Epic Love on the Streets of Paris.
Eureka’s Masters of Cinema have done it again with another of Billy Wilder‘s (Witness for the Prosecution, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Stalag 17, The Apartment) classic films. Irma la Douce is a long film for a comedy, but in our opinion it is just right for the story and the running gags.
Based in the vibrant market area of Paris France where you can find everything from whole salmon, cows, pigs, fruit and veg. A place that has a lot of workers and they have their needs, even though prostitution is illegal the police turn a blind eye to the goings on of the ladies and the men that manage them, even taking bribes from them. But not newly promoted officer Nestor Patou (Jack Lemmon, The Odd Couple, How to Murder Your Wife, Some Like It Hot) who follows the letter of the law. On his first shift in the early morning he sees a lot of girls lining the street with some interesting names like Amazon Annie (Joan Shawlee, All Ashore), Kiki – the Cossack (Grace Lee Whitney, Star Trek: The Motion Picture), Lolita (Hope Holiday, Space Mutiny) but the one that catches his eye is the stunning Irma La Douce (Shirlel MacLaine, Terms of Endearment, Cannonball Run II, Two Mules for Sister Sara) and her little dog Coqette and as he talks to her he notices that the girls keep disappearing with men in through the door of the hotel Casanova.
He crosses the road to the Cafe Moustache run by a man named as Moustache (Lou Jacobi, My Favourite Year, Penelope) (But that is another story) he takes his hat off and puts it on the stool then starts to engage in conversation with Moustache about the goings on across the road.
“Shows you the kind of world we live in. Love is illegal – but not hate. That you can do anywhere, anytime, to anybody. But if you want a little warmth, a little tenderness, a shoulder to cry on, a smile to cuddle up with, you have to hide in dark corners, like a criminal. Pfui.”
The pimps in the cafe take this to be the sign for them to pay their dues to the police force as usual even if it is on the wrong day. Nestor takes the moral high ground and decides to raid the hotel. That is the start of his problems as when he pulls the fire alarm to get everybody out, he soon finds out that Irma is one of the street girls and one of the clients is his Inspector Lefevre (Herschel Bernadi, Murder by Contract), which promply gets him fired and drummed out of the barracks. He finds himself in the rain and back outside the Hotel Casanova. Lucky for him Irma takes pity on him and puts him up for the night after he knocks her abusive pimp out cold.
“Now I’m mad. Now I’m really mad. And when I’m mad, I’m like a tiger!”
That’s when we get going as the relationship between Nestor and Irma gets interesting and Nestor really wants Irma off the streets and with him, how will he manage that?
A Classic Wilder, Lemmon film filled with laughter. With an Academy Award Best Score – Adaptation or Treatment for André Previn that also lifts the film.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
Stunning 1080p presentation from a brand new 4K restoration
LPCM Mono audio
Optional English SDH subtitles
Brand New and Exclusive Interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard
Feature Length Audio Commentary by critic and film historian Kat Ellinger
Feature Length Audio Commentary by film historian Joseph McBride
PLUS: A Collector s booklet featuring a new essay by Richard Combs, alongside a wide selection of rare archival imagery.