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They Knew What They Wanted (1940)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  19 October 1940 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 247 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 4 critic

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 »

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(screenplay), (from the Pulitzer Prize Play by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
William Gargan ...
Joe
...
The doctor
Frank Fay ...
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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screen debut of Karl Malden. See more »

Quotes

Tony Patucci: Looka me, Tony!
See more »

Connections

Version of Great Performances: The Most Happy Fella (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Tesoro Mio
(uncredited)
Music by Ernesto Becucci
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User Reviews

 
Charles not in charge
29 November 2002 | by (Whitechapel after dark) – See all my reviews

Charles Laughton goes sort of over the top in this little movie. The plot is reminiscent of "Postman Always Rings Twice", i.e. sweet lil' immigrant meets girl & loses girl to employee, but without James M Cain's violence. Laughton's Tony really is a most happy fella, & Lombard is as usual, steamy. Totally by chance, I happened to do a double bill of this and the 1935 Mutiny On The Bounty. I should have added Ruggles Of Red Gap, Hunchback, Hobson's Choice, and Witness For The Prosecution for a total Laughton immersion. This was filmed on location in an incredibly rural Napa Valley, and if you're familiar with Napa Valley, you may recognize what is now the Calistoga Inn/Napa Valley Brewing as Tony's local cantina/bar. I'd like to see a cleaned up version of this, as the print I saw was verrry dark. Good little movie.


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