UCLA Festival of Preservation
Sons of the Desert w/Berth Marks
Sons of the Desert
William A. Seiter, US, 1933, 35mm, 65 min., b/w
Drawing on story elements from their earlier shorts We Faw Down and Be Big, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's fourth feature-length comedy, Sons of the Desert, begins at a secret meeting of the boys' eponymously titled fraternal lodge. Amid secret handshakes and tarbooshes, the “exhausted ruler” swears attendance at the lodge's 87th annual convention in Chicago. When the wives forbid them to go, Hardy comes up with a ruse to fool the missus (the magnificent Mae Busch): Stan bribes a veterinarian who diagnoses Ollie with a double case of Canis Delirious. Mrs. Hardy's seafaring phobia ensures that the fictive “mad dog” malady can only be cured by an equally fabricated stag ocean voyage to Honolulu.
Stan and Ollie sneak off to Chicago to eat, drink and make
merry with their lodge brothers (including the brilliantly obnoxious Charley
Chase) and hear Ty Parvis croon Marvin Hatley's endearing “Honolulu Baby.”
A maritime disaster and an incriminating newsreel expose the charade,
culminating in a last act that is perhaps the funniest of Laurel and Hardy's
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation
Lewis R. Foster, US, 1929, 35mm, 19 min., b/w
In Berth Marks, Stan and Ollie share an upper berth in a sleeping car. That's all, and that's plenty funny. As the team adjusts to long sound takes in this, only their second sound short, there's obvious extempore interplay that gives their banter a spontaneous vitality. Berth Marks has been known forever in a severely cropped edition marred by an ersatz, sweetened sound mix done in 1936. For the first time in decades we can now see and hear everything in front of the camera in 1929.
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by The Packard Humanities Institute
The UCLA Festival of Preservation is Co-Presented by Louis Bluver.