6.5/10
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They Knew What They Wanted (1940)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 19 October 1940 (USA)
Tony (Charles Laughton), a successful but illiterate middle-aged grape farmer, sends the photograph of his handsome young foreman, Joe (William Gargan), instead of his own, hoping to woo ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (from the Pulitzer Prize Play by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
William Gargan ...
Joe
...
The doctor
...
Father McKee
Joseph E. Bernard ...
The R.F.D. (as Joe Bernard)
Janet Fox ...
Mildred
Lee Tung Foo ...
Ah Gee, the Cook (as Lee Tung-Foo)
...
Red
Victor Kilian ...
The photographer
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Storyline

Tony (Charles Laughton), a successful but illiterate middle-aged grape farmer, sends the photograph of his handsome young foreman, Joe (William Gargan), instead of his own, hoping to woo and marry Amy (Carole Lombard), a waitress in a San Francisco restaurant. Through a series of letters, the two become close and Tony invites his "future wife" to visit. When the beautiful, young Amy arrives at Tony's Napa, California ranch she falls for the wrong man thinking that Joe is the wealthy Tony. When Tony tries to win her over in broken English, she is at first furious and then charmed. But Tony breaks his legs while showing off to impress Amy, and -- left alone to care for a cripple -- she reluctantly succumbs to Joe's charms and becomes pregnant. Although Tony discovers that he has been cuckolded and that Joe has run off, his anger turns to genuine love and he offers to take Amy back unconditionally for the sake of the child and his own true feelings for Amy. Written by E. Summer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You have seen great motion pictures! We believe you have not seen a greater motion picture than this!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 October 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sabían lo que querían  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Broadway production of "They Knew What They Wanted" by Sidney Howard opened on November 24, 1924 at the Garrick Theater, ran for 192 performances and won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1925. See more »

Quotes

Tony Patucci: Looka me, Tony!
See more »

Connections

Remake of The Secret Hour (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fideles
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Roy Webb
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User Reviews

 
Laughton does his Chico Marx impression
19 January 2013 | by (london) – See all my reviews

I can only assume that before he started out in the role he asked the RKO excutives to run "Room Service" so that he could perfect his Chico Marx impression for this film.He wears a black curly wig not unsimilar to Marx,and apart from the fact that he does not play the piano he does everything else.So little wonder that this film had a very tortured production costing over $850000 and posting a loss of over $200000.It is difficult to understand why Laughton did these sort of films.He made some great films in the 1930s however he went to Hollywood more or less for good in 1939 and almost ruined his career in the 1940s withs some awful films.Lombard is fine but unbelievable as the waitress and Fay dreadful as the priest.


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