They Knew What They Wanted

They Knew What They Wanted

Garson Kanin (1940)

A Certificate


Our Score
Charles Laughton probably wouldn't win any plaudits from Messrs Scorsese or Coppola for his portrayal here of an Italian-American winemaker, who cons waitress Carole Lombard into a mail-order marriage by sending her a picture not of himself, but of his beefcake employee, William Gargan. The plan backfires when Lombard falls in love with Gargan. It's like a French farce transplanted to the Napa Valley - except that it isn't played for laughs. Laughton apparently behaved like a tyrant on the set, but the story gave him a weird accent to play with, and fed his obsession with his physical appearance.


A vineyard owner exchanges letters with a waitress, but sends her a photograph of his handsome foreman. When they finally meet, she agrees to marry him despite his dishonesty. However, following a disastrous accident, she becomes tempted by the prospect of an affair with the man whose picture she received. Drama, starring Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton and William Gargan.

Cast & Crew

Amy Peters Carole Lombard
Tony Patucci Charles Laughton
Joe William Gargan
Doctor Harry Carey
Father McKee Frank Fay
RFD Joseph Bernard
Mildred Janet Fox
Ah Gee Lee Tung-Foo
Red Karl Malden
Photographer Victor Kilian
Hired hand Paul Lepere
Director Garson Kanin
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: R.K.O. Radio Pictures Ltd