Stanley Donen is surely the master (major or minor) of the musical? The Pajama Game exists to prove it. 'She' is the trade union delegate in a pyjama factory of which 'he' is a management executive. 'It' is the first left-wing operetta, quite skillfully filmed, for Donen sticks to the Broadway conventions but pushes them to their utmost limits, which results in a rather eccentric and totally unrestrained work.
In Cabaret Fosse reinvents the movie musical, as well as the show he’s transporting to the screen. In The Pajama Game he mostly replicates the numbers from the stage production. But they’re marvelous numbers, and Donen uses the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and WarnerColor to give movie audiences the experience most of them couldn’t get on Broadway, with a more expansive glossy, deluxe look that makes it feel unmistakably like a Saturday night movie outing.
Film scholar Jane Feuer has argued that the Hollywood musical is a politically conservative genre, a notion challenged by the Warners musicals of the 30s, Bells Are Ringing (1969), and this exuberant, underrated 1957 movie. . . . Though the sexual politics are far from progressive, this is the sort of labor musical that inspired Jean-Luc Godard's admiration. Bob Fosse's airy choreography is terrific, and so is the score. . . . Stanley Donen directed with verve and energy.