Irma La Douce (1963)

As a follow up to my earlier view on The Apartment, I must admit this movie is one of my all-time favorites—Irma La Douce (Irma the sweetest).

Jack Lemmon is remembered for his portrayal of Nestor Patou, an honest police officer who finds a street full of prostitutes in one of the popular areas in Paris one day on duty. He reports all the ladies to the police station in front of his senior officers. Aware of the activities, Nestor finds himself in false charges of bribe and hence thrown out of service by his old men who indulge in infixes.

He becomes close to Chez Moustache (Lou Jacobi), a local bar owner. While he is drunk, a bizarre sequence of events ends Pastor being the new pimp boyfriend for Irma as she dumps the previous guy. Pastor moves in with Irma.

He is in love with Irma and cannot digest the fact of being with other men; he comes up with a master plan of disguising himself as an old English guy (Lord X). Lord X offers Irma good money so that she can entertain only him.

To earn money, Pastor works for a meat processing industry during the night and early hours; hence most of the time, he ends up in bed tired. With time, this upsets Irma, and consequently, she finds solace by talking out her problems with Lord X.

Jealous ensures Irma’s ex-boyfriend kill Lord X. Pastor again becomes a victim.

Rest is all about how he manages to escape from prison and how he manages to convince Irma that he loves her more than anyone. One of the best comedies in Hollywood, Irma La Douce, was released in 1963 and was directed by Billy Wilder.

One of the fascinating things about Lord X is his strut and his comic timing. His ‘cheeribye’ is very catchy.

In a way, I wouldn’t like to describe much about this movie, as I would recommend everyone movie lovers to watch and enjoy.

Marilyn Monroe was touted to play the role of Irma; instead, Shirley Maclaine was chosen, as Monroe was dead by the time the production of this film started. Bollywood made a movie based on Irma La Douce, Manoranjan, starring Sanjeev Kumar, with Zeenat Aman and Shammi Kapoor playing the other lead roles.

I shall end the post with some of the memorable dialogues,
“Who wants to be a stray dog? You got to belong to someone, even if he kicks you once in a while.”

“Life is total war, my friend… nobody has a right to be a conscientious objector.”

“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.”

“To be overly honest in a dishonest world is like plucking a chicken against the wind… you’ll only wind up with a mouth full of feathers.”


The Apartment (1960)

The last movie to win Oscar Best Picture in Black ‘n’ White was this movie. Of course, it was before Schindler’s list (1993). The Apartment made in 1960 was classic with reputed performers like Jack Lemmon (I can’t stop ravishing about him), Shirley Maclaine, aptly directed by Billy Wilder. This was a follow up from his previous smash hit comedy ‘Some Like it Hot.’

I was in tears because I was touched by Jack Lemmon’s simplicity, suppressing his feelings. The feelings when his boss, played by Fred McMurray, out of his marriage has an affair with Shirley Maclaine, and he can stand and do nothing about it.

The Apartment is in demand for few employees working at an insurance company in New York. The Apartment belongs to Mr. C.C Baxter, played by Jack Lemmon. To climb up the corporate ladder, he lends his Apartment to his fellow selected higher officials to spend time with their muses outside the house. The four managers keep their promise by paying positive appraisals to the personnel director, Mr. Sheldrake, played by Fred McMurray.

C.C Baxter is attracted to the elevator operator Miss Fran Kubelik played by Shirley Maclaine. It turns out, Mr. Sheldrake had sights on Miss Kubelik, and they were involved in a relationship, which ceases to have an identity.

Miss Kubelik cannot tolerate the mystery of their relationship in adverse circumstances, contemplating suicide and consuming sleeping pills at the Apartment.

C.C Baxter, to his shock, finds Miss Kubelik in a state of horror. Next few days, he consoles Miss Kubelik and even tries to bring a smile.

While his heroics of saving Mr. Sheldrake gave him a chance to become Asst. Director. He always dreamt of this position; now, he stalls himself to enjoy the newfound role.

Fast forward 37 years, Bollywood had its movie in Yes Boss, loosely inspired by the theme where Shahrukh Khan helped his boss Aditya Pancholi get Juhi Chawla in return for a better corporate future.

And in 2006, another Bollywood movie, ‘Life in a Metro’ finds a sub-plot similar to the screenplay of ‘The Apartment.’ Sharman Joshi does justice to his role identical to Jack Lemmon, while Kangana Ranaut and Kay Kay Menon play Shirley Maclaine and Fred McMurray to perfection.

However, according to director Billy Wilder, The Apartment was inspired when he had seen the movie ‘Brief encounter’ in 1945.

I like the ending scene.

It’s about the time when C.C Baxter and Miss Kubelik are about to start a game of cards.

C.C. Baxter: You hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.

Fran Kubelik: Shut up and deal.