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Sons of the Desert
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Reviews & Ratings for
Sons of the Desert More at IMDbPro »

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27 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

The boys go to a convention while wives think they're in Hawaii

10/10
Author: cove3 from White Plains, NY
2 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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23 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Off To A Convention With Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy

10/10
Author: Ron Oliver (revilorest@juno.com) from Forest Ranch, CA
10 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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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

The most pleasant comedy

10/10
Author: Aaron Whitehead from Somerset, KY
10 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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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A Good Start To Check Out The Boys

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
10 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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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

What has Mohammad got to do with my wife?

10/10
Author: krorie from Van Buren, Arkansas
9 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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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

as good as you'll find Laurel and Hardy flick

10/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
28 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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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest pictures L&H ever made

10/10
Author: Libretio
18 March 2005

SONS OF THE DESERT

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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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

I'd give it an 11

10/10
Author: Andy44 from California
6 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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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Tee hee

7/10
Author: Shawn Watson (curiositykilledshawn@gmail.com) from The Underverse
24 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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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

"If I have to go to the convention on my own, HE'S coming with me!"

Author: TC Raymond from England
13 November 2001

This is absolutely top-notch Laurel and Hardy, completely encapsulating the essence of their priceless comic personas in just over an hour of brilliant, innocent comedy. You know you're in for a treat right from the opening sequence, where Stan and Ollie arrive at the fraternity meeting slightly late and completely disrupt the proceedings in their stumbling, bumbling efforts to get to their seats! I challenge anyone not to laugh at that! And you'll be amazed at the amount of comedy Stan can wring out of the simple act of walking through a door. They just don't breed comedians like these geniuses any more. Fans of early-nineties 'laddish' knockabout humour like 'Bottom' and 'Men Behaving Badly' should check this out, just to see that Laurel and Hardy not only did it first, but they did it so much better and with a far greater degree of that most precious of comedic commodities - subtlety.

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