Tuesday, January 26, 2010

80. Sons of the Desert (1933)

Running Time: 68 minutes
Directed By: William A. Seiter
Written By: Frank Craven
Main Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, Dorothy Christy, Charley Chase


Prior to watching "Sons of the Desert", I was quite excited about my first Laurel & Hardy film. I remember watching an old episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" years ago and seeing Dick Van Dyke and another man do a spoof of Laurel & Hardy and so I had certainly heard of the duo. My first L & H experience was a fantastic one and one that I won't soon forget.

Laurel & Hardy play themselves (at least as far as their names go) and are members of an elite fraternity in southern California, known as the "Sons of the Desert". When a convention comes up, taking place in Chicago and the boys take an oath to be there, it's the wives of the men who stand in the way of their fun. When Oliver arrives home that evening and asks his wife, she out and out says "NO!" and his plans are immediately spoiled. Stan's wife later goes on to say "no" too and so the boys are left with plan B. Oliver pretends to be sick and has Stan hire a doctor to say that the only way he'll get better is if he spends some time in a tropical climate like Honolulu. Oliver's wife insists that Oliver go to Honolulu and take Stan with him, so that he'll get better. When the boys take off, however, it's Chicago they're headed for, not Hawaii.

The boys arrive at the convention and have a good time, but upon arriving home they notice that the newspaper tells of the tragic wreck of a ship on it's way in from Honolulu, the ship that the boys were supposed to be on, had they gone to Hawaii. The boys immediately spring into action, planning to sneak back out of the house before their wives arrive home and come in the next day with their shipwreck stories straight. However, before they can get out of the house, the girls arrive home and they're forced to take cover in the attic, until it's safe to come down. But the girls are so upset about the possible demise of their husbands, that they decide to go to the movies and it's the old newsreel footage at the beginning of the film that tips the girls off about the true whereabouts of the boys.

This movie was like a big, long sitcom, that was made into a movie and at times you had to stop and realize that you were watching a film and not just a hilarious television program. Oliver and Hardy were great together and it's easy to tell that just from this one picture. Olly with his grunt of a demeanor and his Ralph Kramden like attitude, before there was a Ralph Kramden and Stan with his innocence and dimwitedness, they were a perfect compliment to each other and their physical comedy was great, as Stan could turn a simple thing like exiting a door, into a hilarious piece of comedy. The whole bit at the beginning when Oliver is ringing the doorbell and Stan keeps opening up the opposite door is great and there's so many classic lines, such as Stan grabbing a barometer instead of a thermometer to take Olly's temperature:

"What's it say?" Olly asks of Stan as he removes the thermometer
"Wet and Windy" Stan replies
Olly grabs the thermometer from Stan "That ain't a thermometer, that's a barometer"

RATING: 10/10 I was all prepared to give it a '9' but I just couldn't resist going ahead and giving it the full monty, as I am positive that this will become a favorite of mine

NEXT UP: It's A Gift...More comedy with W.C. Fields...It'll be here tomorrow from Netflix and I hope to watch and review it early, so I can get it sent back.

January 26, 2010 4:10pm


  1. Stan and Ollie live in a delightful world all their own, and now you are a part of it.

  2. I feel like an outsider..
    Not only do I not get Stan & Ollie, I don't get Chaplin, and only like bits of Marxism..
    But don't cast me out into the wilderness please, I like Keaton . A lot.

  3. 10/10 was probably too high of a rating and a 7/10 would probably be more reasonable. It was an innocent film that provided lots of laughs for me.


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