Jane Osgood runs a lobster business, which supports her two young children. Railroad staff inattention ruins her shipment, so with her lawyer George, Jane sues Harry Foster Malone, director of the line and the "meanest man in the world".
Employees of the Sleeptite Pajama Factory are looking for a whopping seven-and-a-half cent an hour increase and they won't take no for an answer. Babe Williams is their feisty employee representative but she may have found her match in shop superintendent Sid Sorokin. When the two get together they wind up discussing a whole lot more than job actions! Written by
Even with three numbers from the Broadway production missing, and even with some lyrics sanitized for middle-America, "The Pajama Game" remains one of the most successful stage-to-screen transitions. Except for Doris Day stepping in for Janis Paige, all the principals of the Broadway production are also aboard. You can compare for yourself Day's performance to Paige's (if you can get your hands on the original cast recording) but it's not hard to understand the producers' choice to go with at least one movie box office name. In old man Hasler's words, it's a "COMPROMISE!"
"The Pajama Game" is (with one unfortunate exception) unapologetically stagy. And why apologize? By keeping the feel of a stage production the movie preserves the flavor of the performances. Reta Shaw and Eddie Foy Jr. team up for a winning soft shoe routine in "I'll Never Be Jealous Again." "Racing With the Clock" benefits from dolly shots that open up the number without closing out the visual ironies.
The unfortunate exception is "Once a Year Day," which takes to the not-so-great outdoors to destroy a once-great production number. The legendary Bob Fosse choreography is badly served by a multiplicity of camera angles that actually dilute the dancing. Oh, well.
Luckily, there is "Steam Heat," completely undiluted, offering Fosse as one of the dancers.
I am now about to make myself feel very old by saying (oh, dear): They don't make 'em like this anymore. But, you see, they can't because Broadway doesn't make 'em like this anymore except in revival. Wait, let me sing it:
"The nostalgia game/ is the game I'm in/ And I'm proud to be/ in the nostalgia game/ I love it..."
And I love this movie. Don't miss it if you can.
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