Judge Brett Cullum finds a film that manages not to showcase Grable's gams.
Our review of The Pleasure Seekers / Three Little Girls in Blue / The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, published April 9th, 2015, is also available.
There's not much more to this film…than meets the eye.
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim isn't all that shocking; in fact, it's a middle of the road picture from 1947 that simply meanders good-naturedly along without much fuss. It was a showcase for Betty Grable (The Gay Divorcee), but not one where she used her trademark bombshell image. The studio darkened her hair and kept her trademark legs mostly covered, save for one or two coy shots in a long skirt. She plays a liberated female typist in the late 19th century who is a little feisty but basically polite and good humored. She comes to Boston to work as a typist at a time when women were not welcome in the workplace, and that's what is so shocking about her. She becomes a reluctant champion of the suffragette movement, and also catches the eye of her employer, played by Dick Haymes (State Fair). Throughout the film are some nice Gershiwn songs, but the plot just gently moves along in predictable fashion.
Being part of 20th Century Fox's "Cinema Archives" collection means that this disc is printed on demand, and comes as a DVR when you make a purchase. The transfer is just okay, probably the best the film can look given the low budget format. Colors are nice and saturated in the hyper style one expects from the 1947 Technicolor process. Sometimes it looks painted, but for the most part hues are attractive. Detail is a bit soft and some shots look downright blurry. Aliasing happens anytime someone is wearing plaid, and there is some print damage that shows up now and again. Sound is a simple mono, and it is hiss and distortion free. There are no extras, and the chapter stops just amount to skipping forward ten minutes at a time.
Betty Grable fans should be happy to be able to grab this gentle musical comedy to complete their collections, but I can't imagine many others will want to seek out The Shocking Miss Pilgrim. Gershwin aficionados will simply find some passable songs, but nothing major. The film hardly lives up to its lurid title, but I imagine 1947 was a simpler time when women were still fighting for the right to vote. Fox offers this as a DVR product without frills, but that should be fine for the target audience.
Guilty of being a nice little Betty Grable flick that is more forgettable than shocking.
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