|They Knew What They Wanted|
Original lobby card
|Directed by||Garson Kanin|
Harry E. Edington|
They Knew What They Wanted|
by Sidney Howard
|Music by||Alfred Newman|
|Edited by||John Sturges|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
They Knew What They Wanted is a 1940 film directed by Garson Kanin, written by Robert Ardrey, and starring Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton and William Gargan. It is based on the 1924 Pulitzer Prize winning play They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard. For his performance Gargan was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
When visiting San Francisco, Tony Patucci, an ageing illiterate winegrower from the Napa Valley, sees waitress Amy Peters and falls in love. Returning home, he persuades his foreman Joe, an incorrigible womanizer, to write her a letter in Tony's name. Tony's courtship by mail culminates with a proposal, and when she requests a picture of him, he sends one of Joe. Amy accepts and goes to Napa to be married. Although horrified to discover that her prospective husband is the portly Tony, she decides to go through with the marriage. However, while Tony is in bed after an accident, Amy and Joe have an affair. Two months later, as Tony plans the wedding, she discovers that she is pregnant. Upon learning this, Tony pummels Joe, who leaves the vineyards. but forgives Amy, and insists that they still be married, But she is unable to forgive herself, so she leaves with the priest who's come to marry them, while Tony looks on, hoping that she will return one day.
This marked the only time the play was filmed under its original title. Two previous film versions had been made: a silent film called The Secret Hour (1928), with Jean Hersholt in the Laughton role, and an early talkie entitled A Lady to Love (1930), with Edward G. Robinson in the role.
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