6.4/10
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8 user 6 critic

They Knew What They Wanted (1940)

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:

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

Screen debut of Tom Ewell. See more »

Quotes

The Doctor: Lady, the things I don't know, you could herd like cows.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Ricca Ricca
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Roy Webb
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Laughton does his Chico Marx impression
19 January 2013 | by malcolmgswSee 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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