William Gargan received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Joe in They Knew What They Wanted.
Joe is the foreman for a winery owned by an aging Italian man Tony Patucci (Charles Laughton). Tony uses Joe to writer letters to a waitress Amy (Carole Lombard) he wishes to marry even though she does not even know who he is. Tony even sens Amy Joe's picture instead of his own making for quite the mix up when she finally comes to get married.
Joe is a man who wishes no long term relationship at the beginning, but this changes when Amy comes around. Gargan is fine in the early scene being the freewheeling foreman who just wants to help his boss/friend out. Than as soon as she comes to town he becomes frustrated due to wanting Amy himself. I gotta say this is when Gargan's performance becomes immediately underwhelming. He has no real charm that shows why Amy would be driven to him otherwise just his looks I guess. His frustrations he shows never really seem all that real either, and it makes for very awkward moments at the end of the film.The whole ending part really required some authentic emotions but instead we don't get any.
Gargan is underwhelming and lacks a real drive or passion in his performance. The most lacking part of his performance though is that he has no chemistry with Lombard stopping their relationship from being believable and making the pregnancy plot at the end of the film all the more confusing. Gargan is okay at the beginning but soon his performance is incredibly lacking.