The Pajama Game
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Top Customer Reviews
In 1955 it opened on Broadway with legendary director George Abbot at the helm and newcomer Bob Fosse making his debut as choreographer. John Raitt (the original Billy Bigalow in "Carousel"), Eddie Foy Jr., and Retta Shaw all earned praise for their work and Carol Haney delivered a career-making performance in a supporting role. (A week after the show opened, Carol Haney was ill so her understudy, chorus girl Shirley McLaine, went on in the part with no rehearsal. She was a great success, especially to film producer Hal Ashby who was in the audience to see Haney. He brought McLaine to Hollywood to star in his upcoming Hitchcock film, which started Shirley's career.)
In 1957 Warner Brothers brought the entire cast and production team from New York to do the film version. All, that is, but one. Janice Paige was replaced by Doris Day as Babe Williams, the feisty union garment worker opposite John Raitt's suave role as Pajama Factory manager, Sid Sorokin.
Doris Day comes across with a bit more grit in both her acting and her voice than many may be expecting. But she makes a great Babe - whether belting "I'm Not At All in Love" or cooing the romantic ballad "Hey There". John Raitt is equally adept as Sid and does so well with his tough guy good looks, that you wonder why Hollywood failed to cast him in any of his previous stage hits. But it's that full baritone voice that knocks you over. A voice of such lush timbre that contemporaries like Frank Sinatra and Gordon McRae pale in comparison.Read more ›
When "Pajama Game" was brought to the screen, Doris Day was given sole star billing, of course, with Raitt, Carol Haney and Eddie Foy, Jr. getting secondary rankings. Mr.Raitt had top billing on Broadway, but this was Hollywood.
Miss Day was fascinating as Babe Williams, head of the grievance committee at the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory. She falls in love with the new forman, played by Raitt. A 7 1/2 cent raise is at stake for the workers, with management playing dirty tricks.
The musical score is great. Doris Day was in wonderful voice which was clear and poinant as she reprised that marvelous standard, "Hey There". "I'm Not at All in Love" was very entertaining with Day really showing us how a musical number should be done.
With Raitt, she does the standout "There Once Was A Man", and they both perform to perfection. What a great number!
The songs that were omitted from the original Broadway cast, were not missed here. I would love for Doris to have had another ballad, perhaps they could have written something special for the film version.
Carol Haney was fun as Gladys and danced up a storm with Bob Fosey's signature choreography in two highlights of the film, "Once a Year Day" and "Steam Heat.
Eddie Foy, Jr., Barbara Nichols, Rita Shaw and Thelma Pelish, all holdovers from the stage version added much to the proceedings.
Stanley Donen's direction was deft. This is one of his best pictures, but he never mentions it in documentaries on him. I don't understand why he consentrates on "Funny Face". This is a much better film.
"The Pajama Game" is a terrific musical and I'm sorry more people don't know about it. The movie was so successfully "opened up" from its Broadway origins that it's hard to believe it actually once was a stage play. Credit Midwestern location shooting, fluid direction and camera work, and Bob Fosse's incredible choreography. His "Once a Year Day" production number is a standout, as he gets the cast to dance on a lumpy grass hillside doing steps that would be difficult for most troupes to perform on the flat wooden boards of 42nd Street.
The central conflict in the work is between "Babe" the union representative (Doris Day) and the new superintendant (John Raitt, Bonnie's father, a well-known Broadway actor at this time but almost unknown to film). Secondary leads/comic relief are provided by Eddie Foy Jr. and the incomparable Carol Haney (who was also a marvelous specialty dancer and died tragically young in the Sixties). Best-known hits from the show are probably "Hey There," and "Hernando's Hideway," which is performed almost entirely by matchlight--or at least that's the illusion it gives.
Studio-wise, this Warner Bros. confection is truly the kind of flick they don't make anymore, yet somehow "The Pajama Game," despite its struggle over a seven-and-a-half-cent raise, remains fresh to me. Possibly that's because the show is so exuberant and the tunes so universal in popularity ("Hernando's Hideaway," for example, is a tango), that this movie is much more watchable than more "sophisticated" films from the late 1950s. For D.Day fans, this is a must, as it is for lovers of musicals; I think people who like good movies in general will probably be pleased if they take a chance on this sterling production.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Warner Bros DVD release of Pajama Game (red cover, yellow "The Pajama Game") is FAR SUPERIOR to the Westlake Entertainment Group Release (blue cover, yellow... Read morePublished 2 days ago by TeeGeeRoo
This has been an all time favorite of mine since I was a teenager, over 40 years. I hadn't found it anywhere to I found it looking for a different.Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
met all expectations - the music is even relevant for today's attack on unionsPublished 1 month ago by Theo Hendricks
Haven't had time to watch this yet, but love Doris Day movies!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Product was defective. DVD would stop playing after some 40 minutes, multiple times.Published 4 months ago by Howiesas
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