Beggars of Life Chord Challenge

What chords would you use for this tune?

This is a historical curiosity: the waltz "Beggars of Life" (by "Robinson") on the published cue sheet for the 1928 film is a completely different song than the waltz "Beggars of Life" (by Karl Hajos) that was published for sheet music and orchestra, recorded, registered for copyright, and widely cross-marketed with the film.

The cue sheet gives only the melody of this abandoned tune, and it's not immediately obvious to me what chords would go with it (though there are some clues). I came up with what I thought was a logical set of chords. But I expect other composers and musicians would come up with something different. So, I asked people to come up with ideas and submit them. (If you want to play along, don't peek at the the other solutions until you've submitted yours, and I'll post yours here too).

In the original, the chorus appears on page 1 for cue 1 and the verse on page 2 for cue 9, so I've rearranged them here to be what I consider to be the linear order.

 

Beggars of Life, Robinson

Rodney Sauer's solution:

What struck me most about this melody is that both the verse and the chorus could plausibly start in either C major or A minor. The beginning of the chorus is on an A, which is somewhat unusual for a C-major song, and could be accompanied by C6, F, Dm, or Am. Each of these choices colors the waltz differently, and I could find no good clues either way. My choice of starting the chorus on F is mostly because I like the chromatic walking bass-line I could get from it.

There are several clues in the "corrective accidentals" that help pin down some of the chords. First, in bars 5 through 7, the half-note Es are "corrected" with a natural sign, even though there's no E-flat in the key signature and (for bars 6 and 7) no E-flat in the melody in the previous bar. That made me think that the third beat of bars 5 and 6 must have had an E-flat in the accompaniment. The most logical choice would be F7, though a diminished chord or a mis-spelled B7 can also work.

Similarly, there are two "uncalled for" corrective accidentals in the bridge of the chorus, which indicate an accidental in the previous measure's chord.

So! Here's my solution as a lead sheet and as an audio file.

Beggars of Life: Sauer

Beggars of Life: Rodney Sauer

Andreas Benz's Solution:

Beggars of Life: Benz

Beggars of Life: Andreas Benz

Michael Mortilla's Solution

Beggars of Life: Mortilla

Beggars of Life: Michael Mortilla