The Harmonists

The Harmonists

DVD - 2002 | German
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Based on a true story, The Harmonists portrays the rise and fall of a successful vocal group in Germany that was disbanded in 1934 as part of the mounting persecution of Jews. The Comedian Harmonists did comic and romantic songs in intricate harmony, and were extremely popular, but as the Nazis became more powerful, the group were forbidden to sing songs by Jewish composers--and finally, because three of their members were Jewish, they were banned from performing in public.

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Spiketheteacher
Mar 17, 2018

"The Harmonists" tells the story of The Comedian Harmonists, a German vocal group that was all the rage in Europe in the late 1920s - early 1930s. Mixing pop and jazz standards with folk songs and novelty numbers, they carved out a unique niche in popular music. This film chronicles how they met and formed the band and their rise to popularity. (The music you hear is from the group's actual recordings.)
Just as important is the story of their downfall; because several of the members were Jewish, the Nazi government did not approve of their presence in the group. They were forced to leave the band as the 3rd Reich consolidated power. The CHs continued on, but it wasn't the same without the original chemistry. Some left Germany for good, and the group dissolved.
I've watched this film several times (something I usually don't have the patience to do) and given it as a gift to musical family members. It's a solid film for adults and older youth (more for the length) if you're not spooked by one or two scenes with nudity or having to discuss ethnic discrimination.

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garycornell
Mar 06, 2017

"The Harmonists" is a German masterpiece of film work. It captures one of the best vocal groups of all time. The true story of how they formed and became such world renown successes is certainly inspiring. The movie has some great musical stage numbers, which are quite fun! Making people laugh and enjoy music was the name of the game for the Harmonists!

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