Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 15th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1977
Director: Flavio Mogherini
Writers: Flavio Mogherini, Rafael Sánchez Campoy
Cast: Ray Milland, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Michele Placido, Mel Ferrer, Howard Ross
DVD released: March 28th, 2006
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A young woman’s severely disfigured body is found with no identifiable marks except that she was wearing yellow pajamas. The police are unable to proceed with no clues so they let a former detective Thompson conduct an unofficial investigating on his own. The police are forced to take drastic measures in order to catch this woman’s killer. They place the young woman nude in a glass case in hopes that someone will come forward who knows her. The police continue to look in the wrong places while detective Thompson continues to uncover the truth. Will the Girl in the Yellow Pajama’s identity remain a secret or has the killer made a mistake which will point the finger directly at them?
Director Flavio Mogherini eyes for detail is impeccable his past experiences in art and production design is evident in every frame of The Pyjama Girl Case. The film is loosely based on a real life murder mystery that took place in Australia in 1934. The film stays pretty faithfully to the facts in the case with the main divergence being the films ending. The plot is actually two separate stories that are told side by side without ever letting the viewer know this fact ahead of time. This at first can get confusing as characters intermingle in the past and present parts of the story and nowhere is it made clear that time has elapsed. The plot overall is well constructed even though it has few moments that make the film feel over long.
I didn’t care too much for Ray Milland’s performance with felt stiff and some of his facial expressions were almost comical when he was trying to be serious. Also one has to wonder just how long his character had been in retirement since Milland was in his early seventies at the time this film was made. The story of Glenda Blythe the girl in the yellow pyjama’s is by far and away the most interesting part of the story. Dalila Di Lazzaro performance as Glenda Blythe exudes sympathy despite the bad things her characters does. She is has an uncanny knack for not only playing the vixen but also the victim.
The films most shocking scene is when the police department put the Pyjama girls’ naked corpse on display. This scene is not as exploitive I would have though it might be and many of the faces in the crowd are just creepy looking. Riz Ortolani’s score has late 1970’s disco sound written all over it still it is an infectious score that makes you want to get up and boogie. Overall the premise of The Pyjama Girl Case is fascinating while the film tends to be overlong and a mediocre thriller at best.
Blue Underground presents The Pyjama Girl Case in an anamorphic aspect ratio that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The colors look nicely saturated and flesh tones look natural. Black levels are strong and details remain sharp through out. Overall The Pyjama Girl Case looks immaculate with no problems with compression, artifact or any print damage.
This release comes with only one audio option an English language track that is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The music and effects sound full with a deep rich bass tone. The audio is easy to follow and understand as there are no problems with hiss or distortion.
Extras for this release include the films original English language trailer. The main extra for this release is a thirty minutes documentary titled “The Pyjama Girl Mystery: a True Story of Murder, Obsession and Lies”. This documentary is essentially a one on one documentary with Richard Evans the author of The Pyjama Girl Mystery novel. This documentary is full of fascinating facts behind the real case and some of the similarities between the film and the real Pyjama Girl Mystery. Rounding out the extras is a eight page graphic novel titled “The Pyjama Girl” which was illustrated by Eddie Campbell who also illustrated the From Hell graphic novel.
The Pyjama Girl Case makes its North America debut on DVD in style via Blue Underground’s comprehensive release that comes with a few enticing extras as well as a solid audio/video presentation.