Review: ‘Sons of the Desert’

Announced as an original, this appears to be a blowup of a two-reel comedy, We Faw Down, in which the team was seen three or four years earlier. In the original the comedians used a visit to a vaudeville theatre as an alibi for their dalliance. They describe the performance at length to their wives only to be confronted with a newspaper telling of the destruction of the theatre by fire during the performance they were supposed to have witnessed. In the longer version it's a trip to a lodge convention, with a supposed voyage to Honolulu as a cover. They return home to find that the steamer on which they were supposed to have sailed, foundered and the passengers returned to the home port on another vessel.

Announced as an original, this appears to be a blowup of a two-reel comedy, We Faw Down, in which the team was seen three or four years earlier. In the original the comedians used a visit to a vaudeville theatre as an alibi for their dalliance. They describe the performance at length to their wives only to be confronted with a newspaper telling of the destruction of the theatre by fire during the performance they were supposed to have witnessed. In the longer version it’s a trip to a lodge convention, with a supposed voyage to Honolulu as a cover. They return home to find that the steamer on which they were supposed to have sailed, foundered and the passengers returned to the home port on another vessel.

Stretched to feature length, with no additional plot material, the story is thin to the point of attenuation but the idea is adhered to, which at least supplies a peg on which to hang the buildup. The latter, chiefly belly laughs with a bit of production in the middle: a pre-Code Hawaiian dance in a cafe set led by a highly personable young woman who knows it pays to advertise.

About the only injection of novelty is a slick bit in which Laurel hysterically breaks down and tells the truth. Which gets him a Japanese dressing gown and permission to smoke cigarets, while Hardy is on the receiving end of the family china and tinware.

Sons of the Desert

Production

Roach/M-G-M. Director William A. Seiter; Producer Hal Roach; Screenplay Frank Craven, Byron Morgan; Camera Kenneth Peach; Editor Bert Jordan

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1934. Running time: 68 MIN.

With

Stan Laurel Oliver Hardy Charlie Chase Mae Busch Dorothy Christy Lucien Littlefield
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