The Pajama Game - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pajama Game Reviews

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½ December 31, 2017
Broadway musicals rarely get a transfer to the screen as exciting and faithful as this one; George Abbott and Stanley Donen co-directed this adaptation using Bob Fosse's choreography and most of the original Broadway cast, excluding Janis Paige, who was replaced by Doris Day. Hit songs included "Hey There," "Hernando's Hideaway," and "Steam Heat," the latter performed by the wonderful Carol Haney. Not to be missed.
July 25, 2016
This is a famous movie. I like to see this film ?? into this pyjamas factory in America.
½ July 17, 2015
Colorful, fun and great Fosse choreography, the PJ Game is everything a 1950's musical should be. Day is outstanding and not as classically stylized as her later performances became. Raitt is a powerful singer but a bit stilted on camera. The real stars are Haney and Foy and the production of Steam Heat is incredible.
½ July 19, 2014
Just love watching Doris. A wonderful actress and she lights up a room with her smile. Never get bored watching her movies over and over.
March 22, 2014
Good golly, why is this amazingly entertaining musical never mentioned in the same conversation as Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris? It's every bit as wonderful and, dare I say, even more fun. It may not be on the same scale as all the MGM extravaganzas of yore, but directors Stanley Donen and George Abbot made the small budget work in their favor by being clever with the design and camera movements. Not to mention, Doris Day is superb in her no-nonsense, no-schmaltz role.
½ January 31, 2014
Lame. Not very impressed with Doris Day at all.
½ September 7, 2013
ONCE A YEAR DAY IS GREAT
½ May 11, 2013
I hate romance movies. But there are still better ones that I've seen than this
May 1, 2013
It was ok. I'm just not a big Dorris Day fan I guess
March 1, 2013
A Union With Doris Day Can't Be Communist!

This is one of those rare shows--one I've seen live. Oh, it was a very long time ago. Eighth grade, if I remember correctly. The Pasadena Civic Auditorium gave out tickets to a couple of shows that year; the school music programs around town were, I guess, used as audience filler on weeknights once or twice. I also, if I remember correctly, saw Rex Harrison's son in [i]My Fair Lady[/i]. Obviously, the version of [i]The Pajama Game[/i] didn't star Doris Day, or even one of her relatives. However, I do remember enjoying it, and I'm pretty sure it's one that Mom liked quite a lot. At any rate, she didn't dislike it enough to complain about a show she'd gotten to see for free, which counts for something. Actually, I think Mom liked it even before we saw it. It would not, in fact, surprise me to know that she had seen the movie when she wasn't much older than I was when we saw the show.

All the various main characters work at the Sleeptite Pajama Factory. A new supervisor, Sid Sorokin (John Raitt), has just been hired. He ends up meeting the union's grievance committee, which is one person--Katherine "Babe" Williams (Doris Day). They fall for one another in the ridiculously rapid way of musicals. The only problem is, she's union and he's management. He has been hired in the middle of conflict between the union and company owner Myron Hasler (Ralph Dunn). The union wants the seven-and-a-half-cent hourly raise that other garment manufacturers in the area have gotten, and Hasler doesn't want to give it to them. They call for a slowdown. Sid threatens to fire people. Babe breaks her sewing machine, then cops to it; Sid has to fire her. Only Sid thinks the difficulties between management and labour are bad for everyone, so he's trying to find a way around it. And if they can rehire Babe, that wouldn't be too bad, either.

I don't get to be surprised by treatment of women in things from this era anymore; I know that. However, the relationship between Gladys Hotchkiss (Carol Haney), the boss's secretary, and Vernon "Hinesie" Hines (Eddie Foy, Jr.), the timekeeper, makes me decidedly uncomfortable. Okay, so he's jealous all the time for no good reason. (To emphasize the "no good reason" part, more recent versions have given the number "Steam Heat" to Mae [here Thelma Pelish] instead; she also has a reason to be at a union rally.) This is a thing that happens. But I think everyone is a little too comfortable with the fact that he's throwing knives at her. I mean, no, they're not actually comfortable with it, but the closest we ever get to an indication that maybe someone should file charges is at the end, when they are shown wearing matching striped pajamas that look like the clothes we think prisoners wear. It isn't even as though Gladys is the only one in danger. It's hard to believe much of anyone would be so forgiving just because Gladys stayed with him.

It could be just me, but I also find it somewhat surprising that we have a movie (and before it, as I said, a musical) that wholeheartedly endorses the union. It's sad that Babe and Sid split up through the middle of the story over the conflict between management and labour, but Babe isn't shown as in the wrong. Oh, neither is Sid, but still. What the union fights for is important--and, in case you miss the heavy foreshadowing, it's not as though management is completely blameless in the situation. It's implied that labour would be willing to cooperate, but that really does take both sides, and for much of the story, management won't even sit down at the table. Yes, we do get the lesson that none of these people would get by if they didn't have the jobs the company provides, but we also know that the company would fail if it didn't have the workers. It's impressive, really; the whole thing is shown as a two-way street, and that's still unusual, much less in 1957.

I have seen worse Doris Day musicals. I'm not sure I would go out of my way to watch this again, but then, I didn't exactly go out of my way to see it this time, either. I think it's a historical curiosity, but for all my love of the genre, this is just a poor example. To be perfectly honest, I don't think the '50s were the best decade for musicals. I know--you're going to mention [i]The King and I[/i]. If you're an utter theatre geek, you may even point out that [i]The Sound of Music[/i] had its Broadway debut in 1959. And, of course, there's [i]My Fair Lady[/i] in 1956. Well, guess what? I don't like [i]The King and I[/i] or even [i]The Sound of Music[/i]. (I guess you've mostly got me on [i]My Fair Lady[/i].) However, I think the problem here is that it was such a [i]tame[/i] decade in so many ways. Yes, okay, [i]West Side Story[/i] opened in 1957. But in a way, that's my point. There's a lot to that show that I love, but it's still a relatively tame telling of its story. As Sondheim--and Bob Fosse, whose first choreography was for this--came into his own, musicals were allowed to have depth again.
½ February 6, 2013
A fun musical though not the best out there. The film is alive with vibrant colour, catchy songs and fantastic performances. Thoroughly enjoyable if you enjoy musicals.
September 7, 2012
I want all of the girls dresses!!!!!!! it made me jealous watching......
Besides that the movie was good, but not amazing, it was funny, but i think maybe it was missing a little something.
July 24, 2012
Doris Day is really cute in this. It is not one of my favorite musicals but it has it's good points, like Steam Heat and Hernando's Hideaway. I'm somewhat sad that there is not more signature Fosse choreography but overall the dance and movie are fun.
June 18, 2012
I like the catchy tunes to "The Pajama Game," but it's a struggle to get past that overwhelming sensation of "This is so dumb..." A common excuse is that the storyline is dated but it's more than that. The characters come off as really dorky and I failed to form a connection with any of them. Remember that this is solely regarding the 1957 film version and not the show in general. Many of my disappointments were a result of seeing particular musical numbers done well in a live performance, much better than in this film version. It is hard to believe that with all of these Hollywood resources, this film could fall so far short of its potential. It just feels hastily thrown together. I love Doris Day but this is far from her finest role. The romantic chemistry between the main characters feels forced and ingenuine. Reta Shaw is a classic character actress and her performance of "I'll Never Be Jealous Again" with Eddie Foy Jr. really shines, becoming a high point for the film. But then the show-stopping numbers like "Steam Heat" and "Hernando's Hideaway" are just "blah." If you want to enjoy "The Pajama Game," seek out a quality live performance because this film will remove your desire to ever see it again. Sorry, Doris - I still love you!
½ November 23, 2011
Look, I really enjoy the score of THE PAJAMA GAME (although I'm never sure whether I prefer DAMN YANKEES or not), the cast is lovely (although Carol Haney comes out on top by a long shot and I was not fully convinced by Doris Day's efforts) and, of course, the Fosse choreography is fantastic - in fact, "Steam Heat" is probably the best part of the film, which - taken as a whole - only sporadically springs to life and does not come anywhere near to being a satisfying, coherent whole. With so many elements in place, where did things go wrong? Well, George Abbott and Stanley Donen quite simply did a second rate job in directing the film, which is partly why I think Day (the only principle who had not appeared in the Broadway production) does not sit comfortably in her role; the other problem is the choice of studio - Warner Brothers. Was Warner Brothers ever responsible for a good stage to screen adaptation? I am really beginning to doubt it.
November 13, 2011
A musical about unions and workers' right to fair pay! What's not to like? Plus, the heroine sticks to her principles and doesn't knuckle under. Yep, I like this movie.
August 14, 2011
Värikäs ja ihan hauskakin mutta laulunumerot aika hirveitä, liian pitkiä ja täysin irrallisia.
July 29, 2011
One of the better Doris Day vehicles! It has good music and acting, not to mention direction and choreography!
July 4, 2011
I can't believe I've never seen this film until now. Fosse's "Steam Heat" is a revelation - every part of the dance is unbelievable and surprising and completely unique. Doris Day, John Raitt, and Carol Haney, and the rest of the cast, are superb.
April 10, 2011
I saw this movie mainly to see the fashions for research for a current movie project I"m on. The fashions here were highly stylized with flamboyant colors, etc. This movie did clue me in to the talent of Doris Day, but the stagy manner this was directed was repellent. Plus the only good song here is "Hernando's Hideaway."
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