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us title: The Pyjama Girl Case
italian title: La ragazza dal pigiama giallo
year: 1977
director: Flavio Mogherini
composer: Riz Ortolani
full details: IMDB
overall score: 63

Bottom Line: For Completists Only
As long as you've seen eveything else, this is worth a look.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

I hated Flavio Mogherini's The Pyjama Girl Case the first time I watched it. At the time, I was expecting typical Giallo, but scene after scene left me unsatisfied. All through the film I kept waiting for the killer to strike again, but it never happened. And once I finally realized what was happening with the double narrative, I was too pissed-off to care. I wanted to watch a Giallo and 102 minutes later The Pyjama Girl Case had let me down.

The film didn't make its way to my DVD player again until about a week ago. Until then I never had anything good to say about Pyjama Girl and I always regarded it as a film I'd get to eventually once everything else had been scored. So perhaps it was because I was still recovering from the god-awful Sister of Ursula, but the second time around I found The Pyjama Girl case to have some merit. And I'd even go as far as to say that I would watch it again.

The biggest draws for repeated viewings are the technical brilliance of the cinematography and the performance by Dalila Di Lazzaro. In addition, the storytelling feature of two separate timelines running simultaneously is rather unique to the genre. It serves as the big twist at the film's conclusion, but on the second time through it served to help me pay more attention to the details of the events leading up to Linda's murder.

If you care enough to do some research on this film you'll find that the story is based on true events that occurred in Australia in 1934. My first time through the film I found the story to be unrealistic. I could never imagine a police force agreeing to the public display of an embalmed, unidentified naked woman in hopes of discovering her identity. But in fact, that's exactly what happened. Truth is stranger than fiction, so it seems!

So here's the thing - despite being marketed as Giallo, Pyjama Girl is more of a crime thriller. It doesn't hold up at all against the Giallo Score and I would submit that it shouldn't necessarily be included in a survey of the films within the genre. Nevertheless, the film's association with the Giallo has persisted through the years so I think it's important to include it on the site. 

The film doesn't make a good first impression by featuring Amanda Lear's manly, semi-tone-deaf singing of a horribly written song about yellow pajamas. But even a blunder of this magnitude can be easily overlooked if the film is otherwise entertaining. Fans of the Giallo expecting the fast paced mystery with a blacked-gloved killer, scantily clad female victims and outlandish 1970s fashion will be disappointed unless they redirect their attention to the film's unique (albeit slow at times) method of story telling, the artfully crafted visuals and the daring performance by Di Lazzaro.

I'm still on the fence about my recommendation for this film. It's certainly not a Giallo for the masses but those who have the patience for it will find parts of it to be entertaining. For now it will be a film For Completists Only unless a third viewing changes my mind.

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 35/60
Italian Director10 points
Hidden Identity10 points
Amateur Detective5 points
Motivation: Psychological Trauma/Revenge10 points
Standards : 23/30
Flashback Revelation3 points
Mistaken Identity2 points
More than one killer or accomplice4 points
Morricone/Nicolai/Ortolani3 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 5/10
Chase scene1 point
Comic Relief Character1 point
Gay/Lesbian1 point
Foreigner1 point
Odd Clue1 point
Total Points : 63/100



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Published: 2014-10-01