Doris Day's a Babe in Pajamas
For those who love full on musicals, those which are colourful, vibrant affairs packed to the hilt with song and dance scenes will find Doris Day's "The Pajama Game" right up their street. But then for those like me who enjoy musicals where the song and dance is used to tell an entertaining story will probably find "The Pajama Game" a little weak on the story front because quite frankly it is and all the wonderfully performed song and dance scenes can't disguise the lack of an interesting and engaging storyline.
With all the other local factories dishing out pay rises the employees of the Sleeptite Pajama Factory are after one themselves causing issues between their union and the factory manager Myron Hasler (Ralph Dunn). Things become even more sticky when new hunky shop superintendent Sid Sorkin (John Raitt) falls for union rep Babe Williams (Doris Day - The Man Who Knew Too Much) causing trouble when it comes to work and the demands for a pay rise.
So the big negative for me is that the storyline to "The Pajama Game" is both slim and weak, a romance between a factory superintendent and the union rep who is leading her fellow workers in getting a pay rise is about the sum of it all. Of course there are the usual deliberations and issues when it comes to the romance, it wouldn't be a movie if romance was easy and there are the threats of sackings and strikes but there is nothing what so ever which is really meaty when it comes to the storyline. Of course for some this won't be an issue because "The Pajama Game" is an all out musical but it makes it all feel a little pointless, especially as the outcome is completely predictable.
But then as a musical "The Pajama Game" certainly has a lot of fun, vibrant song and dance scenes almost bordering on too many as barely a few minutes pass before one follows another. In many ways it's thanks to the expert choreography of Bob Fosse and that many of the actors and actresses which appear in the movie also appeared in the stage version that it all comes together to be so entertaining. From the song and dance at the annual works picnic, the various moments on the factory floor and those scenes between Doris Day and John Raitt they are all well worked, although quite strangely being a Doris Day movie many of the more memorable song and dance scenes feature Carol Haney.
What is nice though is compared to Doris Day's earlier musicals such as "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" she gets to play a more grown up role and not the overly nice young woman. We get a more icy performance from Doris Day as Union rep Katherine 'Babe' Williams and the harshness makes her a much more interesting character. Alongside Day is John Raitt as Sid Sorokin the tough new superintendent of the Sleeptite Pajama factory and whilst his impressive baritone voice makes for pleasant listening the chemistry between Raitt and Day doesn't really materialise.
Funnily though Carol Haney who plays secretary Gladys Hotchkiss nearly steals the movie with her wonderful comedic performance often accompanied by the equally comical Eddie Foy Jr. working so well together.
What this all boils down to is that for those who love musicals crammed full of song and dance moments will more than likely find themselves being entertained by the vibrant "The Pajama Game". But for me it lacked an interesting storyline to really tie it all together and make it more than just some fun song and dance scenes.