Hallelujah, I'm a Bum. 1933. USA. Directed by Lewis Milestone. Screenplay by S. N. Behrman. Story by Ben Hecht. With Al Jolson, Madge Evans, Frank Morgan, Harry Langdon. 35mm. 82 min.
Perhaps it was understandable that, in later years, Madge Evans said firmly that she didn’t miss acting. She began in show business as a child, and by the time she retired from movies, after marrying playwright Sidney Kingsley, her career had spanned about 25 years. Lewis Milestone’s gleefully bizarre musical, starring Al Jolson as Bumper, “Mayor of the Hobos,” cast Evans in a role that added some edge to the good girls she usually played. She’s June, Bumper’s amnesiac love interest, whose suicide attempt has caused her to forgot she’s really the ex-mistress of New York’s mayor (Frank Morgan). Evans’s best-known movie is probably Dinner at Eight, released the same year, but it’s Hallelujah, I’m a Bum, which flopped at the box office, that shows a livelier side to the actress.