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Hallelujah, I'm a Bum

1933 1h 22m Musical Comedy List
88% Tomatometer 8 Reviews 67% Audience Score 250+ Ratings
Bumper (Al Jolson) is a carefree hobo in New York City during the Great Depression who would rather be homeless than work. When he saves June Marcher (Madge Evans) from committing suicide, he feels a sense of pride. June takes to Bumper, having lost her memory of her past life and suicide attempt. As she starts to recover her memories, she realizes she loves the mayor, John Hastings (Frank Morgan). Although Bumper has feelings for her, he ultimately wants her to be happy. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (8) Critics Reviews
Pare Lorentz Vanity Fair The moral, which I meant to put briefly, is that even popular music should be presented by people who genuinely like and understand music. Jun 5, 2019 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews A whimsical, offbeat and somewhat original Depression-era musical comedy. Rated: B Oct 10, 2009 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 3/5 Aug 4, 2005 Full Review Steve Crum Kansas City Kansan Jolson's best acting; great Rodgers & Hart score; quirky rhymed dialogue Rated: 5/5 Oct 23, 2004 Full Review Daniel M. Kimmel Worcester Telegram & Gazette Rated: 4/5 Jan 30, 2004 Full Review Ken Hanke Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) Even things that are more jarring than effective -- school children and teachers singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" with a cut on every syllable -- are unforgettable. Rated: 4.5/5 Oct 19, 2003 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (19) audience reviews
Denny S One of Jolson's best film performances and some would argue THE best. No dated blackface, just straight Jolson playing a happy-go-lucky bum who lives in Central Park who occasionally breaks out in songs written for the film by Rogers and Hart in a film directed by Lewis Milestone. The real mayor of New York knows him and greats him with "Well, how's the mayor of Central Park today?". As an added treat, Harry Langdon has a small part as a Marxist street sweeper! All in all, this is a wonderful film and certainly worth viewing to hear Jolson sing ("live" for the most part, not lip synched) and for a window into the world of New York City during the depression. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/29/24 Full Review Audience Member The best musical comedy movie ever made! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Audience Member A unique & creaky early sound depression era musical that was somewhat of a comeback for Al Johnson star of the Jazz Singer 1927. The story of happy go lucky bum that has no issues with Skid Row since he is making the best of it. Everything changes when he unintentionally falls for bosses gal. Filled with many technical breakthroughs & despite its stage based dialogue it's an interesting film since few films focused on the depression whilst the nation was in it. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Jolson's most unusual film is an uneven satire with rhymed dialogue by Rodgers & Hart (who also have cameos in the movie). Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member A whimsical, offbeat and somewhat original Depression-era musical comedy Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member A curious musical unlike any other stars Jolson as a happy-go-lucky hobo more than content to spend his days (with others of his ilk) both unemployed and unattached in the park. However, after saving a beautiful woman from killing herself (only to discover she now has amnesia) Jolson (or 'Bumper' as his character is called) turns over a new leaf, cleans up, gets a job and forgoes his old way. Little does he know the object of his affection is actually in love with his best friend - the Mayor of New York - who is likewise pining for her return. Sing-song, rhyming dialogue throughout, silent stars getting exposure in 'talkies', inventive camera angles - Hallelujah, I'm a Bum is a unique slice of old Hollywood long-faded, but one still bright enough to shine through on the small screen. A Depression-era gem with socialist overtones - not to mention an appearance by the Wizard of Oz himself, Frank Morgan (six years prior to his famous role). Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Hallelujah, I'm a Bum

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Bumper (Al Jolson) is a carefree hobo in New York City during the Great Depression who would rather be homeless than work. When he saves June Marcher (Madge Evans) from committing suicide, he feels a sense of pride. June takes to Bumper, having lost her memory of her past life and suicide attempt. As she starts to recover her memories, she realizes she loves the mayor, John Hastings (Frank Morgan). Although Bumper has feelings for her, he ultimately wants her to be happy.
Director
Lewis Milestone
Producer
Lewis Milestone
Production Co
United Artists
Genre
Musical, Comedy
Original Language
English
Release Date (DVD)
Feb 5, 2002
Runtime
1h 22m