"The Pajama Game" is a terrific musical and I'm sorry more people don't know about it. The movie was so successfully "opened up" from its Broadway origins that it's hard to believe it actually once was a stage play. Credit Midwestern location shooting, fluid direction and camera work, and Bob Fosse's incredible choreography. His "Once a Year Day" production number is a standout, as he gets the cast to dance on a lumpy grass hillside doing steps that would be difficult for most troupes to perform on the flat wooden boards of 42nd Street.
The central conflict in the work is between "Babe" the union representative (Doris Day) and the new superintendant (John Raitt, Bonnie's father, a well-known Broadway actor at this time but almost unknown to film). Secondary leads/comic relief are provided by Eddie Foy Jr. and the incomparable Carol Haney (who was also a marvelous specialty dancer and died tragically young in the Sixties). Best-known hits from the show are probably "Hey There," and "Hernando's Hideway," which is performed almost entirely by matchlight--or at least that's the illusion it gives.
Studio-wise, this Warner Bros. confection is truly the kind of flick they don't make anymore, yet somehow "The Pajama Game," despite its struggle over a seven-and-a-half-cent raise, remains fresh to me. Possibly that's because the show is so exuberant and the tunes so universal in popularity ("Hernando's Hideaway," for example, is a tango), that this movie is much more watchable than more "sophisticated" films from the late 1950s. For D.Day fans, this is a must, as it is for lovers of musicals; I think people who like good movies in general will probably be pleased if they take a chance on this sterling production.