Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sons of the Desert

Sons of the Desert; Comedy, USA, 1933; D: William A. Seiter, S: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Dorothy Christy

Laurel & Hardy are members of a club, "Sons of the Desert", which is about to hold an anniversary meeting in Chicago. Since they live in Los Angeles and their wives don't even want to hear about their silly club because they plan to go on a trip to the mountains, Laurel & Hardy decide to think of a scheme. Hardy pretends he is sick and persuades his wife that Laurel will accompany him to Hawaii. But in reality, of course, they go to the meeting. However, their alibi is refuted when the news report that the ship for Hawaii has sunk, so they have to hide on the roof, fearing their wives will reveal them. Laurel admits the lie to his wife and she forgives him, but Hardy gets into trouble.

According to some circles, like the American Film Institute which even ranked it number 96 on its list of "100 Years...100 Laughs", "Sons of the Desert" are the best feature length comedy by the Laurel & Hardy duo, a fun childish comedy of misunderstanding. Even though the two comedians were always better in their short movies, even here they manage to achieve that humorous 'chemistry' - why, the scene where the two of them show up late during a meeting and interrupt it while "quietly" seeping through the lines is a moment that only the two of them could have been able to pull off. Numerous jokes are also comical independent from their talent, especially during the "plot twist" that demolishes their lie that they went off to Hawaii via the newspaper with the headline: "The ship for Hawaii was sunk by a typhoon!". As always, the authors were not ambitious nor deep, but only correct. Laurel & Hardy are excellent, and yet, still, if they at least shot one film like Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" or Keaton's "The General", they would have been even much greater actors.


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