Shocking Miss Pilgrim, The (1947): George Seaton’s Musical Comedy, Starring Betty Grable

The Shocking Miss Pilgrim is a 1947 musical comedy in Technicolor written and directed by George Seaton, and starring Betty Grable and Dick Haymes.

The screenplay, based on a story by Frederica Sagor Maas and Ernest Maas, focuses on a young typist who becomes involved in the Women’s Suffrage movement in 1874. The songs were composed by George and Ira Gershwin. Marilyn Monroe made her film debut as an uncredited voice as a telephone operator.

Cynthia Pilgrim (Betty Grable), the top typewriting student of the first graduating class of the Packard Business College in New York, is offered a position with the Pritchard Shipping Company in Boston. There, she finds an office of men overseen by office manager Mr. Saxon (Gene Lockhart).

Company co-owner John Pritchard (Dick Haymes) tells her he thought all expert typists were male and his policy is to hire only men. Cynthia asks for opportunity to prove she’s as efficient as her male counterparts, but John refuses and offers her train fare back to New York.

Meanwhile, John’s Aunt Alice (Anne Revere), an avowed suffragette with controlling interest in the company, insists that Cynthia be given a chance. Cynthia stays at Catherine Dennison’s (Elizabeth Patterson) boarding house, where she meets an eclectic group of tenants, including poet Leander Woolsey (Allyn Joslyn), artist Michael Michael (Arthur Shields), and musician Herbert Jothan (Charles Kemper).

John begins to date Cynthia, and eventually they become engaged. He tries to persuade her to give up her involvement in the suffrage movement, but she cannot abandon such a worthy cause. They break their engagement and she is fired from her job, but none of the people hired by Mr. Saxon to replace her please Mr. Pritchard.

John goes in desperation to a local school to find yet another candidate for the position. Upon discovering there that Cynthia is its general manager, the two are reunited in business and in love.