The final Laurel and Hardy film was a disappointment for the members of their fan club, "Sons of the Desert." Although Joannon and Berry are listed as the directors, there were three other names indicated as well. Isabelle Kloukowski and Jean-Claude Eger were named for "directorial
assistance" and Al Goulding had his name attached for "special directorial assistance." Too many cooks spoiled whatever broth remained for the duo. The boys inherit a ship and an island somewhere in the South Pacific, so they set out for their island. Much of their money has been taken by taxes,
and they are looking forward to cashing in on what's left. Rimoldi is a stowaway, and Elloy is a stateless Frenchman who offers to be their cook if they will let him stay on their island. As they approach the shore of the tropical paradise, the ship begins to go down in a storm. Suddenly, an atoll
emerges from the rolling sea, affording a safe haven. They begin life as a quartet of Robinson Crusoes, then Delair lands on their atoll. She's running from a jealous lover (Tosi) and seeks refuge with them. They begin their own government and declare the island a republic. Soon, they discover
that the place is a huge repository of one of the world's most important minerals--uranium. Once that word gets out, they are besieged by all of the governments of the world, and their Eden is overrun as a horde of people descend on them. It gets so dicey that the group is about to be executed (in
an unbelievable series of twists and turns) when fate takes a hand and sinks the atoll. They are rescued by a ship, Delair goes back to her boy friend, and Laurel and Hardy finally make it to their island to learn that they can never afford to pay all the inheritance taxes which still remain, and
they will never live the life that they'd hoped for.
The picture was made in 1950 and 1951, the lag in shooting due to surgery Laurel underwent in Paris. He was in pain before and after the operation. Note his grimaces in the film. The movie was known as ESCAPADE in Britain and briefly released as ROBINSON CRUSOE-LAND in the US with an
English-language narration added by Paul Frees. The entire affair was marred by a limited budget and the problems of having to deal with a crew that came from several countries. It was not distributed in the US until 1955, perhaps because the film's co-director, Berry, was alleged to be one of the
many film people who were deemed "unfriendly" by the anti-communist witch-hunters. The dubbing was awful, and many of the gags lacked the old zing. Laurel was 60 years of age when the movie was made, and Hardy was 58, so a lot of their old slapstick had to be replaced with verbal wit. Despite not
being up to the quality of much of their other work, it is still funny in spots and has a few wonderful bits.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: The final Laurel and Hardy film was a disappointment for the members of their fan club, "Sons of the Desert." Although Joannon and Berry are listed as the directors, there were three other names indicated as well. Isabelle Kloukowski and Jean-Claude Eger w… (more)