Released in 1957, The Pajama Game allows Doris Day to showcase both her acting and singing talents. Taken from a 1954 stage show, director Stanley Donne combines light comedy and music to create an enjoyable confection. At Iowa’s Sleeptite Pajama Factory, company VP Myron Hasler (Ralph Dunn) brings in Sid Sirokin (John Raitt) to negotiate a new contract with the workers.
Sid finds himself pitted against union representative Katie “Babe” Williams (Day). As these two clash over a 7 and 1/2 cent raise, it becomes clear that the two are falling in love. While we know the ending just minutes in, how we get there is the fun. Directed by musical veteran Stanley Donen, the proceedings are as energetic as you would expect, if a little light on plot. A host of memorable songs, and a strong performance by Day has made The Pajama Game a favorite of many. For me, things are still to dull to rank this among Donen’s best.
The hit filled score tries hard to cover any plot deficiencies and nearly succeeds. However, one can’t help but notice the lip service paid to the weighty topic of labor vs. management. While this isn’t Norma Rae, giving the topic a bit more weight would make for a more interesting story.
Plot issues aside, Richard Adler and Jerry Ross provide a number of musical standards including “Hey There,” “Once-a-Year Day,” “I’m Not at All in Love,” “Hernando’s Hideaway” and the infectious “Steam Heat.” They are all performed with panache. The choreography by Bob Fosse makes every number memorable. Smartly, Fosse showcases Carol Haney (who was in the Broadway show) who brings some genuine sizzle to the proceedings. Musical buffs undoubtedly remember Haney’s sexy partnership with Fosse on “From This Moment On,” from Kiss Me Kate.
Doris Day shines vocally, delivering each song with her customary verve. Whey jet belting something out, or resorting to a soft purr, her voice control is outstanding. In his only film appearance, Broadway veteran John Raitt exudes confidence and understated machismo,
For fans of The Pajama Game, Warner Archive’s Blu-ray will be a welcome addition to any collection,
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, this transfer looks terrific. Aside from some softness during the title card, the image is clear and tight. Grain is light but natural. There are no significant print flaws and colors are surprisingly bright.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack doesn’t provide anything spectacular, but speech comes across well for the films age. Music could have sounded a bit crisper but sounds natural.
English subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Deleted Song (HD, 3:02) “The Man Who Invented Love”
The Pajama Game (1957)
Movie title: The Pajama Game
Duration: 101 min
Director(s): Stanley Donen, George Abbott
Actor(s): Doris Day, John Raitt, Carol Haney, Reta Shaw, Barbara Nichols, Eddie Foy, Jr.
Genre: Musical, Romance, Comedy