The Pajama Girl Case

1978 [ITALIAN]

Crime / Mystery / Thriller

IMDb Rating 6.1 10 1027

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August 27, 2021 at 06:45 AM


Mel Ferrer as Professor Henry Douglas
Ray Milland as Inspector Thompson
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
938.67 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S counting...
1.7 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by django-1 10 / 10

fascinating Italian 70's mystery, shot in Australia, starring Ray Milland

Those expecting a sleazy, gory late entry in the "giallo" cycle of Italian cinema might be let down at THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE, but the film is actually a superb murder mystery, a fascinating character study, a police procedural, and a visually striking experience. Perhaps it's best to say that it was "inspired by a true story," since much liberty is taken with the original Australian case on which the film is based (and the Blue Underground DVD has as an extra an interview with investigative Australian author Richard Evans, who wrote a book about the real case from the 1930's). Ray Milland stars as a retired detective who spends time most of his time in his greenhouse (is this an allusion to the Columbo episode where Milland was into gardening?) but is brought out of retirement by a baffling case where an unknown corpse is found charred and decayed in an abandoned car on a beach. The police must first find who the woman is before finding who killed her. All the while as this story is being told we are following a second plot which I won't divulge here. At about the mid-point it seems as though the film might be nearly over, but it takes another turn and the chronologies of the stories become clear. As a regular watcher and reader of murder mysteries, the red herring characters were clear to me, the identity of the victim was no surprise, and the solution to the crime was not as much of a surprise as other IMDb reviews seem to think. However, I was riveted the way I am in a good Columbo episode thinking about the HOW and the WHY of the crime, and the clever way in which the various threads are tied together. Milland is, as always, superb, bringing many interesting quirks to the character of Thompson the retired detective. Michele Placido is impressive as the Italian immigrant waiter who is a major player in the parallel story, and Mel Ferrer is his usual suave self as a Professor who is having an affair with Placido's wife, who is played by the lovely Dalila Di Lazzaro. Fortunately, Milland and Ferrer provide their own voices. Howard Ross is also memorable as a vain and brutal German who is also having an affair with Dalila. While Riz Ortalani's music is largely the thumping electric euro-funk one expects in a 1977 film, it's much more subtle than, say, a soundtrack by Goblin, and two songs by Amanda Lear (my wife asked me "is that Nico?") are haunting and perfect, although many will find themselves initially put off by her singing. I don't think I can get the main song of hers out of my head. I had always considered buying a pan-and-scan VHS of this, but I'm glad I waited for the new and beautiful widescreen DVD. The Australian locations for the film as surprising and shot in an unexpected way that is fresh and makes the background an important character. I've been waiting to see this for two decades, and while it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, I was completely satisfied by it and watched it twice the day I bought it. Mystery fans and those into 70's Italian genre films should not miss it. However, don't expect the level of sex and violence you're usually provided in such films.

Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 7 / 10

A somewhat unique Italian genre picture

This is one of those unusual films that doesn't seem that good at the time but only once the final parts of the puzzle click into place is it apparent that there might have been more to it than at first met the eye. The reason for this is because, unless I was seriously missing a trick, the flash-back scenes in this film are never actually sign-posted as such. As an audience we believe that the two threads to the story are happening simultaneously and will eventually converge. Well they do converge but once they do, they put a whole new perspective on one half of the story. Until you realize this, the film appears to have a sort of aimlessness to it, and you simply can't see where it's going. Once the structure is revealed, however, it makes you want to watch the film again with this in mind.

The Pyjama Girl Case is marketed as a giallo; even going as far as to include the term in its original Italian title (the dead girl wears yellow (giallo) pyjamas). But although the film certainly displays some conventions of the genre, it's loosely a giallo at best. For one thing, this is based on a true story, and even though a healthy number of liberties have been taken in this presentation, it's still much more grounded in reality than is typical of the giallo sub-genre. The film often focuses on issues like prostitution and loneliness in a socially dramatic way that is completely alien to the more straight-ahead thriller approach of the giallo. This is certainly an atypical film, and for that it has to be given some credit.

The true story of the Pyjama Girl Case is truly tragic and mysterious with all manner of dark undertones regarding the Australian justice system. If the material had been played straight it would have the potential for a great film. As it is, this Italian version of an Australian story is set decades later and includes a number of what-if scenarios. At times it exaggerates true elements to an almost psychotronic level, e.g. the scene where the dead woman's body is on display to the public – the body was on display but certainly not in the bizarre way depicted in the movie!

In summary, The Pyjama Girl Case is a true Australian story told in a semi-true Italian way in a semi-giallo style in a series of flash-backs that only become obvious as such by the end of the film. And if that sounds a bit weird, well I suppose that's because it is. This film isn't what you think it's going to be that's for sure.

Reviewed by fertilecelluloid 7 / 10

Stylish true crime drama sags in the middle but redeems itself

Stylish murder mystery from director Flavio Mogherini, "The Pyjama Girl Case" is based on a true crime that took place in Australia in the 1930's. The Sydney location lensing by cinematographers Raúl Artigot and Carlo Carlini takes full advantage of the city's magnificent vistas and gives the film a sunny, deceptive tone. Told in flashback, Ray Milland, a retired cop, gets back to work after the burned and bludgeoned body of a young woman (Dalila Di Lazzaro) is found on a beach. The film's focus is on the Di Lazzaro character, a listless slut who spent her life manipulating a variety of men including her husband and older lover (Mel Ferrer). The gorgeous Di Lazzaro appears naked in a number of scenes (she has a superb body) and there is a sleazy, voyeuristic vibe throughout. The actress takes on two sweaty Mexicans in one murky sex scene and is adequately beaten about in an impressive set-up in a caravan as the camera circles the vehicle. Riz Ortolani delivers a striking, upbeat score, and Australian actor Rod Mullinar (who once played TV tough guy 'Ryan') co-stars as a straight-shooting cop. Unfortunately, he is shabbily dubbed. Though the film sags badly in the center for close to a half hour, it redeems itself with a strong and nasty climax.

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