Sons of the Desert
Sons of the Desert (1933 window card).jpg
Theatrical release window card
Directed byWilliam A. Seiter
Written byFrank Craven
Byron Morgan (continuity)
Produced byHal Roach
StarringStan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Charley Chase
CinematographyKenneth Peach
Edited byBert Jordan
Music byMarvin Hatley
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • December 29, 1933 (1933-12-29) (US)
Running time
64 minutes
CountryUnited States

Sons of the Desert is a 1933 American pre-Code comedy film starring Laurel and Hardy. Directed by William A. Seiter, it was released in the United States on December 29, 1933. In the United Kingdom, the film was originally released under the title Fraternally Yours.

In 2012, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.[1]


The film begins with a California meeting of the Sons of the Desert, a fraternal lodge of which Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are members. The organization will hold its national convention in Chicago in a week and all members must take an oath to attend. Stan is reluctant for fear that his wife Betty won't allow the trip, but pledges after being cajoled by Oliver. During the cab ride home, Oliver tries to reassure Stan that Betty will have no other choice than to let him go, because he has taken a sacred oath. But Oliver's wife, Lottie, herself puts up stiff resistance. She has planned a trip with her husband to the mountains, and resorts to violence when Oliver dismisses her plan. Unwilling to go back on the oath that he swore, but also unwilling to provoke further wrath from his wife, Oliver feigns illness to get out of the mountains trip. Stan arranges for a doctor, actually a vet, to advise an ocean voyage to Honolulu while their wives stay home. Stan and Oliver instead go to Chicago, with their wives none the wiser. At the convention the song Honolulu Baby is performed.

While Stan and Oliver are en-route home from Chicago, the ship returning from Honolulu which they are supposedly aboard sinks in a typhoon. The boys' wives go to the shipping company's offices to ask about survivors. Stan and Oliver, still unaware of the shipwreck, return to their adjacent homes and are surprised to find them empty. Stan finds a newspaper in which Oliver sees a report of their supposed ship's loss and immediately grasps its implications. Aware their wives will know they didn't go to Honolulu, Stan and Oliver decide to spend the night in a hotel. Before they can leave, Betty and Lottie return. The boys take refuge in the attic of their duplex home. The wives go to a cinema to calm their nerves. Here, they see a newsreel of the Chicago convention which features their husbands. Furious at being deceived, each blames the other's wayward spouse, and the women challenge each other over whose husband will confess. When the wives get home, Stan and Oliver are still in the attic. Betty suspects burglars and investigates with a shotgun. The boys escape to the rooftop, where Oliver decides to follow their original plan of going to a hotel. Stan, however, wants to confess to his wife. Oliver, fearful of Lottie's anger, manages to dissuade him by blackmail. Starting out for a hotel, Stan and Oliver are stopped by a policeman who gets their addresses from Stan and makes them return home, The wives see them coming. Lottie wants to shoot them but Betty reminds her of the challenge to see which husband will confess. In Oliver's home, he tries to persuade the wives that he and Stan are survivors of the shipwreck. When he is asked how they got home a day ahead of the rescue ship carrying the survivors, the story begins to unravel. Betty asks Stan if Oliver's story is true. Stan confesses that they went to the convention, not to Honolulu; they were never in any shipwreck and had been hiding in the attic. Betty picks up her shotgun and ominously beckons to Stan. The two leave, Betty with her gun and Stan whimpering. But it turns out that Betty is pleased by Stan's confession and, as she pampers him in their home, next door Lottie is enraged with Oliver and throwing pots, pans and crockery at him. Stan hears the commotion and eventually calls round. Irritated by Stan's lack of sympathy and his blithe departure singing "Honolulu Baby", Oliver hurls a pot at Stan's head, upending him.

Production notes

The fraternal organization seen in the film is styled to resemble the Shriners, known formerly as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.


Half-sheet theatrical release poster
Half-sheet theatrical release poster


Awards and honors

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Similar films


The international Laurel and Hardy society The Sons of the Desert takes its name from this feature film.

The title was also used as the name of a country group, as well as that of the Danish comedy quartet "Ørkenens sønner" (1991-present), the literal translation of the movie's title. The comedy group uses the basic theme of a fraternal organization, and their stage costumes are identical to the ones used in the movie's organization. Even their theme song is a translation of the one from the movie. Though adult themed, their gags and jokes resemble the ones seen at the movie's Chicago party.[10]


  1. ^ King, Susan. "National Film Registry selects 25 films for preservation " Los Angeles Times (December 19, 2012)
  2. ^ "Detail view of Movies Page".
  3. ^ "Charita". IMDb.
  4. ^ "Honolulu Baby Lyrics". International Lyrics Playground. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Soundtracks for Sons of the Desert". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  6. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  7. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  9. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees (10th Anniversary Edition)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Sons of the Desert". TCM.