|John Raitt & Doris Day.|
Sparks fly between the two, even though Babe tries to feign a lack of interest in Sid (while the other female employees gush about him). However, it's not long before loves blossoms. But can a company executive and a labor leader find middle ground on the road to marital bliss?
This 1957 adaptation of the Tony Award-winning 1954 stage musical features some good songs, energetic dancing, and a rare opportunity to see famed Broadway choreographer Carol Haney in a featured role. However, it's also one of those movies where the parts never gel into a cohesive whole.
Part of the problem can be attributed to the producers' decision to trim a stage musical running over two hours to a 101-minute film. The result plays like a highlight reel with one musical number leading to another with little exposition. For example, Sid and Babe exchange a little dialogue, duet on some songs, and--presto!--they're in love. A little more story development would have done wonders.
Likewise, two of the film's most famous musical numbers--"Steam Heat" and "Hernando's Hideaway"--don't seem integrated into the plot. Its easier to justify the latter because at least it's a song about a nightclub where a scene takes place. But "Steam Heat" is presented as part of the entertainment at a union event that seems irrelevant to the rest of the movie.
|Haney, in the middle, for "Steam Heat."|
The Pajama Game was also John Raitt's only significant film appearance. Though his strong baritone voice serves him well, his on-screen acting is wooden and he and Doris Day exhibit little chemistry. Still, he continued to have great success on the stage and as a recording artist. And, yes, he is the father of singer Bonnie Raitt.
Doris Day was cast in the lead to provide the film with some star power. At one time, Frank Sinatra was attached to play the male lead with Janis Paige reprising her performance as Babe from the Broadway show. When Sinatra dropped out, John Raitt got the part and the female lead shifted to Doris.