Irma la Douce

  • Film
  • Comedy
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Wilder's two-and-a-half-hour comedy set in the prostitute milieu of Paris (Hollywood-built, courtesy of Alexandre Trauner's designs) looks more than anything like a gaudy musical (which it once was) without the songs (which Wilder removed). It's a chance for Lemmon to go through his paces in various guises - zealous boulevard cop, pimp, and moonlighting worker in Les Halles foodmarket impersonating an English lord by day. Even for Lemmon, there's too much self-pity in the part of a naïve ex-gendarme who falls heavily for a tart, but Shirley MacLaine redresses the balance as the whore with a heart of gold. Wilder's soft-centred cynicism provides frequent enough laughs without too many longueurs. As in The Seven Year Itch and despite the French setting, they come mainly from the hypocritical vulgarity of contemporary American sexual morality.

Release details

Duration: 147 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Billy Wilder
Screenwriter: Billy Wilder, IAL Diamond
Cast: Jack Lemmon
Shirley MacLaine
Lou Jacobi
Bruce Yarnell
Herschel Bernardi
Hope Holiday
Joan Shawlee
James Caan
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