They Knew What They Wanted (1940)

Image result for they knew what they wantedAn Italian immigrant, Tony (Charles Laughton) proposes to waitress, Amy (Carole Lombard) by letter but sends her a photograph of his womanizing foreman, Joe (William Gargan) instead.

I will always love classical Hollywood because it is mostly the foundation on which I built my passion for cinematic critique.

However, despite this film’s intentions I think it fell quite short. I think this film suffers due to being produced when the Production Code was much to the fore and as a result it tries to be moralizing and far too ‘squeaky-clean’ to be a satisfying film, given the subject content.

Laughton’s role felt like far too much of a overblown stereotype to be amusing or meaningful, or indeed whatever they were trying to achieve with this film. Carole Lombard was beautiful enough but the casting of both her husband-to-be and lover respectively (in which she engages in some passionate extreme hugging) could’ve been better. I think this film suffers for having been based on a play.

I’m not too sure what this film’s ultimate goal was but as far as I can fathom I’m guessing perhaps it was supposed to emphasize the importance of togetherness, marriage and family (especially for a cinematic audience who were on the brink of another world war). However, it does this badly. I don’t think I’d be likely to watch this film again.

MY RATING: * / *****


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