The Shocking Miss Pilgrim


1h 25m 1947
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim

Brief Synopsis

In the late 1800s, Miss Pilgrim, a young stenographer, or typewriter, becomes the first female employee at a Boston shipping office. Although the men object to her at first, she soon charms them all, especially the handsome young head of the company. Their romance gets sidetracked when she becomes involved in the Women's Suffrage movement.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,629ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

In 1874, at the Packard Business College in New York, Cynthia Pilgrim is the top student of the first graduating class of "typewriters." The Remington Co., maker of the new typewriting machines, has promised each graduate a job, and lots are drawn for the positions. Cynthia lands a job in Boston with the Pritchard Shipping Co. Upon arriving there, she encounters an office filled with men, tobacco smoke and a particularly unwelcoming office manager, Mr. Saxon. When Cynthia introduces herself to the young co-owner of the company, John Pritchard, he tells her that he was under the impression that all expert "type writers" were men and it is his policy to hire only men. Cynthia tells him that he is very old-fashioned, and that she wants an opportunity to prove that women are just as efficient as men. John is unwavering in his resolve and offers Cynthia her return fare to New York. As Cynthia complains to Mr. Saxon, Alice, John's aunt, arrives in the office and becomes involved in the situation. An ardent suffragette, Alice has controlling interest in the company and insists to John that Cynthia be given a chance. Cynthia starts work and soon charms the male clerks. After being rebuffed by two snobbish landladies, Cynthia finally finds lodging at Catherine Dennison's house, where she joins an eclectic group of "outcasts" who despise Boston and its mores. Her companions include Leander Woolsey, a poet; Michael Michael, a painter; Herbert Jothan, a musician; and Viola Simmons, a lady who is rewriting the dictionary to assign new meanings to words. Aunt Alice invites Cynthia to attend a suffragette meeting, but Cynthia considers that the wrong approach; she became a typist to show that women can do men's work, and believes that if equality can be achieved in various fields, suffrage will be a natural conclusion. Alice feels that Cynthia is just what the movement needs. John, on the other hand, still thinks that a woman's place is at home. John invites Cynthia to dinner but, remembering her business college training, she declines to socialize with her employer. John does, however, escort her to one of Alice's rallies, where she is an immediate hit. Later, she does permit John to take her to supper at the Parker House. A few days pass and Cynthia receives a letter from John's mother inviting her to dine with them on the evening of a Regimental Ball. Cynthia feels that Mrs. Pritchard and her social circle will probably be terrible snobs. Her rooming house companions then give her some coaching on how to "behave" and she practices the delivery of insulting remarks. However, John's socialite mother turns out to be not at all snobbish, admires Cynthia and encourages her to keep working. Mrs. Pritchard has even bought a typewriting machine. She tells John he would be an idiot to lose Cynthia but he informs her that he has competition, the Boston Chapter of the New England Womens' Suffrage League. The courtship continues, however, and John and Cynthia become engaged. Later, when he objects to her continued involvement in the suffrage movement, Cynthia says that in the past three months, she has persuaded over four hundred women to go out to work, and insists that she cannot suddenly abandon the cause. John and Cynthia break their engagement and she is replaced in the office by, in rapid succession, three male and three female typists from a new school in Boston. Even grumpy Mr. Saxon admits to missing Cynthia and wants John to accompany him to the school to select yet another candidate. When John is asked by a school official if he has any objection to employing a married woman, he replies that he has come to the conclusion that women are perfectly entitled to work if they want to. Becoming suspicious of the nature of the school's requirements for employers, John goes to see its general manager, who turns out to be none other than Cynthia. Finally, they are reunited in business as well as love.

Cast

Betty Grable

Cynthia Pilgrim

Dick Haymes

John Pritchard

Anne Revere

Alice Pritchard

Allyn Joslyn

Leander Woolsey

Gene Lockhart

Saxon

Elizabeth Patterson

Catherine Dennison

Elisabeth Risdon

Mrs. Pritchard

Arthur Shields

Michael Michael

Charles Kemper

Herbert Jothan

Roy Roberts

Mr. Foster

Stanley Prager

Lookout in office

Eddie Laughton

Quincy

Hal K. Dawson

Peabody

Lillian Bronson

Viola Simmons

Raymond Largay

Mr. Packard

Constance Purdy

Sarah Glidden

Mildred Stone

Susan Nixon

Pierre Watkin

Wendell Paige

Junius Matthews

Mr. Carter

Tom Moore

Office clerk

Douglas Gerrard

Office clerk

George Beranger

Office clerk

Jack Costello

Office clerk

Les Livingstone

Office clerk

Ed Mundy

Office clerk

Hank Worden

Office clerk

Bob Mccord

Office clerk

Sheldon Jett

Office clerk

Joseph Terry

Office clerk

Countess Elektra Rosanska

Singer

Karen X. Gaylord

Girl with red hair

Ruth Rickaby

Mrs. Thompson

Louis Dewitt

Sketch artist

Richard Shaw

Secretary

Saul Z. Martell

Orator

Tom Pilkington

Orator

John Sheehan

Vendor

Roxanne Stark

Boardinghouse keeper

Josephine Whittell

Boardinghouse keeper

Regina Wallace

Mother

Vic Potel

Speaker

Frank Dawson

Waiter

Mary Field

Teacher

Kay Riley

Teacher

Robert Cherry

Stenographer

Jeff Corey

Stenographer

Dorothy Neumann

Stenographer

Raisa

Stenographer

Kay Vallon

Stenographer

Barry Heenan

Stenographer

Bob Tidwell

Boy

Therese Lyon

Myrtle Ball

Catherine Courtney

Beatrice Maude

Helen Servis

Maxine Gates

Maxine Semon

Frank Wolfe

Ernie Baron

Perc Launders

Al Murphy

Frank Scannell

Dave Morris

George Melford

William Frambes

Walter "spec" O'donnell

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,629ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, the studio purchased the rights to "Miss Pilgrim's Progress," an unpublished, uncopyrighted story by Ernest and Frederica Maas, in October 1939 for $8,000. Several screenwriters worked on the project from 1940 on, the first of whom were Robert Ellis and Helen Logan. Subsequent writing teams included Darrell Ware and Karl Tunberg, as well as Samuel Hoffenstein and Betty Reinhardt. The extent of their contributions to the produced film has not been determined. Late in 1945, George Seaton wrote the version eventually produced.
       For the film's songs, Ira Gershwin put lyrics to unpublished melodies written by his brother George, who had died in 1937. "But Not in Boston" was published as "The Back Bay Polka." A "Tour of the Town" number was recorded and filmed by Dick Haymes and Betty Grable, but was dropped. A "Welcome Song," to be performed by Haymes and the clerks on Grable's arrival, was not used. The same situation appears to pertain to the song "Demon Rum." The Packard Business College of New York was an actual school that was well known in the 1870s and still existed in 1946 as The Packard School. Fox secured cooperation from them as well as from the Remington Museum, which supplied antique typewriters. Hollywood Reporter Production Charts list Coleen Gray, Margaret Bannerman and Susan Blanchard in the cast, but they are not in the completed film. Studio records also list Nina Gilbert, Robert Malcolm and Jane Nigh as playing Grable's parents and sister, respectively, but their sequence was cut before the film's release. Gene Lockhart replaced Porter Hall, who was injured in an auto accident. In early December 1945, John Stahl filled in for director George Seaton, who had a severe cold. According to a January 3, 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item, Edmund Goulding was assigned to complete the film after Seaton had to return to the hospital with an abscessed lung, the result of having returned to work too soon after a bout of pneumonia.