Sons of the Desert Laurel and Hardy

Sons of the Desert (1933)

Stanley and Oliver (Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy) are both loyal members of The Sons of the Desert. Not long before the Sons of the Desert are to have their big annual convention in Chicago, they both take an oath to attend the convention, even though Stan doesn’t think his wife will let him go. Oliver gives Stan a big lecture about how to have the upper hand with his wife, just like he does with his wife Lottie (Mae Busch). But it turns out that Oliver is the one who has to worry about getting permission from his wife — she’d already planned a weekend trip to the mountains for the same weekend as the convention and she’s not about to miss her trip.

Determined to make it to the convention, Stan and Oliver come up with a crazy scheme involving Oliver pretending to be sick while a “doctor” prescribes a trip to Honolulu to cure him. Their wives buy the rouse, but instead of going to Honolulu, they head to Chicago and have a fantastic time at the convention. But just as they’re about to head home, the boat from Honolulu they’re supposed to be on sinks after being caught in a storm. They have no idea what’s happened until they get home while their wives are out trying to get information about the survivors and see the newspaper.

Not knowing what else to do, Stan and Oliver hide in the attic to avoid their wives. But when their wives go out to a movie, they see a newsreel covering the big convention and who else do they see but Stan and Oliver? Now the wives are on a mission to see which of their husbands is the most honest.

Oh, what a delight Sons of the Desert is! This is just good, pure, classic slapstick comedy. Laurel and Hardy are both at the absolute top of their game, delivering joke after joke with absolute perfection. Their comedic timing was impeccable. Not only do you have Laurel and Hardy bringing their “A” game, there’s Mae Busch as Oliver’s wife, who is anything but second fiddle. She had the sass and strong screen presence to not be overshadowed by Laurel and Hardy’s antics. Also not to be overlooked is Charley Chase in a brief appearance as a fellow Son of the Desert who turns out to be Lottie’s brother and nearly reveals where they really are. Reportedly, Chase didn’t enjoy playing that character, but I really got a kick out of him. Slapstick isn’t always my thing, but I love Sons of the Desert.