Sons of the Desert (1933) Poster

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Off To A Convention With Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy
Ron Oliver10 June 2000
Ollie wants to attend the annual convention of THE SONS OF THE DESERT in Chicago & have lodge brother Stan go with him. Their wives, however, have other plans. From such tiny acorns of humor do mighty oaks of hilarity grow...

This is a wonderfully funny film, with the Boys at their very best. Watch Stan's face as he eats the wax apple, or Ollie as he attempts to stand-up to his formidable spouse. The Sons themselves are a spoof of every fraternal organization that's ever taken itself too seriously.

Hilarious Charley Chase is the epitome of every obnoxious conventioneer you've ever tried to avoid. Mae Busch & Dorothy Christy are good fun as the Boys' wives, while Lucien Littlefield scores as a veterinarian called in to doctor Ollie.

Extra-sharp movie mavens will spot Charlie Hall as one of the waiters at the beginning of the 'Honolulu Baby' sequence; they will also recognize the voice of Billy Gilbert as the steamship official giving the announcement about the shipwreck survivors.
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The boys go to a convention while wives think they're in Hawaii
cove32 April 2005
I love this movie. I was reduced to tears the first time I saw it and am reduced to tears every time I've seen it in the 50 years since. Talk about a movie holding up over 70 years. To my mind, it's the Citizen Kane of comedy. Everything about it is pitch perfect. To watch the boys as they sink deeper and deeper into absurdity in explaining their arrival back ahead of the rescue ship is a marvel to watch. There are so many subtle, nonsensical and memorable moments that stay in the mind years later one almost doesn't know where to start. The solemn dark lighting of the opening scene spoofing fraternal organizations, eating the wax fruit, the range of facial expressions of the wives throughout, the shot of the boys from the back sitting facing the fireplace as Stan disses his wife, Stan's wife in hunting regalia returning shotgun in arm carrying ducks, Ollie flirting on the phone not realizing it's his wife he's talking to, the stream of consciousness dialog in the attic, and on and on and on. A subtlety perhaps missed by many is the wonderful song and dance number at the night club....a simply wonderful lampoon to perfection of crooner Dick Powell and spoof of Busby Berkeley with those clunky but charming Hula dancers, struggling in a valiant but ultimately hopeless attempt to dance, fanning out to the camera and culminating in that marvelous overhead shot near the close. Just great. I could write a book on this movie, but I'll just suggest to viewers to get William K. Everson's book on the films of Laurel & Hardy and read what one of the great critics has to say about this gem.
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The most pleasant comedy
Aaron Whitehead10 October 2001
It's really the only good full-length Laurel & Hardy movie that isn't distracted by a sub-plot, therefore an interesting story develops, and we get to see more of Laurel & Hardy. This movie more than any other just lets us laugh at the two characters we love best: Stan and Ollie. We see them as kids, sneaking around to a juvenile convention to escape the clutches of their motherly, domineering wives. There are some great sequences, and some truly hilarious moments. Stan is especially at his best, and the sequence where Ollie is sick is classic. "Why did you get a veterinarian?" "I didn't think his religion would make any difference."

A must for any Laurel & Hardy fan, and indeed a must for everyone who enjoys an utterly pleasant experience and a truly divine comedy.
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A Good Start To Check Out The Boys
ccthemovieman-110 August 2006
There are a lot of funny scenes squeezed into one of the thinest "plots" you'll ever see in a story. Our heroes - Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy - simply want to go to the annual convention of their group - "The Sons Of The Desert" and want their wives' approval to make the trip. As it turns out, they go anyway and, well, it's one wild scene after another.

Along the way, we see all the trademarks of these two famous comedians: Laurel scratching his head, crying when in trouble, having the better heart of the two and providing some clever slapstick and dialog. Hardy does his normal routine, too, with the dirty looks, the scheming and the pratfalls.

The women are the bosses and Hardy's wife is the toughest of the two, throwing plates at Olllie's head! These are tough old bags.

Oddly enough, on the second viewing of this film I found a bit slow going, which I didn't find the first time. Charley Chase, a famous silent comedian, is also in the film as are a few things you wouldn't associate with Laurel & Hardy: some sexual stuff! Really! There is a dance number in the middle of the film where I swear I saw a see-through blouse on the main dancer. Also, there was a play- on-words here about some woman "who likes to pump the organ." Well, this film was made a year or so before the Hays' Code went into effect.

At any rate, if you have never seen the famous duo, this is a good place to start.
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What has Mohammad got to do with my wife?
krorie9 February 2006
This has got to be one of the funniest movies ever made by Hollywood. The only other that comes close is Laurel and Hardy's "Way Out West." No other comedy team in the history of show business had the perfect comic timing of Stan and Oliver, not even the inimitable teams of Abbott and Costello or Martin and Lewis. Stan and Oliver had appeared separately in several films before they were teamed. Although they were both multi-talented (Oliver was one of the best singers around) and individually funny, together they broke all the comedic barriers. No such chemistry has existed between two entertainers before or since. Mel Brooks said it best, "Dying is easy. Comedy, that's difficult."

This time around the boys attempt to slip away from their domineering wives (Only Stan would choose a mate that was one of the best duck hunters around and thus a crack shot with a gun) to attend a convention of the illustrious "Sons of the Desert" in Chicago to hear the "exhausted" ruler speak, as Stan calls him. Oliver feigns illness, getting Stan to bring a fake doctor to advise a sea cruise to Honululu. Only Stan could make opening a door to exit a room excruciatingly funny. As usual Stan bungles it all and gets a Veternerian instead who just happens to bring his dogs along on the house call. The ruse works after a few hilarious scenes involved Oliver and the tub of hot water in which his feet are soaking. The boys ultimately end up in Chicago. The boat to Hawaii sinks and with the sinking of the ship, the boys' fabrication also fills with water.

As good as Stan and Oliver were, Charlie Chase, an almost forgotten genius of slapstick, nearly steals the show from the boys as a practical joker who just happens to have a sister who lives at the same address as Oliver Hardy lives. Chase was more than a match for the two and their scenes together represent the apex of their careers.

Stan and Ollie were not just gifted visual comics, their repartee with each other was exemplary. The lines though supposedly written by others would not have the same humorous effect if spoken by anyone else. I'm sure much of the dialog was added to or ad-libbed by the team. Stan tries to rationalize the situation, "Well if she didn't go to the mountains, then Mohammad would have to come here." Ollie jumps right in, "What has Mohammad got to do with my wife?" To read more of the brilliant lines, note IMDb's quotes taken from "Sons of the Desert."

If you enjoy "Sons of the Desert," by all means watch "Way Out West." The two represent Laurel and Hardy at their best. There are several Laurel and Hardy shorts that come close to matching the two feature length features, especially the Academy award winning "The Music Box."
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as good as you'll find Laurel and Hardy flick
MartinHafer28 June 2005
When you see this film, you are immediately struck by how familiar the plot is. Stan and Ollie want to slip past their wives and go to a convention for their local lodge. The elaborate way they devise in order to go and the subsequent discovery of their wives was repeated on both the Honeymooners and the Flintstones--and copied, though not quite as directly, in MANY sitcoms over the years. It's all here folks BUT it's funnier and fresher because it's the original.

The most glowing endorsement I know of was my wife's reaction to the movie. She generally HATES all the old comedies (not just Laurel and Hardy, but Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, W. C. Fields, etc.) but laughed herself silly watching the film. She later denied it was THAT funny, but her belly laughs were a dead giveaway!
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One of the greatest pictures L&H ever made
Libretio18 March 2005

Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Sound format: Mono

(Black and white)

Stan 'n' Ollie attend a convention in Chicago against the wishes of their domineering wives (Mae Busch and Dorothy Christy). Unfortunately, truth will out...

William Seiter's magnificent film ranks alongside WAY OUT WEST (1937) as the finest example of L&H's craft, a glorious concoction in which every scene, every bit of business, glows with joyous absurdity. Basically an expanded remake of the short film WE FAW DOWN (1928), "Sons..." is a riot of comic invention, from L&H's mirthful entrance, to their encounter with obnoxious colleague Charley Chase at the 'Sons of the Desert' convention, to a climactic sequence in which The Boys are forced to justify themselves to their outraged wives (including Busch, never better as Ollie's bad-tempered spouse!). A genuine comedy masterpiece. Originally released in the UK as FRATERNALLY YOURS.
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I'd give it an 11
Andy446 June 2006
Almost perfect! The finish isn't up to the rest of the movie, but the absolutely hilarious beginning and middle make it one of the funniest movies ever.

Here are Stan and Ollie at their peak. Many of their trademark gags and takes appear, easily woven into the story, perfectly timed and crafted with comic panache.

The plot- henpecked husbands sneaking off for revelry- is now rather obsolete, but that doesn't diminish the clever narrative movement. Putting Charley Chase into a small role enhanced it, and the wives were very well played.

I don't rate many movies a 10, but one that gives pleasure over and over and over deserves it.
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Truth or Consequences
lugonian8 May 2007
SONS OF THE DESERT (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1933), a Hal Roach feature presentation directed by William A. Seiter, starring the comedy team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, is not a foreign legion story set in the Sahara desert as the title might imply, but a domestic comedy with "Sons of the Desert" the name of a fraternity lodge brothers organization where Stan and Ollie are members, Oasis 13, Los Angeles, California.

As the story goes, Stan and Ollie (Laurel and Hardy), best friends ("two peas in a pod") and next door neighbors, both married (with their front doors reading "Mr. and Mrs. Stan Laurel" and "Oliver Hardy and Wife"), are introduced as late arrivals to the "Sons of the Desert" fraternity meeting where the exhausted ruler announces the club's 87th annual convention to take place in Chicago, where all members are expected to attend. After the swearing-in ceremony and singing of "We Are the Sons of the Desert," guilt-ridden Stanley tells Ollie he's afraid to ask his wife, Betty, if he could go. Oliver, strong-willed on the outside, fearfully henpecked on the inside, insists Stanley let Betty know that he's "king of his castle." Easier said than done considering Mrs. Laurel (Dorothy Christie) is an avid duck hunter who never misses her target with her rifle. As for Oliver's spouse, Lottie (Mae Busch), whom he affectionately calls "sugar," she's caring to her husband's needs, but at the same time, is quick-tempered and domineering. After learning about the convention, she makes it clear to Oliver that she has her heart set on going to the mountains and is not permitted to attend. Since Betty has granted Stanley permission to go, Oliver comes up with a scheme pretending to have a nervous breakdown, and with Stanley's help, hires an animal doctor, Horace Merrick (Lucien Littlefield) to make a house call, examine Ollie (like a dog) and suggest an ocean voyage rest cure to Honolulu. Since Lottie doesn't like the ocean and claims to be a poor sailor, it is suggested Stan "accompany" him. The plan works, and the boys go to the convention, having the time of their lives. They even get to meet up with a loud-mouth club member named Charlie Chase, who turns out to be Mrs. Hardy's long-lost brother. On the very day the boys are to return home, the wives receive news that the Honolulu steamship has sunk. Unable to acquire the names of the survivors, the girls wait it out by attending a picture show at a local theater. While there, they watch a newsreel presentation of the "Sons of the Desert" convention with Stan and Ollie in full view marching in the parade, mugging their faces into the camera. How will the boys be able to explain this now that the wives are fully aware they've been tricked? With this being a favorite among Laurel and Hardy devotees, it seems natural the film's title be adopted for the Laurel and Hardy fan club. Movies such as this were probably an inspiration to future TV shows, particularly "The Honeymooners" starring Jackie Gleason (fat) and Art Carney (skinny) as Laurel and Hardy counter-parts. With numerous battle of the sexes comedies featuring henpecked husbands being common place either in short subjects or feature length films, even when knowing how this will all turn out, viewers familiar with this formula will still want to see the results, and find out whether the boys will fess up to the truth or face the consequences from their wives. As with Gleason and Carney caricatures in "The Honeymooners," the overweight is over confident, full of ideas that backfires on him, and married to a woman who's one step ahead of him, while Laurel, the thin one with a cry of a child, is weak yet sensible, and highly influenced by his friend, married to a loving spouse who knows the wrong he does is not of his own choosing. While deceiving and lying are never solutions to anything, Stan sums it up best with his own philosophy, "Honesty is the best politics."

The current success of SONS OF THE DESERT relies on its fine script, witty dialogue and clever gags, sometimes violent, thrown in. Mae Busch as Hardy's wife is as fine casting as Kathleen Howard is for W.C. Fields in three notable films. Busch's Lottie has a vicious laugh (HA!) added to her hot temper, leading to the result of smashing a vase over her husband's head and everything else that goes with it. While spouse abuse doesn't wear well with today's society as comedy, this was common practice with the Laurel and Hardy formula. Dorothy Christy as Mrs. Laurel, is charming, but makes herself clear at one point with her stern sounding voice in telling Lottie, "Stanley would never lie to me. I'd hate to think of what might happen, if he, ev-err DID!" With many classic scenes too numerous to mention, the film does take time for a brief musical number, "Honolulu Baby" sung by a male vocalist, with overhead camera shot of dancing Hawaiian girls doing formations in the Busby Berkeley tradition.

Distributed on video cassette from various companies during the early days of home video (1980s), SONS OF THE DESERT played on various cable networks throughout the years: The Comedy Channel (late 1980s) , American Movie Classics (1994-96) and finally Turner Classic Movies (where it premiered April 1st, 2005). It continues to be a perennial favorite Laurel and Hardy film. In spite of its age, the film still holds up today, and at 67 minutes, plays like an extended comedy short. If not their best comedy, SONS OF THE DESERT definitely ranks their best in the domestic sense. (***)
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Might very well be the very best full length Laurel & Hardy picture around.
Boba_Fett113820 October 2006
This movie combines everything that made other Laurel & Hardy pictures so great and such a delight to watch; slapstick humor, crazy situations, well written dialog and a good comedy story. This movie has it all and therefor this movie can truly be regarded as perhaps the most definite Laurel & Hardy picture around.

The movie has a classic comedy story. It's very simple and it has been used in many different other variations before and after this movie but it's extremely effective. It's another fine mess the boys get themselves into after they secretly go to a convention of the 'sons of the desert' in Chicago after fooling their wives, by telling them that they are going to Honolulu to 'cure' Oliver's faked illness. However when the steam-liner the boys were supposed to be on sinks, the boys can't go home without letting their wives know were they truly had been. In between they also get themselves into some silly humorous trouble, which this time also involves fellow comedian Charley Chase, who was the brother of regular Laurel & Hardy picture director James Parrott.

This is not necessarily the movie with the best or most Laurel & Hardy jokes or slapstick moments in it but it's the whole package of the movie that makes this one such a great and enjoyable one that deserves a position among the greatest comedies of all time. It combines all of the best elements out of Laurel & Hardy movies and the end result is an hilarious, easy and pleasant to watch movie, from start till finish, that never loses any of its power.

The trouble the boys get themselves into is of course silly and therefor also extremely fun at the same time. It's the sort of simple light hearted comedy we unfortunately see so little anymore in movies these days. All of the silly moments are very well build up and executed in the movie and timed. It also is of course thanks to the talent of Oliver Hardy and Stanley Laurel that all the moments work out so well and effective in a comical way. They make the simple story work out way more effective than you could ever anticipate. The movie is also helped by some well written comical dialog. This movie perhaps has the most dialog gags out of all the Laurel & Hardy pictures that are still around.

Even the slower moments of the movie never get boring, thanks to the energetic comedy acting from Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Laurel & Hardy regular Mae Busch also shows up again as Mrs. Hardy. Busch is always a pleasure to watch in any Laurel & Hardy movie and was a real great comedy talent.

All in all, this might very well be the best and most definitive Laurel & Hardy picture ever made, that deserved to be ranked among other comedy classics.

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Tee hee
Shawn Watson24 October 2005
Stan and Ollie are part of a Freemason's lodge and take an oath to go to their annual convention in Chicago. No one has ever broken this oath in the zillion year history of the Sons of the Desert Lodge so they'd better now screw up.

Only Stan and Ollie are both dominated by their wives who won't allow them to do anything with-out strict approval first. So they concoct a plan that involves pretending to go to Hawaii for a relaxing cruise but really going off to the windy city.

Too bad the ship sinks on the way their and they have fake being rescued (much quicker than everyone else) when they come back from the convention. Loads of hectic hiding and digging out of deep trouble follow.

Much funnier than I've made it sound. Honest!
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The Tell Tale Newsreel
bkoganbing25 January 2011
Most aficionados of Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy seem to rate Sons Of The Desert as their best feature film. I would be hard put to disagree and I find this the most flawless of their comedies, taking full advantage of the characters that Stan and Ollie have created and what movie fans have come to expect from them.

Although for the life of me I can't figure out why Dorothy Christy and Mae Busch as the wives of Stan and Ollie respectively would rather their husbands vacation in Hawaii together as opposed to going to Chicago for their Lodge Convention. It doesn't make rational sense if the idea is that they're ignoring their wives. But I suppose in their world they just hated that Sons Of The Desert Lodge so much that even a vacation in Hawaii with just Stan and Ollie is preferable. And the fact that Ollie preferred Stan's company to Mrs. Hardy says volumes in and of itself.

So the boys decide to say they were going to Hawaii, but two things happen. The ocean liner sinks that was supposed to take Stan and Ollie to Hawaii and the wives are in a panic. But not for long as the wives decide to kill time at a movie and happen to spot their husbands hamming it up for a newsreel cameraman who was covering the Sons Of The Desert convention. What happens afterward is sheer laugh bliss.

Best series of gags involve Stan, Ollie, and Mae Busch with a tub full of water as Ollie is trying to pretend he's ill. They all get wet every which way imaginable. Next best series of gags is the boys in joint attic of their two homes trying to get some sleep and hide from the wives who come home unexpectedly. Let's just say they're both in for a lot more water on that cold and rainy night.

Fellow Hal Roach comedian Charley Chase pops up at the convention scenes as a particularly obnoxious reveling conventioneer. And Lucian Littlefield plays a veterinarian who is called as Stan is blissfully unaware of his specialty. When Ollie asks why Stan called a veterinarian, Stan innocently replies that he didn't think the man's religion should have any bearing. A great line and Laurel is so preciously innocent delivering it, but I would have expected a gag like that to have been in an Abbott&Costello film.

Gags and lines are flawlessly executed in Sons Of The Desert. And we do learn that honesty is the best politics.
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The Funniest Motion Picture Ever filmed! No Kidding!
dbedwards200326 January 2011
The only reason I am writing this, and I am no film critic, is because I have NEVER LAUGHED SO HARD as when I saw this very charming, hilarious, LAUREL & HARDY FILM. Speak of comedy. I love film comedy. What is it that makes this film so extraordinary is the incessant gags and the convoluted plot with a bunch of twists and turns that on the surface seem absurd but they truly can happen in life! And the results are ALWAYS RIOTOUS! In a nutshell, L&H belong to the fraternal order of THE SONS OF THE DESERT. They are to have a convention in Chicago, but realising the wives won't consent, they concoct an outrageous tale so they can recuperate in Honolulu to cure a faked malady...but their ship sinks, the boys are caught on a newsreel film in Chicago, and guess what the wives see??? Speak of coincidence! Charles Dickens never had so many! Well, the husbands try to get out of their jam and it's just too funny to describe their machinations to save face. Moreover, there is a sweet moral to the story which we all can appreciate. HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY. And so it is. By the way, the ending is just the most hilarious scene I've ever seen. Plenty of gags, great acting and broken dishes...and you can't help feeling sorry for poor Ollie. You have to see this gem of a film, produced in 1933 by HAL ROACH, and I guarantee you'll split your sides and fall down laughing.
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An entertainingly boisterous Laurel & Hardy romp
Electrified_Voltage24 July 2009
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, a renowned comedy duo from the first half of the 20th Century, are still remembered today for their contributions to the genre, which they certainly deserve to be. I was introduced to Laurel & Hardy during my childhood in the 90's, with video tapes from my late grandfather. I remember seeing quite a bit of their work, mostly shorts, years ago, and I think I found most of it hilarious! However, I never saw this particular full-length film, considered by many to be their funniest flick, until this year. Knowing how popular it was, and knowing it was from a comedy team that had made me laugh so hard in the past, I obviously had lofty expectations for "Sons of the Desert". I think those expectations were met!

Stan and Ollie are members of a fraternity known as the Sons of the Desert. This organization is about to hold its annual convention in Chicago, and they take an oath to attend. Stan is reluctant, afraid his wife won't let him attend, but it turns out that Ollie's wife is the one who won't let her husband go to the convention, as the couple have planned a trip to the mountains. Determined to avoid breaking the oath, Ollie pretends to be ill, and Stan gets a doctor, who happens to be a veterinarian, to prescribe an ocean voyage to Honolulu. So, Stan and Ollie go to the convention, with their wives thinking they've gone on the Hawaiian voyage! It won't be that easy trying to keep their wives from knowing where they've actually been, especially after the boat they are supposedly on sinks in a typhoon while the two are on their way home!

"Sons of the Desert" consistently had me laughing, often hard, like I was expecting, and I can't think of a single lame gag in the entire film! If you're familiar with Laurel & Hardy, I'm sure you know to expect a lot of physical/visual humour, which is all done very well here. Other things that make this film so funny include Laurel's famous crying, some priceless lines from him (such as what he says about the veterinarian), and Hardy's reactions to Laurel's mistakes. This is all typical of the duo. They first appear in the film at a meeting with the Sons of the Desert, and as soon as they enter, the humour and foolishness begin! This continues pretty much non-stop for most of the film! Ollie's short-tempered wife, played by Mae Busch, is another comic highlight, and so is an appearance from comedian Charley Chase. All these things should make the film a great viewing experience for many people who like slapstick and chaos in comedy!
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Honolulu Baby!
Spikeopath4 March 2008
As members of the mason mens club The Sons Of The Desert, Stan & Ollie are desperate to go away to one of the clubs conventions in Chicago. This idea is given the no no from the boys' wives {Mae Busch & Dorothy Christy}, so Ollie fakes ill health and the boys wangle a supposed sea voyage to aid his recovery. Of course they head to Chicago for their boys own fun, unbeknown to them that the ship they had told their wives they were travelling on has sunk at sea!

I think this stands the test of time as one of the best Laurel & Hardy pictures because it's one of the most professional that they made. Laurel wasn't wholly satisfied with a couple of preceding features that they did, he felt it was becoming slapstick for slapstick's sake, so in came a new writing team to work with him to give us a tighter character driven laugh fest.

The films main triumph is the integration and impact of the wives, they add greatly to the comedy with sparky dialogue and visual madness. So many great moments that I don't wish to point any single one out, you just need to see it and enjoy. The songs are fun, the narrative is as tidy as they would do, and the underlying honesty is the best policy message is one we all should heed. 9/10.
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"We Ship-Hiked"
guidon726 September 2007
Stan Laurel believed that the Laurel and Hardy short subjects were the duo's best works rather than their feature films, nevertheless I believe Sons of the Desert to be the best of all their prodigious output, for the laughs never, never stop for all 86 minutes of the film.

Years ago, for some reason, I happened to look in the Los Angeles phone book and lo and behold, there it was: Stan Laurel, with address and phone number. After a phone conversation with Stan he agreed to my visit. Living at the Oceana Hotel in Santa Monica, he had sustained a stroke sometime before but could still get around fairly well and was a very alert, intelligent man, so different from his on-screen persona. I wish I could remember more of our conversation but it was 45 years ago and memory fades. The L&H films were popular on TV at the time and Stan regretfully stated that he got no residuals for their showing, which was unfortunate. He also hated L.A. driving and referred in particular to "the bloody freeways". Questioned about their movie clothes; derbies,suits, ties, etc., he said that after Hardy died he gave them all away to the Salvation Army. I also asked him about one of my favorite movie villains and a regular in L&H films, Walter Long, which you regular L&H fans may remember. This guy's consummate portrayal of a vicious lout and bully was apparently nothing like his real off-screen personality. Stan said he was the mildest, gentlest man imaginable. He was quite touched as I mentioned the two's on-screen foil in a number of films, silent and sound, James Finlayson, who was deceased. He was very close to the canny Scot. Anyhow, with a photo of Stan and Ollie (autographed by Stan) in my hands, I regretfully took my leave.

Stan was one of the two originators of the L&H fan club "The Sons of the Desert" which at one time had "tents" all over the U.S. and also in Europe. The club's motto (Stan's brainstorm) was "Two Minds Without A Single Thought". As a member of the Orange County, Calif. "tent" I enjoyed the films shown and guest personalities at the meetings some 30 years ago. Three guests that I do recall were Darla Hood from Our Gang comedies, Roy Searight, special effects wizard who in addition to working on Laurel and Hardy films did such a remarkable job on 1940's "One Million BC" and also, the flapper who slips on a pie at the end of the silent "Battle of the Century", and actress in other L&H silents, beautiful Anita Garvin. Courtesy of the fan club, incidentally, I am in possession of a "Sons of the Desert" fez as shown at the beginning of the film. Replica, of course! Little chance of wearing it now.

I realize that the above may not be of great interest to some readers here, but I believe that died-in-the-wool L&H fans (like me) will find these off-screen reminisces of interest. Really, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were the greatest. We will not see their like again.
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Laurel and Hardy's Best Feature
Vincentb34119 September 2005
Sons of the Desert is certainly the best feature Laurel and Hardy ever made, without any extraneous sub-plots or music to get in the way. L & H belong to a lodge called the Sons of the Desert. During a special meeting every man stands and pledges to attend the annual convention in Chicago next week. If any man is unsure whether he can keep the pledge, the "Exalted Ruler" continues, he will pleased be seated. Stans sits down, and a shocked Ollie quickly gets him up (Ollie knows better than to trifle with the Exalted Ruler; in his Arab costume, in the dark, with only a spotlight on his face, he looks like Boris Karloff in The Mummy).

On the way home, Stan explains that he sat down out of fear that his wife wouldn't let him go to the convention. Ollie immediately launches into his "King of the Castle" speech. "Why don't you pattern your life after mine? I go places and do things and then tell my wife."

Of course, once they arrive home it is clear who wears the pants in Ollie's household, and it isn't him. His wife Lottie (Mae Busch) tells him in no uncertain terms that he's not going to the convention, he's going to the mountains with her. And to solidify her position, she aims a few glass bowls at Ollie's head (the way she throws, she should be pitching for the Yankees).

Stan is even more dense than usual, if such a thing is possible. He eats Mrs. Hardy's wax apples, all the while wondering why they don't taste quite right. Ollie, naturally has a scheme; he'll pretend to be sick and they'll get a doctor to tell Mrs. Hardy he needs an ocean voyage to Honolulu; then Stan and Ollie will go to the convention. As much as he tries, Stan just doesn't seem to get it. He asks Ollie, "Why do you want to go to Honolulu?" He sends for an animal doctor to examine Ollie. (Ollie: "Why did you get a veterinarian?" Stan: "Well, I didn't think his religion would make any difference.") When Lottie asks Stan if he can go to Honolulu with Ollie, he says he can't, because he asked his wife Betty (Dorothy Christie) and she said he could go to the convention.

At the convention, Stan and Ollie watch a number called "Honolulu Baby", a satire on the Warner Brothers musicals of the early 30's. Normally such an interlude should be dismissed out of hand, but here it serves to advance the plot. With great satisfaction, Ollie tells Stan, "You see, we've killed two birds with one stone. We're seeing as much here as we could have seen in Honolulu."

Special mention needs to made of Charley Chase, who does a terrific job as the raucous conventioneer everyone tries to avoid. His idea of a great time is to drop a wallet on the floor and hit someone on the behind with a paddle when they stoop to pick it up.

Meanwhile, unbeknown st to them, the ship that the boys were supposed to be on has sunk in a typhoon, and survivors have been picked up by a rescue ship. Lottie and Betty, often so critical of their husbands' antics, are now nearly panic-stricken. They go down to the steamship company to get a list of the survivors, but it hasn't come out yet.

In a great scene which again helps to move things forward, the girls try to relax by taking in a movie. On comes a newsreel, showing the parade of the Sons of the Desert through the streets of Chicago. Just as Lottie tearfully proclaims that she wishes she had let Ollie go to the convention, on screen come Stan and Ollie, mugging for the camera. Grief turns to rage in a matter of seconds. And another Lauel and Hardy outing is about to become a disaster.
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This is indeed the greatest comedy of all time
andy stew20 July 2001
Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, the two greatest laughter-makers ever to grace stage and screen (as I'm sure millions will agree) appear here in their finest and funniest feature film. This film is so full of masterful strokes of comedy that its warmth and humour will never fail to touch those who watch it - much the same as this beloved duo. I would speak for hours on this masterpiece (why it is such perfect comedy from beginning to end, in its structure, characterisation, performances, direction, editing, and so on; why it is so successful in encapsulating the fundamental innocence, craft and appeal of the greatest comedy team of all time; why it means so much to Laurel & Hardy admirers, and why it should mean so much to everyone who has ever experienced any sort of humour), if I could. But I can't. So I won't.

All I ask you to do is to watch this and relish Laurel & Hardy's timeless magic.

Mr Laurel & Mr Hardy, the laughter you've given to myself and countless others will never be replicated or surpassed, and is eternally appreciated.

And to Stan: Neither do I too. Isn't that nice?
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Much-Loved Laurel & Hardy Comic Masterpiece Of Marital Bliss
ShootingShark21 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Stan and Ollie pledge a solemn oath to their masonic brotherhood (the Sons Of The Desert) to attend the annual conference in Chicago, but Ollie's wife won't let him go. They hatch a harebrained scheme to pretend he is ill and must take a sea-voyage to Honolulu to recuperate as a cover-story, but disaster awaits ...

This is arguably Laurel & Hardy's best and most famous film (though Babes In Toyland and Way Out West are also sensational), a tremendous example of their combined slapstick and character-comedy style. Like the best farce, the progressively more ridiculous situations are absurd, but the path by which they are arrived at has a wonderful logic to it. It's stuffed full of funny moments, most of which are just Laurel's bewilderingly absent-minded nuances and Hardy's exasperated annoyance, but the last reel especially, when the ruse is discovered, is simply hilarious. Produced by the great Hal Roach; Busch is fantastic as Hardy's shrill crockery-smashing wife. Seventy years later, it's sometimes hard to see why these films were so astonishingly popular, but there wasn't much to laugh about in 1933, and this film brightened millions of lives.
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Amusing Feature With Some Good Material
Snow Leopard21 September 2004
It's not easy to keep the Laurel and Hardy brand of humor going for a full-length feature, but here they accomplish it pretty well. Although the premise would have been tailor-made for one of their two-reelers, they successfully stretch it out into over an hour's worth of material, providing plenty of laughs and using some clever ideas.

The story has Stanley and Oliver as two members of the "Sons of the Desert", who are preparing for their national convention. This gets the two into difficulty with their wives, and from there things build up into the kinds of predicaments that are familiar from their shorter features. What's rather impressive is how well they keep things going for so long. There's nothing that's forced or pointless, and the pacing is generally just right. As the wives, Mae Busch and Dorothy Christy have relatively easy roles, but they (and also Charley Chase) have a few good moments.

Anyone who enjoys Laurel and Hardy's shorter features will probably also joining the "Sons of the Desert" in this amusing movie.
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" Laurel And Hardy Are Two Peas In A Pod "
PamelaShort10 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are at the peak of their comedic talents in this very amusing comedy, Sons Of the Desert. While typical in plot and characterization, this is one of their finest films as henpecked husbands who want to attend an out of town convention with their fellow lodge members. Of course their wives have a different idea, and vehemently forbid them from attending such folly. Stan and Ollie come up with an outlandish plan that fools the leery wives, but eventually backfires on the hapless pair. In this film we are treated with the funniest sight gags, hilarious dialogue and most priceless facial expressions. Mae Busch and Dorothy Christy are equally outstanding with their performances as Mrs. Hardy and Mrs. Laurel. Charley Chase is very funny as one of the boisterous lodge attendees Stan and Ollie encounter. This comedy is a pure delight from beginning to end and never fails to bring a smile and much laughter. A must see for all Laurel and Hardy fans and for anyone who needs a cheery lift.
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Entertaining Feature From L&H.
Robert J. Maxwell5 July 2010
Honolulu baby, Where'd you get those eyes?

It's one of their better feature-length efforts. The plot outline is familiar enough. Laurel and Hardy live next door to one another and both are married to domineering wives. L&H belong to an organization, The Sons of the Desert, that is holding its national convention in Chicago, but Hardy's wife is intent on taking him along on a vacation to the mountains. They contrive to convince the wives that Hardy is ill and must spend some time in Honolulu, with Laurel as his companion.

Instead of going to Hawaii, L&H go to the convention, leaving their wives at home. They have a riotous good time in Chicago, drinking in night clubs, playing practical jokes, prancing along in a parade. Meanwhile the wives ponder the situation. Could the boys, somehow, have been up to something. Laurel's wife looks straight into the camera and declares in a steely voice, "Stan would never lie to me. I hate to think of what might happen -- if he ever did." The two wives discover that the ship on which their husbands are returning has sunk in a typhoon. They're frantic with worry. Then, in a newsreel, they watch a film of the convention in Chicago. There on the screen are Laurel and Hardy, making faces, tipping their hats, blowing kisses at the camera, dancing joyously in the streets.

Some of the monkey business is less funny than the rest. Laurel is so stupid in a childlike way that he can't tell his own doorway from that of his neighbor. The childishness extends to the acting. Laurel breaks into his familiar cries when he finally confesses. Hardy appears to mask his terror by running his chubby fingers nervously over the table top, as if it were a piano.

It's one of their best.
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rtn9998 April 2004
If Laurel & Hardy had never made any other film, they would have secured their place in movie history with "Sons Of The Desert". It is the perfect Laurel & Hardy feature. The cutaway to Oliver Hardy's reaction as Stan Laurel confesses the whole complicated scheme to their wives is quite possibly the single funniest shot in the history of the motion picture. If you've never seen a Laurel & Hardy feature, this is the one to see. Stan Laurel was a comic genius. Oliver Hardy was probably the funniest man to ever step in front of a movie camera. This film epitomizes "classic comedy".
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A must see
jcgreg2 August 1999
I could watch this film at least once a day. Rich in sight gags and double takes. The Boys at their very BEST. It is a shame that the younger computer/films in color generation does not have a real appreciation for the Boys. My favorite scene is the floor show at the night club. Note the third rate chorus line, in particular the cutie with the special moves. I have never seen a group so bad, but they are charming.makes you want to sing and dance along with them. Also Ollie reading the newspaper story about the shipwreck . instant panic by Stany. Watch this scene in slow motion on your vcr to get a classic Stanny moment. Also, cannot leave out the news reel scene in the movie theatre. Loads and loads of fun. In fact, I am going to look for my copy now. Great Fun when you are having a bad day.
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