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Movies: “Irma La Douce”

June 5, 1963 - Opening today is “Irma La Douce,” a romantic comedy directed by Billy Wilder from a screenplay he co-wrote with I.A.L. Diamond, based on the 1956 French stage musical of the same name. The film stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. A policeman (Lemmon) falls in love with a prostitute, Irma (MacLaine), and does not want her seeing other men. So, he creates an alter-ego, a wealthy Englishman who will be her only customer. It seems like a solid enough plan — what could possibly go wrong? The film was conceived in 1962 as a vehicle for the late Marilyn Monroe. The project would have reunited her with Wilder and Lemmon, both of whom had worked with her on “Some Like It Hot.” After Monroe’s death, Shirley MacLaine was cast in the film after starring in the Academy Award-winning comedy-drama, “The Apartment.”


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