Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Pyjama Girl Case (1977, Flavio Mogherini)

Coming in towards the end of the initial Giallo craze of the late 60's to mid 70's, is Flavio Mogherini's La ragazza dal pigiama giallo (aka The Pyjama Girl Case). Featuring many of the tropes of the classic Giallo films, the only real visible difference with this film is the setting. The Pyjama Girl Case was an Italian-Spanish co-production taking place in Australia, something not common with these films. Many of the classic Gialli were set in their native Italy or tried to masquerade themselves as American films, frequently casting previously popular American actors in main roles. This one mashes all of that together, with Australian, Italian and American actors to make a truly original film.

The Pyjama Girl Case stars Ray Milland as retired police detective Thompson, who is helping two younger inspectors solve the murder of a woman found dead on a beach. Her body was badly burned and she was found wearing yellow pyjamas. All clues point to a man named Quint living nearby and even though he is charged for the crimes, Thompson believes he is innocent. The film also follows Glenda (Dalila Di Lazzaro), a young woman stuck in a love triangle with an older man (Mel Ferrer), a young Italian (Michele Placido) and an American (Howard Ross). Soon the stories will intersect and come to a thrilling conclusion.

The Pyjama Girl Case benefits from having many interesting characters and a story that leaves you guessing until the end. Milland steals the film as the lovably crass Thompson (who makes some interesting hand gestures). I also enjoyed the character of Glenda, who Di Lazzaro plays well. Her piercing green eyes and capriciousness keep the the viewer entranced with her story. There are also some particularly gory scenes, especially those featuring the victim's burnt corpse. Riz Ortolani modernizes the film with a mix of his classic orchestrations combined with hypnotic beats and synthesizers. Also included are two songs by French disco queen and Salvador Dali muse, Amanda Lear. Overall, Mogherini crafted a well put together thriller sure to be a welcome addition to giallo and Italian horror fans

Fun Facts:

- Flavio Mogherini started out as a Production Designer and Art Director before becoming a screenwriter and finally a director, with his first film Anche se volessi lavorare, che faccio? in 1972.

-Dalila Di Lazzaro turned down the role of Domino in the unofficial 007 film Never Say Never Again (1983).

-Milland was no stranger to horror, starring in Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (1954), Roger Corman's Poe adaption Premature Burial (1962) and the 1972 cult classic Frogs.

Just released from Arrow Video is a beautiful new remastered Blu Ray/DVD of The Pyjama Girl Case. Below are the special features:

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
  • New video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie on the internationalism of the giallo
  • New video interview with actor Howard Ross
  • New video interview with editor Alberto Tagliavia
  • Archival interview with composer Riz Ortolani
  • Image gallery
  • Italian theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet featuring new writing by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
Purchase the Blu Ray directly from Arrow HERE , from the US distributors MVD HERE or from DiabolikDVD HERE

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