I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.
Title: Sons of the Desert
Release Date: December 29, 1933
Director: William A. Seiter
Production Company: Hal Roach Studios
Stan: I’ve certainly got to hand it to you.
Oliver: For what?
Stan: Well for the meticulous care with which you have executed your finely formulated machinations in extricating us from this devastating dilemma.
I remember really enjoying Laurel & Hardy in my childhood, mainly their shorts, although I feel like I watched some of their features too. It’s strange how over the past three decades or so, their cultural relevance has become practically nonexistent, especially compared with other icons of their time like Charlie Chaplin and Betty Boop who are still widely recognizable. Anyhow, this is supposed to be one of the best Laurel & Hardy features so I figured I’d become reacquainted with them and see if I still find them funny.
The verdict is “not really.” The gist of this movie is that Ollie and Stan want to go to the convention of their fraternal lodge but their wives, Lottie (Mae Busch) and Betty (Dorothy Christy) won’t let them. So they have to come up with an elaborate ruse to fool their wives. For a movie that’s predicated on ideas like “women are harridans” and “domestic violence is funny,” it has some good gags. I laughed when the veterinarian gave Ollie his medication and the death glare on Betty’s face when she talks about Stan lying to her is priceless. Actually, a movie where Betty and Lottie were the stars would be a lot of fun.
Overall though, I found this movie to be middling. Perhaps it’s because these kind of antics have been repeated so many times in movies and sitcoms over the past 90 years that I can’t see it with fresh eyes. Now I need to find that Laurel & Hardy movie I really loved as a kid and see if I still like it now.