Irma La Douce

IRMA LA DOUCE has a curious history: a French musical in 1956, an American adaptation in 1960, then this nonmusical film in 1963. Far too long for a lighthearted farce, with dull patches that outnumber the high spots, the film is really about Maclaine and Lemmon striving to rise above the fat Diamond-Wilder script and Wilder's lethargic direction. Wilder...read more

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IRMA LA DOUCE has a curious history: a French musical in 1956, an American adaptation in 1960, then this nonmusical film in 1963. Far too long for a lighthearted farce, with dull patches that outnumber the high spots, the film is really about Maclaine and Lemmon striving to rise above the

fat Diamond-Wilder script and Wilder's lethargic direction.

Wilder was the logical choice to adapt this type of film, but it still misses. MacLaine is Irma, a Paris streetwalker whose money goes to her handsome pimp Hippolyte (Yarnell). Enter Nestor (Lemmon), a cop who antedates Clouseau in his bumbling but sincere ineptitude. Nestor cannot believe all the

women plying their trade, and seeks to reform the area by raiding a local bistro run by Moustache (Jacobi). The chief police inspector (Bernardi) is arrested in the raid and Nestor is promptly sacked. Nestor and Irma become an item and she fires Hippolyte, making Nestor her new "protector".

Previn won an Oscar, and MacLaine and La Shelle were nominated, but this was less than a complete success. The movie was filmed on a 360-degree set so shooting could be done in any direction. You can't help but wonder what the film might have been with a half hour cut, or with the Broadway score

retained.

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