The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)

85 mins | Musical | January 1947

Director:

George Seaton

Writer:

George Seaton

Producer:

William Perlberg

Cinematographer:

Leon Shamroy

Editor:

Robert Simpson

Production Designers:

James Basevi, Boris Leven

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

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at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio purchased the rights to "Miss Pilgrim's Progress," an unpublished, uncopyrighted story by Ernest and Frederica Maas, in Oct 1939 for $8,000.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       For the film's songs, Ira Gershwin put lyrics to unpublished melodies written by his brother George, who had died in 1937.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. HR 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 ... More Less

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at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio purchased the rights to "Miss Pilgrim's Progress," an unpublished, uncopyrighted story by Ernest and Frederica Maas, in Oct 1939 for $8,000.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. HR 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 Dec 1945, John Stahl filled in for director George Seaton, who had a severe cold. According to a 3 Jan 1946 HR 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. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Jan 1947.
---
Daily Variety
31 Dec 46
p. 11.
Film Daily
2 Jan 47
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 45
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 45
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 45
p. 3, 16
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 46
p. 8
Independent Film Journal
5 Jan 46
p. 38.
International Photographer
Aug 1946.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Jan 47
p. 3397.
New York Times
12 Feb 47
p. 34.
Variety
1 Jan 47
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Countess Elektra Rosanska
Vic Potel
Walter "Spec" O'Donnell
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Fill-In dir
Fill-In dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Wrt for the screen by
From a story by
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus supv
Assoc mus dir
Orch arr
Orch arr
Orch arr
Orch arr
SOUND
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Transparencies
Transparencies
Transparencies
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Mus asst to Ira Gershwin
Research dir
Research asst
STAND INS
Singing voice for Allyn Joslyn
Singing voice for Charles Kemper
Singing voice for Anne Revere
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc
SOURCES
SONGS
"Sweet Packard," "Changing My Tune," "Stand Up and Fight," "Aren't You Kind of Glad We Did?" "But Not in Boston," "One, Two, Three," "Waltzing Is Better Sitting Down" and "For You, For Me, Forever More," music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1947
Production Date:
mid November 1945--mid February 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1946
Copyright Number:
LP821
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in feet):
7,629
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11574
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 ... +


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. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.