IMDb > Hallelujah I'm a Bum (1933)

Hallelujah I'm a Bum (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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Ben Hecht (original story)
S.N. Behrman (adaptation)
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Release Date:
3 February 1933 (USA) See more »
The First Picture Ever Done in "Rhythmic Dialogue!" (original poster) See more »
A New York tramp (Jolson) falls in love with the mayor's amnesiac girlfriend after rescuing her from a suicide attempt | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
HALLELUJAH I'M A BUM (Lewis Milestone, 1933) ***1/2 See more (24 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Al Jolson ... Bumper

Madge Evans ... June Marcher

Frank Morgan ... Mayor John Hastings
Harry Langdon ... Egghead
Chester Conklin ... Sunday
Tyler Brooke ... Mayor's Secretary
Tammany Young ... Orlando
Bert Roach ... John
Edgar Connor ... Acorn
Dorothea Wolbert ... Apple Mary
Louise Carver ... Ma Sunday
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vince Barnett
Heinie Conklin

Gino Corrado
Bodil Rosing
Sidney Skolsky
Ernie Adams ... Man thrown out of Apartment Building (uncredited)
Ted Billings ... Bum with Violin (uncredited)
John George ... Bum (uncredited)
Harold Goodwin ... Len (uncredited)
Lorenz Hart ... Bank Teller (uncredited)
Robert Homans ... Cop (uncredited)
Burr McIntosh ... Dignitary at Laying of Cornerstone (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Waiter (uncredited)
Victor Potel ... The General (uncredited)
Richard Rodgers ... Photograper's Assistant (uncredited)
Billy West ... Bum (uncredited)
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Directed by
Lewis Milestone 
Writing credits
Ben Hecht (original story)

S.N. Behrman (adaptation)

Produced by
Joseph M. Schenck .... executive producer
Original Music by
Alfred Newman (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Lucien N. Andriot  (as Lucien Andriot)
Film Editing by
W. Duncan Mansfield 
Art Direction by
Richard Day 
Costume Design by
Milo Anderson 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nate Watt .... assistant director
Sound Department
Oscar Lagerstrom .... sound
Music Department
Alfred Newman .... musical director
Ray Heindorf .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
V.L. McFadden .... technical director
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Lazy Bones" - USA (reissue title)
"The Heart of New York" - USA (reissue title)
See more »
82 min | USA:68 min (re-release)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Did You Know?

Roland Young was originally cast as Mayor Hastings and filmed almost all the character's scenes, but he fell ill and had to be replaced by Frank Morgan.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: A cameraman's arm is reflected in the partially opened window of the Mayor's limousine when the Mayor meets Bumper at the casino.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Going Hollywood: The '30s (1984)See more »
My Pal BumperSee more »


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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
HALLELUJAH I'M A BUM (Lewis Milestone, 1933) ***1/2, 18 September 2006
Author: MARIO GAUCI ( from Naxxar, Malta

I'm not much of a fan of musicals but have always been partial to the stylish, sophisticated and sometimes dazzlingly experimental examples of the genre that emanated during the early years of Talkies - the Lubitsch films, Rouben Mamoulian's LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932) and also the delightful French films of Rene' Clair.

To these I can now add this Al Jolson vehicle directed by one of the great exponents of American cinema (at his best during the 1930s, though he continued to work steadily till 1962). This was only my 3rd Jolson film - not counting THE JOLSON STORY (1946), the first of two biopics made while he was still living!; the others were his history-making debut THE JAZZ SINGER (1927), the pioneering Sound picture, and ROSE OF WASHINGTON SQUARE (1939) - actually, his penultimate film, by which time he had been relegated to supporting roles!

Anyway, the film under review here is something of an oddity in that, not only does it present such humdrum fare as the Great Depression through the eyes of a cheerful tramp and his 'colleagues', but it also makes use of rhyming dialogue (whch in the trailer included on the DVD is ballyhooed as a new fad, but it obviously couldn't last!) which was perhaps intended as a natural lead into the songs; in fact, rather than by official screenwriter S.N. Behrman (adapting a Ben Hecht story), these lines were written by lyricist Lorenz Hart! Unfortunately, however, the print utilized for the MGM/UA DVD is quite battered with the soundtrack coming off rather muffled as a consequence!!

Still, its essential quality remains intact: while the plot may seem dated and even fanciful today (both its romanticized view of unemployment and the hero's eventual decision to 'reform' on account of a woman), atmosphere and characterization are as charming as ever: Jolson, dubbed by his cronies "The Mayor Of Central Park" truly comes off as larger-than-life here, but he's matched by the great Silent comedian Harry Langdon (in his only notable Talkie role) - as one of Jolson's pals, a politically-savvy street-cleaner named Egghead(!) who's picked on by the other tramps because he has a job - and Frank Morgan as the real Mayor of New York (whose life Bumper, the Jolson character, had saved during a protest).

The film also involves a three-way romance between Jolson, Morgan and lovely leading lady Madge Evans: she's the latter's girlfriend but, having incurred his distrust, leaves him intent on committing suicide; she's saved by Jolson and, now an amnesiac, Evans is cared for by him who, in order to pay the rent of her new lodgings, even asks his friend Morgan for a job in a bank!; however, noticing Morgan's own concern about his missing girlfriend, Jolson tries to console him...until he realizes just who she is, after which he decides to re-unite the two of them and himself goes happily back to a life on the streets!

Many films have dealt with the theme of the Great Depression but this one's certainly its most original treatment while also being, along with the marvelous screwball comedy MY MAN GODFREY (1936), one of the very best.

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