dressing in his old uniform and pretending to be one of them. On a tip from Moustache, Hippolyte (/nm0946484) squeals to the police and leads them to the spot along the Seine where he saw Nestor drown Lord X only to find Lord X emerging from the water and quite alive. During the wedding ceremony, Irma goes into labor and has to be escorted out. The police catch up with Nestor but, instead of arresting him, they offer him his old job back. Nestor hears a baby cry and learns that he has a daughter. In the final scene, while Nestor sits with his wife and child, Moustache wanders back into the church and is surprised to see Lord X rise from a pew and walk past him. 'But that's another story,' he says.

Irma claims that Lord X is the father, whereas Nestor believes that the baby is his. They're probably both right. Nestor was sentenced to 15 years in prison for "killing" Lord X, but he escapes after nine months. Nine months prior, Irma had not been seeing any clients except for Lord X, and Nestor was too tired to be doing anything what with holding down his secret job at the abbatoir. It's insinuated in the movie that the only time Irma could have done anything that led to pregnancy was the night that she raised Lord X's passions with her sex therapy involving fantasies about Tahitian and harem girls.

Some viewers conclude that there really was a Lord X, others see it as a touch of mystery la Alfred Hitchcock, some have suggested that Moustache always was a bit off his rocker, but most see it simply as a nonsensical, screwball ending to a nonsensical, screwball comedy.

Billy Wilder [1906-2002] has an extensive list of movies that he has either written, directed, and/or produced. Viewers who have seen Irma La Douce also place The Apartment (1960) at the top of their list because it reunites Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Other Wilder films that star Jack Lemmon include Some Like It Hot (1959) and Avanti! (1972). Also recommended are Sabrina (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), and One, Two, Three (1961).


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