The Pajama Game
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This 1957 version of the Tony-winning Pajama Game is one of the finest film adaptations of a hit Broadway musical. The story is simple enough: Babe Williams, the head of a pajama company's grievance committee, falls for an exec--the new superintendent--Sid Sorokin (John Raitt). Doris Day, as Babe, has never been so efficiently cute. Raitt starred in the Broadway version, as did much of the film's cast (Day replaced original stage star Janis Paige). The Pajama Game is filled with recognizable, classic songs, done so well and danced so athletically that this musical can engage an action-film fan. Bob Fosse's trademark choreography shines.
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Top customer reviews
The Pajama Game was a smash hit when it came out in the early '50s and was a brilliant example of the Golden Age of the Broadway musical. The America of the '50s recedes from us very rapidly now, the popular culture, the music, the language and mannerisms, the food, the technology are disappearing fast from memory. We do have a window though, through films like this, productions by some of the best musical, acting and artistic talents of the day who were fully involved with their time.
The stage play and the movie were primarily intended to be entertainment, but not empty entertainment. Ostensibly a comedy about love and a pajama factory, it carried a biting message about labor relations and the American economy of the time. It was a time of sharp labor conflict, but also of general optimism about the future of America - which was had won the Second World War, pulled its economy out of a long depression and was poised to become the leading world economic power. The fierce labor/management battles in the railroad, steel and coal industries were not a distant memory -- Truman tried to nationalize the coal industry in 1952 to break a strike (the Supreme Court said 'nuts' to that), but things were generally going well, unions were strong and the forecast for peace and prosperity looked great.
I will simply say "don't miss this movie". For those born in the last several decades, some things may be jarring -- the cast is entirely white, the physical comedy (especially between men and women) seems a little strong, and there is a profound lack of irony -- but that's the way the popular culture was then. But the factory scenes, the houses people and mannerisms are spot on for the time. There is also a very strong atmosphere of romanticism and sexual tension -- the 1950s kind without the swear words and ass jokes. Doris Day may have been lampooned as the 'eternal virgin' by the 'sophisticated' crowd of the day, but when she swoons in the arms of John Raitt, it's a real swoon by someone that knew something about sex.
John Raitt is also spectacular as the male lead. He was a leading singer of the day (father of Bonnie Raitt) and probably deserved a bigger movie career than he got. The character actors and supporting cast are all unknown today but were also at the top of their profession at the time and give first class performances. The dance numbers are also wonderful -- even for those that don't especially care for dance numbers -- although they lack the glitzy special effects and computer animation that seems obligatory in today's productions.
See something different today -- see this movie.
ONE OF HER GREATEST MOVIES .
THANKS ALL THE WAY FROM AUSTRALIA
Sid Sorokin/Katie 'Babe' Williams: Married life is lots of fun / Two can sleep as cheap as one.