Laurel and Hardy were undoubtedly the greatest comedy partnership to have lived. They spanned the silent and sound periods with effortless ease. Many of their contemporaries from the silent age failed to make the transition. Their comedy is simple but it also timeless. They still make me laugh after all these years, so that must surely be a good acid test that they have aged well.
Other reviewers have stated "Sons of the Desert" to be their very best feature length film, and I would agree with them absolutely. The Laurel and Hardy fan club did not call themselves "The Sons of the Desert" for no reason. The only work I felt to be better was their short "Below Zero", a virtuoso performance. But to compare such a short work with a feature is very unfair. But as I am unable to review that wonderful little work, I will pay my homage to it here.
The story of "Sons of the Desert" is a parable of what Sir Walter Scott wrote about so long ago, and has oft been quoted. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive". Stan and Ollie would love to attend the "Sons of the desert" annual convention. Sadly their wives are not so enthused. (I can empathise here when I want to go on my climbing expeditions !!) So let the scheming begin. You know they are digging a big hole for themselves but you watch enraptured. A quack doctor who transpires to be a vet is hired to give a diagnosis that Ollie needs a long sea voyage as a curative. So a cruise to Hawaii is booked, or is it? (The song "Honolulu baby" features hilariously) The boys take themselves off to the convention where they have a great time and are caught frolicking on film. Meanwhile the ship they should have been on sinks in a typhoon with great loss of life. The wives are beside themselves with grief until in the cinema who should they see cavorting on the screen? Yes they are in big big trouble.
If I need a tonic to make me laugh this film always does the trick. It is still very much a fable for our times. Deceit can lead to big troubles. I enjoyed watching the colour restoration in the DVD. The quality of coloration these days is a lot better than it used to be. As a plus the DVD also comes with two of the boys shorts. I have watched many comedies and love "Bringing up Baby", "Some Like it hot" and "The Big Lebowski". But this is my own very personal favourite. I would urge you to buy this film at the giveaway prices offered at the time of this review. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I have. It is a rare treasure.