Irma la Douce

This article is about the film. For the stage musical, see Irma La Douce (musical)''

Irma La Douce is a 1963 comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.


The film version of Irma La Douce (which means "Irma the Sweet") tells the story of Nestor Patou (Jack Lemmon), an honest policeman who finds a street full of prostitutes in a popular area in Paris. After reporting the ladies to the police inspector, who has been aware of those prostitutes but lets them off by accepting bribes, he fires Nestor. Drowning his sorrows at the local bar, Chez Moustache, Nestor becomes close friends with Irma La Douce (Shirley MacLaine), a popular prostitute. After Irma dumps her pimp boyfriend, Nestor moves in with her, and he soon finds himself as Irma's new pimp.

Jealous of the thought of Irma with other men, Nestor comes up with a plan to stop Irma's prostitution. He dresses up as an elderly English lord and impresses Irma by giving her 500 francs twice a week. Nestor is able to borrow the money from the owner (Lou Jacobi) of Chez Moustache, who is the mastermind of Paris and decides to help Nestor. But he soon finds out that it's not all that it's cracked up to be.

Now that Irma is relying on Lord X to give her the money twice a week, she decides that she doesn't have to see anybody else. She begins to plan days out with Nestor. But at night, Nestor has to get up and work at the fish market in order to pay back the bar owner while Irma spends the 500 francs twice a week. One night, Irma wakes up to find Nestor gone. Just as she wakes up, she watches as a very tired Nestor returns and gets undressed to get back into bed. After he realises that she is awake, they have a huge argument as Irma suspects that Nestor is seeing her fellow prostitutes, among whom the exotic-looking Suzie Wong, a cameo role that suited Japanese-born actress Tura Satana to a tee.

The next visit that Irma gets from Lord X, she tells him that she wants to leave to England with him and leave Nestor. As the Lord worryingly tells her that she can move in with him, Nestor obviously realises that Irma is leaving him. As the Lord isn't real, he seems to disappear. Nestor takes off his disguise as and throws the costume into the river, then he is heard shouting insults at the clothing: "Goodbye, your bloody lordship!" Just as Nestor shouts these insults, it sounds as if he has murdered Lord X. One of Irma's ex-pimps hears this, but he doesn't see what really happened.

As Irma realises that Nestor killed the Lord because he loved her, Irma decides to not leave him after all. Howeve, Nestor is soon locked up in jail for murder. The bar owner helps Nestor to escape, and Irma is already nine months pregnant. As Irma and Nestor are reunited, she confesses that Nestor is not the father...but Lord X was! Either way, Nestor realises that he naturally still is the father, he still can't tell that to Irma. He then explains to Irma: "I don't care. I'll marry you anyway. And I'll raise it as if it was my own child!"

As Irma and Nestor are now happy together again, the police arrive at their apartment. In order to hide, Nestor dresses up back into his police uniform and pretends to be one of the officers searching Irma's apartment. After the police leave unaware of Nestor's disguise, there is only one way to clear Nestor from the police: Nestor dresses back as Lord X for the final time. As the police search the river, Nestor emerges as the lord. Nestor is finally free from jail. Running back to the apartment to get changed into a wedding suit, he marries Irma just as she goes into labour.

Just as Irma has her baby, the police arrive at the church and give back Nestor his job as a policeman. As the now happy family share their happy moments, the bar owner notices a rather familiar face. As the person walks up to the bar owner, he says "Cheeribye" and the person looks just like Lord X. The bar owner can clearly see Nestor with Irma. Confused at the thought that they may have been two people after all, he looks to the camera and says "That's another story."


Though the film is not a musical, it won André Previn an Academy Award for Best Score-Adaptation or Treatment. There is also a scene in the film, in which Shirley MacLaine exclaims "Dis-donc!" whilst dancing on a table, which appears to be a deliberate tribute to the musical from which the film is derived.

The film was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Shirley MacLaine) and Best Cinematography, Color.



Memorable Quotes

Irma: You did mean what you said the other night, didn't you?

Nestor/Lord X: Indeed! What did I say?

Irma: You oughta be ashamed of yourself, scaring a poor little dog like that.

Nestor: They oughta take that dog away from you, you're not a fit mother.

Irma: What's your name?

Nestor: Nes...Nestor. Nestor Patou. Irma: Well, don't take all night, Nestor Patou.

Nestor: Can I take your stockings off? [Irma looks at her legs.]

Irma: Sure, go ahead. [Nestor proceeds to take down her stockings that were hanging up to dry.]

Irma: You're very generous!

Nestor/Lord X: Oh, not really, my dear. Just filthy rich.

Irma: Who wants to be a stray dog? You got to belong to someone, even if he kicks you once in a while. Nestor/Lord X: Why don't we just tell him the truth?

Moustache: The truth? That's dynamite. Nestor/Lord X: But I'm innocent. Moustache: The jails are full with innocent people because they told the truth.

External links

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This article is based on "Irma la Douce" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: