Hallelujah I'm a Bum [VHS]
Top Customer Reviews
In 1932, director Rouben Mamoulian at Paramount made LOVE ME TONIGHT - and why hasn't THAT film ever come out on video? - and Lewis Milestone at United Artists made BUM. Ironically, both films had scores written by Rogers and Hart. Filming of the Mamoulian project, starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, seems to have gone smoothly enough. But BUM seemed to be a jinxed film from the start. Roland Young originally played the mayor but became sick or otherwise unavailable so his many scenes had to be refilmed with Frank Morgan in the role.
Evidently, BUM was completed in 1932, but preview audience reactions were so bad, major refilming was needed. It sounds like a nightmare. When the second version was finally released in 1933, it was a commercial failure and UA and Al Jolson agreed to drop plans for two more films.
None of these problems are apparent watching the film today. The film is fresh and inventive and for once Jolson has plenty of elbow room to sing his heart out. Even his acting, a weak point in all Jolson films, is quite good here. Jolson complained that Milestone made him repeat scenes endlessly but the director seems to have been getting the self-consciousness out of Jolson's acting style. It worked!Read more ›
Director Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front) also makes this one of the most purely cinematic musicals of the 30s. From the rapid-fire cuts to the virtuoso camera angles and tracking shots, Hallelujah I'm a Bum is a feast for the eyes. The DVD transfer does full justice to the film's visual qualities with an excellent picture quality.
But given that 3/4 of the movie consists of Rodgers and Hart's wonderful score, it's a pity that MGA/UA has over-processed the sound on the DVD. Apparently in an effort to reduce any hint of tape hiss, the soundtrack has gone through a noise reduction process that removes the high frequencies and results in a deadened, distorted sound compared to the earlier VHS and laserdisc releases. Hart's great rhyming couplets just don't sound the same!
If you have the excellent laserdisc edition of Hallelujah I'm A Bum, you can skip the DVD release. If you have the VHS edition and are looking for better picture AND sound quality, you'll get only one of those ingredients here.
Bumper (Al Jolson) is a cheerful, resourceful bum, the leader of the Central Park lay-abouts. He has his standards, too. His friends call him the Mayor of Central Park, and among those friends is Mayor Hastings, the real mayor of New York City. Hastings keeps a mistress, June Marsden (Madge Evans), whom through a mistaken series of events he believes is being unfaithful. She tries to explain, he says he no longer wants to see her, and so she wanders to Central Park, jumps off the bridge into the lake and is rescued by Bumper. She has amnesia. Bumper falls for her, and falls hard. He even gets a job at a bank so he can take care of her. But Hastings realizes how much he loves June and how wrong he was about her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Slowly I am filling the empty spots in my early film collection. This selection is a very happy addition. Quality of the DVD is better than I could have hoped for. Thanks kindly.Published 5 months ago by Pastor Biscuits
Great old-OLD school musical. Yes it is very creaky and dated, and at times, it's flat-out racist (at least Jolson's not in blackface). Read morePublished 9 months ago by HarpoSpeaks
There are films that stand the test of time and those that fail. Similarly there are personalities that show up well on film and others that don’t. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dr. James Gardner
Seller did exactly as promised. Product as described. Very happy. Would buy again.Published 17 months ago by Larry
An enjoyable movie although there are spurts where the talk-singing seems to drag the narrative. One would expect a film showcasing Al Jolson singing to have him do grand scale... Read morePublished 18 months ago by babyboomerlarry
One of his better old movies.I 'v watched it a few times.would recommend it to fans, good to see familiar older stars tooPublished on February 16, 2013 by Diane Patton
This video really addresses the United States "today". Barack needs to watch this video and closely listen to the words being spoken about entitlements. Read morePublished on January 19, 2013 by John S.
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