6.4/10
322
8 user 6 critic

They Knew What They Wanted (1940)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 19 October 1940 (USA)
While courting a young woman by mail, a rich farmer sends a photograph of his foreman instead of his own, which leads to complications when she accepts his marriage proposal.

Director:

Garson Kanin

Writers:

Robert Ardrey (screenplay), Sidney Howard (from the Pulitzer Prize Play by)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Carole Lombard ... Amy Peters
Charles Laughton ... Tony Patucci
William Gargan ... Joe
Harry Carey ... The Doctor
Frank Fay ... Father McKee
Joseph E. Bernard Joseph E. Bernard ... The R.F.D. (as Joe Bernard)
Janet Fox Janet Fox ... Mildred
Lee Tung Foo Lee Tung Foo ... Ah Gee, the Cook (as Lee Tung-Foo)
Karl Malden ... Red
Victor Kilian 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:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

19 October 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sabían lo que querían See more »

Filming Locations:

Napa Valley, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 for Drama in 1925. See more »

Quotes

Tony Patucci: Looka me, Tony!
See more »

Connections

Version of A Lady to Love (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fideles
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Roy Webb
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Charles not in charge
29 November 2002 | by RondoHattonSee 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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