A few words about…™ Irma La Douce — in Blu-ray

Upgrade from DVD and earlier Blu-rays - Absolutely! 4 Stars

Finally, Billy Wilder’s 1963 Irma La Douce, gets its due, with a new 4k OCN scan.

And it’s gorgeous.

Great color, densities, a nice light grain structure. It’s all there.

A solid release from Kino Lorber, of a terrific film.

Just pick up a copy, and enjoy.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD and earlier Blu-rays – Absolutely!

Highly Recommended

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

30 Comments

  1. I've had this on pre-order for a while. Glad to hear it has the RAH seal of approval.

    This is one of my favorite Wilder films. Can't wait to get an eyeful of Alexandre Trauner's amazing Parisian street scenes in Hi Def.

  2. I loved this when I first saw it but was disappointed when I finally saw it again on DVD. As a big fan of Billy Wilder, the high praise and recommendation by Mr. Harris has again spurred me to order something I thought I wouldn't want and gives me high hopes that I'll rediscover why I liked it so much those many years ago. My collection would be much poorer without Robert Harris offering his stellar reviews. And I haven't been disappointed yet when following his recommendations.

  3. What would have made this film even doucer to my ears would have been the inclusion of the full Broadway score, not just one song (Dis donc). Last time I saw this delightful film was via a beautiful 35mm print. Now we know this BD will be as gorgeous, or even better than that print, so I'll be adding this disc to my collection without any doubts.

  4. RJGT

    I loved this when I first saw it but was disappointed when I finally saw it again on DVD. As a big fan of Billy Wilder, the high praise and recommendation by Mr. Harris has again spurred me to order something I thought I wouldn't want and gives me high hopes that I'll rediscover why I liked it so much those many years ago. My collection would be much poorer without Robert Harris offering his stellar reviews. And I haven't been disappointed yet when following his recommendations.

    I didn't bother to watch IRMA on DVD because for me the film works because of the detail of the costumes and sets that create this imaginary Paris that we all secretly–or perhaps not so secretly– want to live in. And while the story and performances can be–in the right frame of mind–wonderful, it's that detailed fantasy of a Parisian Never-land brought about through the collaboration of Billy Wilder and Alexander Trauner that supports everything else. Without that foundation, the movie suffers.

    btw, welcome to the Forum!

  5. After having been suckered into buying the French Blu-ray by a RAVE here and knowing in my heart of heart it was only going to be the transfer used for the DVD, which it was with lots of DNR added to smooth it out, well, fool me once and never again, so I cannot wait to see this.

  6. While I don't hate it, I'm not a fan of the film but I'll keep my mouth shut lest I offend the film's fans. My lack of enthusiasm for the film is only partially because I'm a fan of the delightful Broadway musical it's based on and never understood the mentality of "Let's buy the film rights to this musical and eliminate all the songs!". But I am a huge fan of Miss MacLaine and RAH's rave review of the transfer will have me buying it in spite of my lukewarm interest in the film itself.

  7. YES, YES and YES !!!

    One more Wilder.
    One more Lemmon and MacLaine.
    One more Previn.
    One more LaShelle.
    One more 4K scan from the OCN.

    And…most of all…it's "Gorgeous", too.:)

  8. bujaki

    What would have made this film even doucer to my ears would have been the inclusion of the full Broadway score, not just one song (Dis donc). Last time I saw this delightful film was via a beautiful 35mm print. Now we know this BD will be as gorgeous, or even better than that print, so I'll be adding this disc to my collection without any doubts.

    I believe the entire score is there (I heard at least Valse Milieu) but it's all used for background scoring a la Fanny.

  9. Having written the liner notes for the soundtrack release of Irma La Douce – Previn used, I believe only three pieces from the Broadway score – Our Language of Love, Dis-Donc, and Valse Milieu. I should look at my liner notes to be sure 🙂

    I think people forget how huge a hit this film was – fifth highest grossing picture of the year.

  10. haineshisway

    […]I think people forget how huge a hit this film was – fifth highest grossing picture of the year.

    5th, eh? No slim pickins there, in the year of "The Great Escape", "Hud", "Cleopatra", "Tom Jones", "How The West Was Won", "Lilies of the Field", "The V.I.P's", "The Cardinal", "This Sporting Life","The L-Shaped Room", "Bye Bye Birdie" and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World",

  11. So, why am I so UNDERwhelmed by this transfer? I saw this film many times during its long run at the Chinese Theatre. The dye transfer print was fantastic, the color popped like nobody's business and it contributed heavily to my love for the film. Much later I owned a gorgeous 35mm dye transfer print that I treasured. So, why am I UNDERwhelmed by what I'm seeing here? The color doesn't pop as it should, it's pretty soft at times, and nothing about it seems like what's advertised – a new 4K transfer from the camera negative! (exclamation point courtesy Kino). I do hate to be the contrarian but this did not make me happy, as I'd hoped it would. It's obviously not waxy like the French Blu, but that's about the best I can say about it. For me, a major disappointment that simply doesn't look like the dye transfer prints. I sometimes wonder what exactly about a 4K transfer off the camera negative (and I hate to be cynical, but this doesn't seem like that kind of transfer) means if the transfer is not done well or if the color isn't entirely accurate. Sorry.

  12. haineshisway

    The color doesn't pop as it should, it's pretty soft at times, and nothing about it seems like what's advertised

    aPhil

    The gorgeous color on this transfer made this movie fun to watch. … it is a visual treat.

    Um, OK. Something's not right here somewhere.

  13. Thomas T

    While I don't hate it, I'm not a fan of the film but I'll keep my mouth shut lest I offend the film's fans. My lack of enthusiasm for the film is only partially because I'm a fan of the delightful Broadway musical it's based on and never understood the mentality of "Let's buy the film rights to this musical and eliminate all the songs!". But I am a huge fan of Miss MacLaine and RAH's rave review of the transfer will have me buying it in spite of my lukewarm interest in the film itself.

    I totally agree with you. I would dearly love to see the show as a musical. Maybe one day someone will make a musical film of the show. I have a love/hate view of the film. Don't hate it but don't rave over it. I am a great fan of both McLaine and Lemmon,having seen both actors perform live on stage but IRMA was not Lemmon's finest hour. Unfortunately not all great Broadway musicals make it to film.ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY was brilliant on Broadway with Kevin Kline and Imogene Coco and all the songs were unforgettable. CARNIVAL was another classic musical with unforgettable music that was never filmed.CATS was eventually filmed on a studio set ,for home cinema (John Mill's final performance) but nearly forty years after it's stage premiere ,it is only just now about to be filmed . I guess there is always hope in be able to see other great musicals make it to film.

  14. Well, at least one other person agrees with me, but I suspect we're going to be the minority opinion on this – from Slant Magazine: Compared to Olive Films's release of Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid three years ago, this is a somewhat disappointing presentation from Kino Lorber. The image quality is serviceable though never as sharp or saturated as one hopes for it to be—and for a film that's so rich with color and detailed set design, it's easy to crave that additional pop. Same goes for the soundtrack, in which certain stretches of dialogue sound as though they're being amplified through a layer of dust.

  15. I know I am in a 1% minority, but, for me, the French blu ray of IRMA LA DOUCE has brighter colors with more contrast. I know the US blu ray is from a 4K OCN scan and yes it does look more like film…but looks looks less vibrant to me.

  16. Well I don't know about the Kino, as I haven't started buying region A discs yet, but I looked at the French Blu-ray the other weekend & really enjoyed it. It might be a bit over noise-reduced, but it's sharp & very colourful, & even if the new 4K scan gets released in the UK, I think I'll stick with this one.

  17. Robert Harris

    May not have referenced dye transfer.

    I'm absolutely sure you're right. I really wanted to love this, you have no idea how much I wanted to love this. And yes, the French, while DNR'd to death, is absolutely sharper (perhaps artificial but this film was always very sharp) and the color seems better.

  18. haineshisway

    I'm absolutely sure you're right. I really wanted to love this, you have no idea how much I wanted to love this. And yes, the French, while DNR'd to death, is absolutely sharper (perhaps artificial but this film was always very sharp) and the color seems better.

    Much is dependent upon who oversaw the project, at what post facility, on what scanner, and the set up of said scanner.

  19. This is very disappointing, but the DVNR on the French disc makes it unwatchable. The new scan has no lollipop color or punch. I hate to say this but Indicator's new Footsteps in the Fog is also rather off tone, with a kind of gray undercoat. It's as though these two titles have come out of Sony as already graded with this particular LUT or parameter. I don't know how much further grading or color work Inidcator does after it gets the encode from Sony. But both of these are remarkably similar in the way they're just "off". I don't think you can put it down to David Mackenzie or James White.

    EDITED Just to mention Footsteps was not a three strip film, although it was filmed 1955. But this looks not much look UK Tech release prints.

  20. cinemiracle

    I totally agree with you. I would dearly love to see the show as a musical. Maybe one day someone will make a musical film of the show. I have a love/hate view of the film. Don't hate it but don't rave over it. I am a great fan of both McLaine and Lemmon,having seen both actors perform live on stage but IRMA was not Lemmon's finest hour. Unfortunately not all great Broadway musicals make it to film.ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY was brilliant on Broadway with Kevin Kline and Imogene Coco and all the songs were unforgettable. CARNIVAL was another classic musical with unforgettable music that was never filmed.CATS was eventually filmed on a studio set ,for home cinema (John Mill's final performance) but nearly forty years after it's stage premiere ,it is only just now about to be filmed . I guess there is always hope in be able to see other great musicals make it to film.

    Don't get me started on stage musicals I would love to see filmed 🙂 But since you brought it up, at the top of my list is the lovely 110 In The Shade (based on The Rainmaker) with a score by the guys who wrote The Fantasticks. And don't laugh and it will never happen but I love the score to the Tony winning musical Titanic and in my fantasy film world, that gets a big screen makeover and I agree on Carnival and how about the Burt Bacharach musical Promises Promises (a great score) and then there's Sondehim's Follies or …… see what I mean about don't get me started 😆

  21. Thomas T

    Don't get me started on stage musicals I would love to see filmed 🙂 But since you brought it up, at the top of my list is the lovely 110 In The Shade (based on The Rainmaker) with a score by the guys who wrote The Fantasticks. And don't laugh and it will never happen but I love the score to the Tony winning musical Titanic and in my fantasy film world, that gets a big screen makeover and I agree on Carnival and how about the Burt Bacharach musical Promises Promises (a great score) and then there's Sondehim's Follies or …… see what I mean about don't get me started 😆

    The film of the London production of Follies with Imelda Staunton played in the theatres here last year and was absolutely brilliant. I keep hoping it will be available on Blu ray.

  22. TJPC

    The film of the London production of Follies with Imelda Staunton played in the theatres here last year and was absolutely brilliant. I keep hoping it will be available on Blu ray.

    Unfortunately I've never seen those productions make it to BD. Staunton was also brilliant in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Her range is amazing. She can play Martha, terrify you, make you laugh and break your heart; and then sing and dance and break your heart as Sally in Follies.

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