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The Pyjama Girl Case (1977)
’70’s people do ’70’s things on a beach (fly some kites, ass around on some ATV’s) full of wrecked cars as a throaty song plays on (picture Eartha Kitt on ‘ludes)…until a little girl discovers an outrageously burnt, pajama clad corpse…then things go die-rectly to shits and sirens…until that damn song cues up again.
Moving on, the corpse has the Australian (yeah, this is an Italian giallo that takes place in the land down under…) police completely baffled. Enter retired ace Inspector Timpson (Ray Milland) who runs rough shod over the case and begins to piece together the tragic story of a young Danish immigrant (Dalila Di Lazzaro) who’s promiscuity led to all manner of grizzly goings-on. Along the way we are treated to a doughy bearded dude whacking off, a shit ton of synth-based goodness, and a tit or two (they do generally come in pairs, and the ones in this film are no exception) as the pieces begin to add up for our world wise hero.
The real delight in The Pyjama Girl Case is in watching all of the disparate elements of the crime being pieced together and connected by Timpson; Milland plays the character as a classic sleuth, attire and all, who manages to bring together seemingly unrelated story points into a satisfying conclusion. The script by Flavio Mogherini (who also provided the film’s stylish direction) is excellent, and though it came late in the game as far as classic giallos go, the film nevertheless stands as a rock solid entry in the genre.
As good as The Pyjama Girl Case is on it’s own merits, the fine folks over at Arrow Video have included some bonus material in this Blu-ray release to make the whole package even more enjoyable! First up comes an audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films, that is both ultra listenable and absolutely packed with fascinating info. Following that we get interviews with: author and critic Michael Mackenzie (discussing the internationalism of the giallo), actor Howard Ross, editor Alberto Tagliavia, assistant director Ferruccio Castronuovo, and composer Riz Ortolani. Bringing up the rear are an image gallery and the film’s original Italian trailer.
To put it in a nutshell; The Pyjama Girl Case is a stylish, engaging giallo with a strong murder mystery at it’s core…fans of the genre will already be buying this no matter what I put down in poisonous prose, but I urge those who are new to the whole giallo bag to pick this up as well!
Indigenous Detective and ace booze hound Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) finds himself investigating a missing persons case in the town of Goldstone, located somewhere in East Asshair Australia. Along the way he has to team up with local cop Josh (Alex Russell) who threw him in jail immediately upon meeting him. As the duo press on they find the town authorities are as crooked as dog’s hind leg and the last thing they want is a dude like Swan upsetting their apple cart. Will our heroes be able to stand up to the nefarious folks in power, or will they end up crushed in the wheels of their shady machinations?
Goldstone is, at it’s heart, a western (albeit one with some heavy noir overtones thanks to it’s grizzled detectives and rampant scarlet ladies). You have the evil Mayor, the rough-hewn stranger blowin’ into town to right the wrongs, the local lawman with a good heart, the prostitutes that end up taking a fair share of abuse, hell, there’s even a shootout. along with all of that comes an fascinating examination of prejudice, corruption, and the abuse of the environment…all heady subjects handles with equal care, but presented with riveting character studies and splashes of violence.
Along with all of that comes breathtaking cinematography by Ivan Sen (who also wrote, directed, and scored the film). The dry, hostile landscape perfectly matches the interaction of the characters and in essence becomes a character in and of itself.
In the negative column, this film is an extremely slow burn, though it’s story never drags or becomes anything other than riveting. Oh, and one more thing; the cover art on this thing blows dong…not that it’s poorly done, but my lord does it ever misrepresent the thoughtful, weighty picture Goldstone is by making it look like some over-the-top action blowout.
As for bonus features we get brief character profiles for the main players, a brief chat with Sen, a piece about the town of Goldstone, a look at the Indigenous peoples of Australia, and two trailers for the film.
If you are looking for an excellent decedent of the classic Westerns and Noir pictures of old (and one that adds it’s own vision to the mix), then Goldstone is where your attention should be directed; it’s deep, stylish, and full of characters who full engross the audience!