Share

Watch It

On DVD: TBD | On Blu-ray: TBD

They Knew What They Wanted Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Like its predecessors, this third cinema version of Sidney Hoiward's Pulitzer Prize-winning play They Knew What They Wanted suffers from Hollywood censorship. Still, this story of the grim consequence of a misbegotten mail-order marriage has much to offer. Carole Lombard is superb as the waitress who lies about herself while carrying on a romance by correspondence with the Italian-born owner of a Napa Valley vineyard. Equally fine (if a shade too effusively hammy) is Charles Laughton as the grape grower, who also misrepresents himself in his letters, going so far as to pass off a photograph of handsome hired hand William Gargan as a picture of himself. Vowing to be loyal to her new husband Laughton, despite her distaste for him, Lombard nonetheless enters into an affair with Gargan. For the most part, the film moves along harmoniously. It falters only in the censor-dictated alterations (why is Lombard crying at the end?) and the horrendous performance by Frank Fay as a sanctimonious priest. Keep an eye peeled during the engagement party for a young, unbilled Karl Malden and Tom Ewell. Previous versions of They Knew What They Wanted included The Secret Hour (1928) and A Lady in Love (1930). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences William Gargan Best Supporting Actor 1940 Nominee

Cast

Carole Lombard
as Amy Peters
Charles Laughton
as Tony Patucci
William Gargan
as Foreman
Harry Carey
as Doctor
Karl Malden
as Red
Nestor Paiva
as Pal at Table
Tom Ewell
as New hired hand
Bobby Barber
as Pal at table
Grace Lenard
as Waitress
Marie Blake
as Waitress
Victor Kilian
as Photographer

Crew

Garson Kanin
Director
Erich Pommer
Producer
Sidney Howard
Play Author
Robert Ardrey
Screenwriter
Harry Stradling
Cinematographer
Alfred Newman
Composer (Music Score)
John Sturges
Editor
Van Nest Polglase
Art Director
Darrell Silvera
Set Designer
Edward Stevenson
Costume Designer
Vernon Walker
Special Effects
Advertisement