USA Today - 03/30/1990
"...Bob Fosse did the splendid choreography....There's a good number every 10 minutes..."
Pajamas, love, singing, and labor union vs. management conflicts create the colorful basis of THE PAJAMA GAME, based on the Broadway musical. Chock-full of musical numbers and romantic subplots, the real story is the seven-and-a-half-cents-per-hour raise the pajama factory workers are demanding to keep their salaries comparable with other garment workers' pay. Sid (John Raitt), the new superintendent of the factory, pushes both himself and the workers hard in order to prove himself to the owner, but a visit by the union grievances committee in the form of lovely but tough Babe (Doris Day) brings out his softer, romantic side. Despite their love, Babe warns Sid that the union-management turmoil will cause problems for them too, and Sid has to juggle his job, his heart, and his conscience to find a solution that will solve everything.
Description by Warner Home Video:
Labor and management at the Sleeptite Pajama Factory aren't getting much sleep lately: a proposed 7-1/2-cent hourly wage increase is the reason and a job action just may be the result. But not to worry: negotiating strategies here involve snappy stars, terrific tunes and dynamic dances, all part of one of the most infectiously joyful stage/screen musicals ever.
Doris Day and a Broadway-seasoned supporting cast play The Pajama Game, the lighthearted, nimble-footed movie that whips the unlikely musical-comedy subject of a labor/management dispute into a buoyant, romantic delight. Day is Babe Williams, head of the employees' grievance committee, who strikes sparks with shop superintendent Sid Sorokin (John Raitt in his only opportunity to play on of his stage triumph on film). And where there are sparks, "Steam Heat" results.
For the songs by Damn Yankees duo Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and the choreography by Bob Fosse (Cabaret, Sweet Charity) are too combustible to pass up, all under the direction of two musical masters of stage and screen, George Abbott and Stanley Donen. Besides "Steam Heat" (showcasing the quirky brilliance of dancer Carol Haney), catch "Hey There," "I'm Not at All in Love," "Hernando's Hideaway," "Small Talk," "Once-a-Year Day," "There Once Was a Man" and other all-time greats.
Labor representative Babe and pajama-factory superintendent Sid lock horns in THE PAJAMA GAME over a pay raise demanded by the factory workers. The sparks they strike soon start fires of romance despite their antagonistic positions at work. When Sid is forced to fire Babe during a work slowdown, their problems seem insurmountable, but Sid thinks he can find the key to the solution. Every character seems to have his or her own song in this film based on the Broadway musical; Sid and Babe's "There Once Was a Man" is especially engaging.
Big Business |
Essential Cinema |
The Broadway production of THE PAJAMA GAME was directed by George Abbott and Jerome Robbins. George Abbott codirected the film version with Stanley Donen.
Pioneer choreographer Bob Fosse designed the dance numbers.
Several actors from the Broadway cast reprised their stage roles for the film, including John Raitt and Carol Haney. Doris Day replaced Janis Paige, the show's female lead, onscreen.
French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard dubbed THE PAJAMA GAME "the first left-wing operetta."
John Raitt is the father of multi-Grammy-winning recording artist Bonnie Raitt.