The songs are gone, but the Broadway musical about the life of a French whore in Pigalle retains the colour, the wit, and the exposure of French hypocrisy, and the writing and direction by Billy Wilder add an extra dimension.
Jack Lemmon plays Nestor Patou, a naive Parisian ex-policeman who falls in love with a prostitute called Irma la Douce (Shirley MacLaine) and becomes her pimp.
Patou doesn’t want to share his girlfriend with anybody else so he takes on an alter-ego – Lord X, a British gentleman – to become Irma’s sole client.
A nice Billy Wilder comedy/drama with perfect casting. Shirley MacLaine is a very strong lead and Jack Lemmon (Wilder’s favourite actor) is brilliant as always.
This is the film that Shirley MacLaine says changed her life. I wouldn’t touch that one with a barge pole.
Nestor Patou/Lord X
Irma La Douce
Kiki the Cossack
Grace Lee Whitney
Mimi the MauMau
Customer from Texas