Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


SONS OF THE DESERT (1933). Director: William A. Seiter.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy want to go off to a convention of the Sons of the Desert in Chicago, but their wives won't have it. They cook up a ridiculous scheme to get out of town, and nearly get away with it – but the fates conspire to reveal their perfidy to their vengeful wives. This is a very funny movie with some great gags and the boys in top form. Mae Busch and Dorothy Christy are also excellent as the wives, with Charley Chase notable as a fellow conventioneer addicted to practical jokes. Full of comic inventiveness and a lot of merriment this movie above all others shows the Laurel and Hardy influence on TV's The Honeymooners. At one point Oliver tells Stan that he is “king of his castle”and his wife has to do what he says. Sound familiar? Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton were even members of the Raccoon Lodge, a Sons of the Desert-type organization. One quibble about the picture: although it turns out that the boys weren't actually on the boat, and the wreck itself is never shown, it was perhaps ill-advised to make a ship wreck with people dying at sea a key point in the plot.
Verdict: Great fun! ***1/2.

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