Irma la Douce (1963) Review

In Paris a policeman Nester Patou quickly loses his job when he is trying to do the right thing with all of the working girls on the street. But things soon change when he falls in love with one of them, Irma La Douce.

Recently I have been right into watching Jack Lemmon which is why I have now watched this film too. Especially with it being from the same people who brought us The Apartment. The storyline is amusing to begin with as the ex-policeman falls in love with a prostitute.

The way in which the film handles the tricky nature of it all is pretty impressive, I still always wonder how things like this managed to get released. Quite a shocking thing to have in a mainstream film back in the 60s? Well possibly. So Nester becomes the main man in Irma’s life. That just means she comes home to him and he gets the money she makes from a night on the street or in the hotel.

Obviously this is never going to be ok with Nester as he is so in love with Irma, he wants her to quit the business and they will make an honest living. It actually feels very frustrating as she just thinks it’s the best way to keep a man. Yes being with other men every night. But anyway to combat this Nester decides that he will borrow money and then pay it back by posing as a rich British gentleman in disguise.

You can see where this is going and not to Nester’s plan at all. He does try to work it in his favour but that is quite difficult when he is indeed both of the men. It does create for some rather amusing moments though, especially as he tries to get the accent right as well as the very British sayings.

Don’t expect to see something on the same level as The Apartment if you decide to watch this one as for me it is nowhere near it. It is still an enjoyable watch with other funny moments all put together. Combining different types of comedy with the lines and a couple of slapstick moments! Shirley MacLaine seems to pull off so many different type of characters and different roles, that is no different in this film. I am appreciating watching many of her films as well and this has made my love for Jack Lemmon grow even more!

I am not going to spoil anything but I thought the ending was rather cute and amusing all at the same time. It really does make you think for a few moments and wonder, which was a nice little touch. Nice to leave the audience doubting and wondering about something!

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