Skip’s Quips: ‘Irma la Douce’ a Prime Showcase for Sizzling Paris

Blog Sketch 082813Billy Wilder can do no wrong.

Well, that’s not exactly true. But he’s one of my favorite directors, and after seeing Irma la Douce the other night, I can confirm that he’s one of the most innuendo-laden as well.

This is pretty sexy stuff, the Paris-set tale of a prostitute (played by Shirley MacLaine) and her ex-policeman beau (Jack Lemmon). Terrific writing, cinematography and art direction, too, with the City of Light coming to marvelous life onscreen. It may not be my favorite Wilder picture, but it has a lot going for it, with the director’s usual tart dialogue livened up by a salacious setting.

It helps, of course, that Paris is one of my favorite places, and my fond memories of it complement the images put on celluloid.

Let’s not forget a performance by the inimitable Lou Jacobi as a worldly bartender; he helps make the movie. Which should be better known, in my opinion. That it isn’t smacks of a time-tested Puritan sensibility, though in this age of Fifty Shades of Grey, I wonder if that’s all in the past.

Well. I know which film I’d rather watch.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: How Did I Avoid ‘The Fortune Cookie’ All These Years?

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I must be remiss. Very remiss.

I hadn’t seen Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie until a few days ago. Bad, bad me.

It was terrific. Not the greatest comedy ever made, but this witty farce, concerning an injured cameraman and his lawyer brother-in-law’s scheme to collect a fraudulent insurance windfall, was as smooth and quick on its feet as Walter Matthau’s sleazy attorney. I think I put off viewing it for so long because it was about insurance. Amazing how so dry a subject can make such froth.

I confess there are still a lot of fine films I haven’t seen. But I can now check this Cookie off my list. Thank goodness.