Small time con artist Lefty Merrill has co-organized a crooked dance marathon and set-up his girlfriend to win the prize money. When his partner disappears with money before the contest is ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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 »
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 »
Ethnic parity here; Jolson turns away from black-face "mammy'isms"
I can't think of an earlier film example of ethnic parity than Al Jolson's "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum", 1933. It's a fun musical (with bit parts played by composers, Rodgers and Hart) and co-starring Harold Lloyd and Frank Morgan. Lots of delightful rhyming dialogue. Among Depression era musicals, it's an oddity in that it doesn't dodge the poverty issue, yet remains light-hearted while dishing out the political/economic statements. I particularly liked the bank sequence where the camera tracks from the entrance, through the bank and ends behind the tellers' cages. It begins with a pair of big-wheeling businessmen discussing a deal involving an immense fortune. As successive conversations are overheard, the monies involved become smaller and more paltry. A guy can't get a loan for some small pittance. Finally one teller asks another for a measly buck is it just a dime?], and his buddy says he hasn't got one to give (this teller played by lyricist, Lorenz Hart).
Anyway, I'm off the point of the introductory statement: Jolson's the unofficial "mayor of Central Park" -- a leader amongst all the hoboes living there. And his best friend, his friend mind you -- not some Rochester-style servant, not some lackey -- his FRIEND, who alone can get in his face to defy him when none of the other bums can -- his friend is an African-American wonderfully played by Edgar Connor.
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