6.9/10
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27 user 8 critic

Hallelujah I'm a Bum (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 3 February 1933 (USA)
A New York tramp (Jolson) falls in love with the mayor's amnesiac girlfriend after rescuing her from a suicide attempt

Director:

Lewis Milestone

Writers:

Ben Hecht (original story), S.N. Behrman (adaptation)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Al Jolson ... Bumper
Madge Evans ... June Marcher
Frank Morgan ... Mayor John Hastings
Harry Langdon ... Egghead
Chester Conklin ... Sunday
Tyler Brooke Tyler Brooke ... Mayor's Secretary
Tammany Young ... Orlando
Bert Roach ... John
Edgar Connor Edgar Connor ... Acorn
Dorothea Wolbert ... Apple Mary
Louise Carver ... Ma Sunday
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Storyline

Bumper (Al Jolson) is a vagabond leader of a strange group of tatterdemalions and eccentrics who hang around New York's Central Park. Among his followers are Egghead (Harry Langdon), Sunday (Chester Conklin), Acorn (Edgar Conner) , The General (Victor Potel), Orlando (Tammany Young) and Apple Mary (Louise Carver). Bumper's idol is Mayor Hastings (Frank Morgan), whose life he once saved and frequently has lunch at the Park Casino. Bumper is always on hand to open the door of the Mayor's Rolls Royce, and the Mayor makes it a point to linger a moment at the entrance and listen to the whimsical Bumper's philosophy and ideas abut life. Through his contact with the Mayor, Bumper is able to "fix" things when the other vagabonds get in trouble. The Mayor cannot fathom why Bumper, an unusually bright fellow, is content to spend his life in the park, doing nothing. The Mayor, for all his power and popularity, is unhappy. He's in love ----and madly jealous. He believes his sweetheart June ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The First Picture Ever Done in "Rhythmic Dialogue!" (original poster) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 February 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

New York See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original trailer for "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" said it was the first musical to use rhyming dialogue. It wasn't: two others for which Rodgers and Hart wrote songs, "The Hot Heiress" (1931) and "Love Me Tonight" (1932), preceded it. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Alternate Versions

A re-dubbed and edited version (for UK release) called "Hallelujah, I'm A Tramp" frequently turns up on television. In this version the soundtrack is momentarily erased whenever the word 'bum' is sung! See more »

Connections

Featured in Hooray for Hollywood (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Dear June
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Sung by Al Jolson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Depression in Central Park
21 July 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Hallelujah, I'm a Bum is the only film Al Jolson did in which he eschewed his blackface completely. He should only have done it earlier and stuck to it.

This film was an experiment in something the producers call "rhyming dialog" Today I think it would be called rap. Audiences didn't really take to it in 1933, but today's audience would probably appreciate it more.

A knowledge of history would help. Until the summer of 1932, New York City had a mayor who was something of a ladies' man whose favorite nightspot was a nightclub right in Central Park. It hasn't been there since the late thirties, Tavern on the Green is a poor substitute. Mayor James J. Walker's favorite dining spot was the Central Park Casino. And many homeless and jobless lived in Central Park in their own makeshift city as the recent film Cinderella Man so aptly demonstrated to today's audience.

Frank Morgan before he became typecast as Mr. Befuddlement is the Mayor of New York. And Al Jolson is the unofficial mayor of Central Park. Through a chain of circumstances they both become involved with the same girl, Madge Evans.

Rodgers and Hart wrote two songs in addition to the rhyming dialog, the title song and You Are Too Beautiful. The latter is a nice romantic ballad that Jolson delivers well. Later on in the 1940s both Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra had primo versions of this song as well.

In Great Britain the film was released as Hallelujah I'm a Tramp because in the British Isles, the word bum has a different connotation.

It's an enjoyable film today if you can catch it by all means do so.


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