Irma La Douce (1963)

Director: Billy Wilder
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley McLaine

Paris. Nestor (Jack Lemmon) is a  way too honest cop who loses his job and falls in love with a prostitute, Irma (Shirley McLaine). But, because of all her clients, he can’t help being jealous. So he dresses up as a fake british lord and hires her every week, becoming her only client. But it’s hard to pay 500 francs every time…

Ok, not as extraordinary as Some Like it Hot, but definitely on the same page. Fun, rhythm and great talent. Billy Wilder has a staggering skill: telling stories involving topical issues (prostitution, adultery, “transvestite”, murder, sex) in a very light way, but he’s never banal or sappy. Everything becomes just pure entertainment and genuine fun. all the characters, even the secondaries, are so perfectly drawn as to create a complete and functional picture. Every detail is important because it contributes to the general comedy frame: Irma’s green underwear, the bartender’s utterly ridiculous anecdotes (“But that’s another story”), Irma’s heavy drinker dog. It could easily become too much, but under Billy Wilder’s control it never does. His comedies just puts you a good mood, and that’s what the genre is supposed to do. Plus, even in this one the ending is a classic. Long story short: another lecture of good cinema.

“To be overly honest in a dishonest world is like plucking a chicken against the wind… you’ll only wind up with a mouth full of feathers”

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3 comments on “Irma La Douce (1963)

  1. Faith says:

    I can’t believe I’ve never seen this – or even heard about it! I live in 1938, so I think I miss a lot of good stuff as far as later films are concerned. Anything with Jack Lemmon and Shirley McClain I’m on board for…

  2. Jersey says:

    I’m sure you won’t regret it! Let me know what you think about it…

  3. […] his characters? If you don’t recall the post, here’s a couple of hints: click here and here. Well, I was saying’ that those characters are complementary. And that’s what happens […]

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