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Irma La Douce Details


This romantic comedy opens with a resounding warning: its chief concerns are passion, bloodshed, desire, and death. "Everything," exclaims the narrator, "that makes life worth living." Irma La Douce (Shirley MacClaine) is Paris' most prosperous prostitute. Wise, endearing, and compulsively clad in green, Irma rules the rue Casanova. She triumphantly works the most coveted corner on a street where the cops gladly look the other way and the naughty johns leave tips. Her street is a content community of live and let live and good-natured desire, an Augean stable of human understanding. However, to upright Nester Patou (Jack Lemmon), the area's new policeman, genial wrongdoing is still wrongdoing. Freshly promoted from day patrol at a children's playground, the scrupulous Nestor arrests Irma and her colleagues in a bumbling, unauthorized raid. He takes pity on Irma, but harasses the guilty johns -- including the police captain. Promptly unemployed, Nester returns to the scene of his crime, the rue, and to Irma. After physically besting her pimp, Nester unwittingly takes his position. The two fall madly in love, but Nestor quickly grows jealous of Irma's patrons. Thus, he masquerades as a wealthy English aristocrat and becomes Irma's sole customer -- only to eventually grow violently jealous of himself. Soon enough, this formally righteous cop is comically jailed for his own brutal murder! As the film's prologue promises, Irma La Douce is a celebration of life from beginning to end -- unabashedly adoring lust, emotion, fervor and, above all, foolish love. ~ Aubry Anne D'Arminio, Rovi

  • Release date:October 6, 1989


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Andre Previn Best Adapted Score 1963 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Jack Lemmon Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1963 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Shirley MacLaine Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1963 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Shirley MacLaine Best Actress 1963 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Joseph La Shelle Best Color Cinematography 1963 Nominee


Jack Lemmon
as Nestor Patou/Lord X
Shirley MacLaine
as Irma La Douce
Lou Jacobi
as Moustache
Bruce Yarnell
as Hippolyte
Herschel Bernardi
as Inspector Lefevre
Hope Holiday
as Lolita
Joan Shawlee
as Amazon Annie
Paul Dubov
as Andre
Howard McNear
as Concierge
Cliff Osmond
as Police Sergeant
Diki Lerner
as Jojo
Herb Jones
as Casablanca Charlie
Tura Satana
as Suzette Wong
James Brown
as Texan Customer
Bill Bixby
as Tattooed Sailor
Billy Beck
as Officer Dupont
Edgar Barrier
as General Lafayette
Richard Peel
as Englishman
Joe Palma
as Prison Guard
James Caan
Louis Jourdan
as Narrator
John Alvin
as Customer
Louis Jourdan
as Narrator


Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
I.A.L. Diamond
Joseph La Shelle
Andre Previn
Composer (Music Score)
Dan Mandell
Alexandre Trauner
Art Director
Doane Harrison
Associate Producer
I.A.L. Diamond
Associate Producer
Maurice Barnathan
Set Designer
Costume Designer
Milt Rice
Special Effects
Hal W. Polaire
First Assistant Director
Wally Green
Frank Westmore
Emile LaVigne
Irene Caine
Costumes Supervisor