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The Pajama Game
USA 1957
Directed by George Abbott / Stanley Donen
Running time 101 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


Although not one of the great stage or film musicals, The Pajama Game is a consistently solid effort. The story of a pay dispute at a pajama factory and the romance between its managing superintendent (John Raitt) and its union rep (Doris Day) it moves along at a fair clip with brilliantly colourful set and costume design, impressive choreography by Bob Fosse and string songs by Richard Adler and Jerry Rosa, many of which, such as “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again” and "7½ Cents" (the title of the novel by Richard Bissell which was the source material for the book by he and Abbott) work well with the storyline. There are also some stand alone numbers wh9ich have gone on to become standards including “Hernando’s Hideaway” and “Hey There”.

John Raitt is not the most charismatic of leads but he can sing, Carol Haney adds some dancing zest with her “Steam Heat” number a stand-out and don’t be put off by the name of Doris Day, the only main cast member not in the original Broadway production, in the lead. Although a good deal more polished than her boisterous turn in Calamity Jane (1953) she is a fine singer and her character is not yet the sanitized stereotype that she would come to be known as in the '60s. There is a running gag with Eddie Foy Jr. as a knife-throwing foreman that falls as flat as a pancake but overall there is more good than bad to be said of this now little produced musical.

 

 

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