THE HARMONISTS Send This Review to a Friend
The true story of Germany's famous Comedian Harmonists, a
talented ensemble of six male vocalists, is at the root of Joseph Vilsmaier's film, which
portrays the group's rise to fame in the 1920s and subsequent demise when it became
necessary to flee from Hitler's Germany and menacing anti-semitism.
(It's interesting that a play, "Band in Berlin," based on the same saga, is opening in
The subject matter gives the film weight and the close harmony singing that
characterized the group adds enjoyment. In some respects the film is reminiscent of the
typical musical biographies that Hollywood once churned out. The stakes are higher here,
but the relationships smack of cliches such as competition for the same woman.
Although three of the group are Jewish, for a time the Harmonists escape persecution
because of their immense popularity, even with Nazi leaders. But eventually the
repression catches up with them. Some of the dramatics seem far-fetched and contrived,
but the film has an overall aura of reality and emerges as a reminder of the cultural toll
taken by Nazism, aside from the horrors of the Holocaust. A Miramax release.