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Irma La Douce [DVD]

Jack Lemmon , Shirley MacLaine , Billy Wilder    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
Price: 4.04 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Irma La Douce [DVD] + The Apartment [DVD] + How To Murder Your Wife [DVD]
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Product details

  • 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, Subtitled, PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Nov 2001
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005KISZ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,657 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Irma La Douce reunited The Apartment team of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine with director Billy Wilder in an adaptation of the stage musical of the same name which had been a hit in Paris, London and New York. The screen transfer by Wilder and his colleague--writer IAL Diamond--however, omits the show's songs, relegating them to a background score refashioned by Andre Previn with some additional themes of his own. Background here is a complimentary term, for whatever qualms one might entertain as to this move, the two sets of themes are skilfully woven together by Previn and emerge as a witty and lyrical aural delight in their own right which is given due prominence on the soundtrack.

Wilder is no rush to tell prostitute Irma's story: her affair with Lemmon being the pivot of the tale as he takes on the disguise of an English Lord. Lemmon and MacLaine beautifully play their mutual attraction under Wilder's deft direction with the slapstick never allowed to get out of hand. Many will recognise Wilder's touch in his handling of the scene where Lemmon as a policeman is carted off in a van full of voracious prostitutes from the bunks-in-the-train sequence in Some Like It Hot. The handsome production, designed by Alexander Tranner--with the occasional view of the Seine thrown in for good measure--and the Panavision photography by Joseph La Shelle are further assets.

On the DVD: The DVD contains a longer than usual theatrical trailer, half shot as a cartoon with characters closely resembling those Pink Panther figures who emerged at the same time from the Mirisch Brothers, a pair prominent in sustaining the unique success of United Artists, whose name was deleted, in favour of the MGM logo, in the early 1960s. It's too bad that the music on this DVD transfer sometimes strikes a coarse note particularly over the extended opening credits. --Adrian Edwards

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful screwball comedy - no pun intended 30 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A delicious treat for the lover of classic comedy, this movie abounds with quirky characters and witty dialogue. Lemmon and MacLaine are in top form, infusing their characters with charm and joie de vivre. Wilder's script is solid, the mis-en-scene is evocative of Toulouse Lautrec crossed with 'Guys and Dolls', and the comic pacing is as masterful as we've come to expect of Wilder's films. It is an all-around satisfying comedy experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best 11 Oct 2012
I felt compelled to write a review to enhance the fantastic film's reputation. Having first watched it as a 10yr old, the whole prostitute thing went completely over my head, and I just loved it. Jack Lemmon's English lord is a treat, even if Nestor is a bit of a familiar Lemmon character. Shirley McClaine is (unusually) a joy and gorgeous to boot. Hard to say whether this is "better" than The Apartment, but it's certainly more fun.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Irma from Paris, Hollywood 17 Sep 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Irma La Douce is a curious film with a curious history. Originally a French musical, it was translated and transferred to Broadway where it was a modest success. Hollywood liked the play's premise but not its songs so, when Billy Wilder came to make the film version, all the songs were dropped and it was done as a comedy (although some of the music was reworked by Andre Previn as themes for his background score).

The story is the stuff of farce. Jack Lemmon is a too honest policeman who gets fired for being overly zealous in the red light district. He promptly falls in love with the cause of his misfortune - a prostitute played by Shirley MacLaine. Almost by accident, Lemmon becomes her pimp but he is so in love with her that he resents her clients. So he devises a scheme in which he impersonates a rich English lord who buys all of Irma's time. To pay for this, Lemmon must work all day while MacLaine sleeps. Before long, crazy with exhaustion and jealous of himself, he decides to do away with his alter ego. At which point he is arrested for the murder of someone who never existed.

Amazingly, the film is not as funny as it might sound. Or, at least, it's not as funny as it might have been forty-odd years ago. When it was released, Irma La Douce was quite a racy film. But now it seems rather tame and almost naive. And at nearly two and a half hours, there seems to be quite long gaps between highlights. It is probably a sacrilege to suggest Billy Wilder was slightly lacking his trademark golden touch. But much of the style and pacing of the film seems uncertain. The colours are so garish and unreal that you wonder if black and white might have suited the material better. (There used to be an adage among film makers, in the good old days, that colour slowed down comedy.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Quirky Movie 23 Mar 2009
By GratuitousViolets TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Hard working, honest and good-hearted policeman Nestor encounters a stunning, quirky but lovable and sweet natured prostitute by the name of Irma La Douce (Shirley MacLaine, a vision in bright green stockings!) while on the beat in the back streets of Paris.

Trying to arrest and imprison Irma and many of the other call-girls in the district leads him to unfortunately being fired. Weeks later he encounters the beautiful Irma again and in his bumbling drunk way manages to defend her against her abusive pimp-boyfriend.

Ironically, the heroic act influences Irma to take the homeless and unemployed Nestor in, with the full intention of supporting him with the money she makes from making love with other men. Unexpectedly, Nestor ends up falling madly in love with Irma, and wants to be the only man she will ever be with.

In a radical attempt to keep Irma off the streets, he concocts a crazy scheme which he is sure is foolproof - until it has to be put into action. Soon, he finds himself going to extreme lengths to keep the woman he loves all to himself.

Despite the serious themes of sex and prostitution, the movie is nothing more than a light uplifting romantic comedy, and the undertones of sex and prostitution (while in your face) are still so innocent that even the easily offended could watch this without feeling upset. This movie is very subtle and enjoyable and isn't too thought provoking.

A classic that really gave Lemmon and MacLaine the chance to shine together again. Definately a must for romantic-comedy fans!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful little film 4 April 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I remember showing this film when I worked as a projectionist at the Odeon cinema in Kings Road Chelsea UK back in the mid sixties, I ran thousands of films over the following 35 years or so and not many of them remained in my memory but I do remember liking this one and after watching it again I still do.
It's a lovely little film well worth the price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Lemmon 23 Feb 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Hadn't seen this film in an age, absolutely love the Lemmon, MacLain combination. First class delivery service and reasonable cost for this classic comedy movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Irma La Douce 4 Nov 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first saw the stage show in Johannesburg, S. Africa in 1960. Just loved it eversince. Heather Lloyd Jones played the part of Irma & believe it or not, outdid Shirley MacLaine in dancing, singing and acting Irma. She was just amazing
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5.0 out of 5 stars One to watch 19 Oct 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Two greats come together to produce this brilliant witty film. Got to be a classic of its time. A must see if you are a fan of either of these actors
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 60s nostalgy
Have seen it on Danish and German TV some times. But now I finally got the DVD and I'm very happy with it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter Thomsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Irma La Douce.........funny-funny
This is a very funny movie. Jack Lemon, Shirley Maclaine, with Billy Wilder directing; who could ask for anything more.
Published 11 months ago by Mike Street
5.0 out of 5 stars A good sense of fun!
This is a laugh throughout and a wonderful ending. He seems to be able to do anything from policeman to working in the market to
pretending to be someone else. Read more
Published 14 months ago by polly
2.0 out of 5 stars A dated classic
I had fond memories of this film as a 17-year old (in 1965). Alas the plot and treatment of the characters now appears very uncomfortable - the happy prostitute and the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr. R. J. Simmonds
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful show
I thoroughly enjoyed Jack Lemmon and Shirley McLaine in this movie. It had funny moments but also sad moments. Will watch another time with my children. ...........Annamaria
Published 16 months ago by Annamaria
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely comedy
A real lovestory, but without the tragic part. I love the caracters. One is set back to the Paris when "Les Halles" still existed.
Published 16 months ago by hans
4.0 out of 5 stars Irma la Douce
arrived on time. Shirley and JAck are brilliant in this film. Very funny and shows how versatile these two great actors are.
Published 17 months ago by EAP of B
4.0 out of 5 stars Bought for son in law
Bought for my son in law and he loves the film so I got it for his birthday, he was very pleased with it
Published 18 months ago by grandma freda
5.0 out of 5 stars Irma la Douce
The iteam is like new.
The story is very good.
I love Jack Lemmon.
Highly recommend you to wach this one.
Published 19 months ago by Blograt
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