Sons of the Desert (1933)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Lodge members Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy take a solemn oath to attend the 80th-annual Sons of the Desert Convention (read: annual binge) in Chicago. That is, Ollie takes the oath, but Stanley balks. When asked why, Stanley answers that he's afraid his wife won't let him go. Ollie is appalled: "Every man must be king in his own castle." But when Ollie meekly brings up the subject of the convention with his wife Lollie (Mae Busch), she soon dethrones the "king." Lollie wants to take a vacation in the mountains, and is dead-set against her husband going around "with a pack of hooligans." But Ollie is determined to attend the convention, and to that end cooks up a scheme with Stanley. Ollie will pretend to be deathly ill; Stan will fix it so the doctor will prescribe a trip to Honolulu. Knowing that his wife can't stand going on sea voyages, Ollie will request that Stan accompany him to Hawaii--then, both men will sneak off to Chicago. A few hitches notwithstanding (Stan hires a veterinarian instead of a doctor, explaining that he didn't think the man's religion would make any difference), the boys go to the convention, where they cut up royally with practical joker Charley Chase. Alas, the Honolulu-bound boat on which Stan and Ollie are supposed to be travelling is sunk in a typhoon. While the grief-stricken wives are at the steamship company attempting to find out if their husbands survived the sea disaster, Stan and Ollie arrive home, wearing leis and carrying pineapples as "evidence" of their Honolulu vacation. When the boys find out about the shipwreck, they desperately try to escape to a hotel, but the wives arrive home prematurely, forcing Stan and Ollie to camp out in the attic. It looks as though the boys might just get away with their new plan of coming home at the same time that the rescue boats arrive....until Lollie Hardy and Betty Laurel (Dorothy Christie), attending a picture show, are treated to the spectacle of their husbands cavorting merrily before the newsreel cameras covering the Sons of the Desert conclave in Chicago. The film's final ten minutes are priceless--especially that bit about "ship-hiking." Considered the best of Laurel and Hardy's feature films, One of the top ten moneymaking pictures of 1934, it was released in Europe as Fraternally Yours and Sons of the Legion, and is also available in a crudely edited 20-minute TV version, Fun on the Run.
NR (nothing objectionable)
Classics , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment


Charley Chase
as Charley
Mae Busch
as Mrs. Hardy
Dorothy Christy
as Mrs. Laurel
John Elliott
as Exalted Exhausted Ruler
Charley Young
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
John Merton
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
William Gillespie
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
Charles McAvoy
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
Robert Burns
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
Al Thompson
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
Eddie Baker
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
Dorothy Christie
as Betty Laurel
Jimmy Aubrey
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
Chet Brandenberg
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
Don Brodie
as Sons of the Desert Coterie
Philo McCullough
as Assistant Exhausted Ruler
Billy Gilbert
as Steamship Official
as Lead Hula Dancer
Harry Bernard
as Bartender/Police Officer
Sam Lufkin
as Waiter
Baldwin Cooke
as Man Introducing Steamship Official
Max Wagner
as Brawny Speakeasy Manager
Stanley Blystone
as Brawny Speakeasy Manager
Pat Harmon
as Doorman
Ty Parvis
as Singer
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Critic Reviews for Sons of the Desert

All Critics (8)

Very much an in-the-moment hit of comic bliss. And that's no bad thing.

Full Review… | June 5, 2015
Little White Lies

It's my favorite Laurel and Hardy feature film.

Full Review… | March 15, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Probably Stan and Ollie's best feature.

June 15, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Stan and Ollie at the pinnacle of their comedic talents. A must-see for L&H and all comedy fans.

October 4, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Sons of the Desert (1933) is a classic Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy comedy - the fourth of their full-length feature films, and possibly their funniest

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Quote not available.

August 17, 2005

Audience Reviews for Sons of the Desert


Not a thoroughly consistent outing from the duo, but amiable nonetheless. Notice The Honeymooners being born here.

Garrett Cash
Garrett Cash

Another great Laurel & Hardy flick I can probably watch again and again if I owned it. I don't know why they haven't made a Laurel & hARDY definitive collectors edition DVD. 6 discs with all their shorts and movies. You can't put a price on them though, these 2 are gems they make me so happy to be alive I can't even begin to tell you. Boy thats akward writing that...begin to tell you..or begin to tell you why...or why i like them..hmmm

rocko perkovich
rocko perkovich

Super Reviewer


watched the Scooby-Doo episode where they meet Laurel and Hardy (in some sort of rift in the space-time continuum). So it put me in the mood to watch some of the real thing.

Grifty G
Grifty G

Super Reviewer

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