Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Pyjama Case Girl

The Pyjama Case Girl
Original Title; Ragazza dal pigiama giallo, La
Directed by; Flavio Mogherini, Spain /Italy, 1977
Giallo / Thriller / Mystery, 98min.
Distributed by: Blue Underground

A murdered body of a young woman is found on a beach in Sydney. But before the police can arrest a killer, they need to find out who the woman with her face is burned off is.

A Giallo that is based on true events can't be wrong can it? No, it sure can't, although Mogherini adds and subtracts from the real events to get this magical tale of death and betrayal. Two tales are told at the same time in Sydney Australia. One is the tale of retired detective Thompson [Ray Milland] trying to puzzle together the identity and mystery surrounding the dead woman found horribly burned in a car wreck on the beach. The other is the love quadrangle between promiscuous Glenda [Dalia Di Lazzaro] and her three men, Douglas [Mel Ferrer], a wealthy and strict professor factory working Roy [Howard Ross] with his mysteriously sun tanned body, and her official "boyfriend" Antonio [Michele Placido]. Glenda shags her way between the three guys as she tries to make up her mind of what she really wants from life. She finally ends up marrying Antonio, but her promiscuous background seems to be a large problem for him. At the same time detective Thompson is causing a stir within the department as he works against the official police investigation, and follows his own leads as to who the mysterious body can be. The investigation even goes so far as to exhibit the violently disfigured body in a formaldehyde tank so that the public can come see if they recognise it. This is actually like in the real life Pyjama girl case; they actually exhibited a corpse in the search for the identity of the victim. More than two thirds into the movie the Giallo motifs that have been lacking start falling into place, not that the movie hasn't been entertaining so far, on the contrary, but the usual sexy women, jazzy soundtrack (this one by maestro Riz Ortolani) and violent killings have been very few. There are a couple of tracks sung by Amanda Lear on the soundtrack, and they are sung so poorly that they become cool. Anyhow, the movie takes this new curve, and then there's a really neat plot twist at the end that doesn't concern the killer or the story, but how the tale has been told, and this is what gives this Giallo its value. Long before the cut up narrative was a well used trick of the trade, Mogherini uses it here, and to a quite good effect. I definitely got more than I bargained for with this movie and highly recommend it.

Widescreen 1.85:1 / 16.9.

Unfortunately this is one of those Italian movies that Blue Underground didn’t offer alternative soundtracks to. Here we only have the option of the English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono soundtrack.

There isn’t much on the disc that could qualify this disc as a great one extra feature wise. Although even if there’s just two features, one being the theatrical trailer there is a very interesting half hour documentary about the real Pyjama girl mystery that took place in Australia in the early thirties. Also included in the disc is an 8 page reproduction of Eddie Campbell’s graphic novel The Pyjama Girl which you may recall from the brilliant From Hell graphic novel he did with Alan Moore.

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