Blu-Ray Review: Irma La Douce

Last month we lost one of the greatest composers of the modern era. Although André Previn had huge success working in jazz and classical music, aside from an appearance in a hilarious Morecambe and Wise sketch, he’s probably best remembered for his work on films. In a glittering career he received thirteen Oscar nominations, including three in one year, winning four time for Porgy and Bess, Gigi, My Fair Lady and Irma La Douce. The latter was one of four collaborations with the great Billy Wilder and contained some of his most subtle work.

Nestor Patou (Jack Lemmon) discovers he’s the only honest cop in a seedy area of Paris and his short career is soon at an end. Following his forced retirement, he befriends the most popular girl on the street, Irma La Douce (Shirley MacLaine). After standing up to her pimp, Nestor finds himself moving in with Irma and becoming her protector. When his jealousy becomes too much he concocts a plan, with the aid of a local café owner ‘Moustache’ (Lou Jacobi), to get her off the game.

Based on a stage musical by Marguerite Monnot and Alexandre Breffort, Wilder loses the songs and plays up on the laughs to make a funny and heart-warming comedy. He once again teams up with Lemmon and MacLaine as he did so successfully on The Apartment. They have a great rapport and this charisma drives the bonhomie which runs through Irma La Douce. It’s a magical and beguiling tale of love of the mean streets of Paris.

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.

Irma La Douce is released on Blu-ray by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on 18 March.

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