The Pajama Game Review

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Trouble begins brewing at the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory when Katie `Babe' Williams and her Grievance Committee demand a seven and a half per cent pay rise from new superintendant, Sid Sorokin. However, the feisty union rep's purpose is blunted when she falls for her adversary.


Lyricist Jerry Ross didn't see either of his Broadway hits with composer Richard Adler make it to the screen, as he died in 1955. However, the combination of co-directors George Abbott and Stanley Donen and choreographer Bob Fosse did him proud, as The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees were two of the freshest transfers that Hollywood produced as the movie musical slowly succumbed to the changing tastes of the rock era.

     Abbott and Richard Bissell had adapted the latter's novel, Seven and a Half Cents, in 1954 and it became one of the decade's longest-running stage successes. But while the bulk of the score and the majority of the cast were retained for the Warner Bros' version, Janis Paige was deemed too great a box-office risk and she was replaced by Doris Day, who was coming to the end of her studio contract and would use her feisty display here to relaunch herself at Universal as everyone's favourite female combatant in producer Ross Hunter's comic battles of the sexes.  

     However, the most inspired decision was the hiring of Stanley Donen, as Abbott's co-director, as his experience on the likes of On the Town and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers enabled him to open out the stage numbers without losing their intimacy. Moreover, he also knew how to harness Harry Stradling's camera to Bob Fosse's choreography and the exuberance of outdoor numbers like `Once-a-Year Day' contrasted splendidly with the eroticism of Carol Haney scintillating rendition of `Steam Heat'. He even tinkered with the running speeds during `Racing with the Clock', as the workers reduced their productivity to press their pay demands.  

        With Haney's `Hernando's Hideaway', Eddie Foy, Jr's `I'll Never Be Jealous Again' and Day's romantic duet with John Raitt, `Hey There', also among the showstoppers, this is an endlessly enjoyable entertainment, whose effortless ease belies the exhausting efforts of some consummate professionals at the top of their game.

Fun story and good songs, you can't ask much mroe from a musical.