Most men have a certain set of values. Once these values are decided it can be very hard to convert them. The film Hallelujah, I'm a Bum portrays many different ideas of virtue. However, this movie shows how money can lead a man to abandon these values.
The mayor displays a splendid example of how this may occur. Once he became the mayor his top priority was to look good in the eyes of the public in order to keep his job, which held him at a superior standard of living. This is shown when he goes on vacation from work to shoot a duck (out of season) in order to get a handsome snapshot of himself for the newspaper. Improving the condition of the city did not appear to be one of the mayor's chief interests. When he was scheduled to lay the cornerstone of a new school, he acted as if it was a burden by trying to cancel his appearance so he could spend leisure time at the casino.
After he was forced to go by his secretary, he showed up two hours late to the event. The mayor also gave $1000 to capture the heart of June but she dropped her purse, losing the gift. The mayor dismissed her from his life because he thought that she gave it to another man again. After, the mayor went into a drunken rage and June attempted suicide.
Bumper also surrendered his values when money became a large factor in his life. Originally, he lived a simple, but happy, layback lifestyle as a bum in the park. He preached to the other bums of the park about maintaining this lifestyle and not to engage in capitalist ways. Yet, when he finds the need to provide June with a financially comfortable life, his morals go down the toilet. He found himself too busy at his new job in the bank to worry about hanging out with his bum friends in the park. He rambled on to June about all the fancy items that he will have (which he never worried about before) if he continues to move up in position. He even scolds his best friend, Acorn, for not doing his job efficiently at the bank. Previous to earning his job, he always treated Acorn with respect and understanding.
The mayor ignored his morals in order to preserve a comfortable style of living. He no longer trusted the woman he loved and transformed into a drunk. June attempted to commit suicide. Bumper abandoned his style of living, all his beliefs, and friends in the park. He even let down his greatest follower, Acorn. This was all a result of money.
Works Cited Hallelujah, I'm a Bum. Dir. Louis Milestone. Perf. Al Jolson, Frank Morgan, Marge Evans, and Harry Langdon. United Artists, 1933.