Blu-ray Review: The Pyjama Girl Case

Giallo and Gelato is truly catching on around the globe. Cinema of the Dam’d in Amsterdam is hosting a night of Italian ice cream and slasher films. But if you can’t get over to Holland, don’t worry because there’s another fresh Blu-ray of that needs a scoop to truly appreciate the action. The Pyjama Girl Case takes the action completely out of the usual giallo locations around Europe. This film goes to the Land Down Under. The story revolves around a true Australian murder victim. We’d recommend pairing The Pyjama Girl Case with a double scoop of Talenti’s Coconut Almond Chocolate Gelato.

A small girl is playing on the beach when sit near a destroyed car she makes a horrifying discovery of a woman’s body with a burned out face. Retired Inspector Timpson (Frogs‘ Ray Milland) steps away from his greenhouse to search for clues. His only read leads are few grains of rice and yellow pajamas. He keeps coming up on dead ends including the pervert who lives near the beach. The cops can’t get a positive identification so they put the body on display in a Plexiglas box in hopes someone will recognize her. At the same Glenda Blythe (Phenomena‘s Dalila Di Lazzaro) is being kept very busy between her two jobs and numerous lovers. The immigrant from Holland seems to be the next victim of the killer as we ponder which of the people she’s seeing which includes a professor (Eaten Alive‘s Mel Ferrar), a German (Five Dolls for an August Moon‘s Howard Ross) and a waiter (Plot of Fear‘s Michele Placido). Or maybe it’s the woman she hooked up with one night?

The film is based on the true event when a murder victim’s body was put on display in Sydney in hopes of an identification, but the movie is far from historically correct. That case took place in 1934. The movie is contemporary to 1976-77. The scene where the body is put on display is builds up tension as Riz Ortolani’s driving synth score cuts with the faces of people glimpsing the clear coffin. Is the killer among them? Riz score can almost be mistaken for a Throbbing Gristle instrumental.

The editing plays with timeline between the two storylines of Milland investigating and Lazzaro being in jeopardy. This isn’t the usual giallo with a guy wearing leather gloves with a ready knife. This is a murder mystery that’s wrapped in the tale of a woman dealing with life in a foreign country. Milland roaming around in his trenchcoat looks like he should have been given his own elderly investigator show during the prime of Cannon and Barnaby Jones. Dalila Di Lazzaro part of the film feels like it could be a melodramatic woman’s movie made by Douglas Sirk except we know there’s a killer on the loose.

The Pyjama Girl Case came out in 1977 after the big giallo boom of the early ’70s. Sadly this limited the release of the movie so it never played theaters in America or the UK. It didn’t even get released on home video until 2004 so it doesn’t have the following of films that had decades of cult appeal. The Pyjama Girl Case brings so much to the screen without having to rely on a constant body count to keep viewers glued.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The new transfer is better than the version that ran on Amazon Prime. You get deeper details including the exhibition scene. The audio contains both the English and Italian soundtracks in DTS-HD MA Mono. Riz Ortolani’s score really gets full sound. The movie is subtitled in English.

Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth lets the author of So Deadly, So Perverse give details of the film and history of cast.

Small World (28:30) lets critic Micahel Mackenzie discuss the foreign locations used by directors during the giallo era. The films used international actors and locations to make a dent in the cinema marketplace. Best part is when he explains how you can’t use a giallo film for directions since the filmmakers wnat to just snag those landmarks during driving scenes.

A Good Bad Guy (31:46) talks with Howard Ross about his career as the hunky guy with a dark side. Howard’s real name is Renato Rossi and his review is in Italian with English subtitles. He speaks about landing this part. He delves in playing either good or bad in his roles.

A Study in Elegance (23:17) sits back with editor Alberto Taglivia. He speaks nicely of director Flavio Mogherini since they were pals. He swears they shot the entire film in Australia which was why he couldn’t edit during production. He says they cut the film three times with the third being the parallel stories structure.

Inside the Yellow Pyjama (15:04) allows assistant director Ferruccio Castronuvo to discuss the production. He says they also shot nearly all of the film in Spain. Part of his job was putting Australian license plates on Spanish cars. He enjoyed working with Mogherini because the director had a background in production design and costumes.

The Yellow Rhythm (21:24) is an archival interview with composer Riz Ortolani. He speaks of how his father was a postman, but had a great passion for music. Dad got him into wanting to do more with music. He talks about working with orchestrators while scoring a film.

Image Gallery (0:15) contains a dozen production shots, poster and the VHS box.

Italian Theatrical Trailer (3:55) is pretty intense with screams and a metallic beat to the montage.

Arrow Video presents The Pyjama Girl Case. Directed by Flavio Mogherini. Screenplay by: Flavio Mogherini & Rafael Sánchez Campoy. Starring: Ray Milland, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Michele Placido, Mel Ferrer and Howard Ross Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 102 minutes. Released: September 18, 2018.

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