The Harmonists (1997)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Docudrama, Musical Drama  |   Release Date - Mar 12, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - Austria, Germany  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Synopsis by Bhob Stewart

Joseph Vilsmaier (Stalingrad and Brother of Sleep) directed this fact-based German musical drama about a popular barbershop sextet in Nazi Germany of the '30s. In 1927, musician Harry Frommermann (Ulrich Noethen), attracted to music-shop assistant Erna (Meret Becker), joins ambitious vocalist Robert Biberti (Ben Becker) in forming a vocal group with arranger Erwin (Kai Wiesinger) and Bulgarian cafe-singer Ari (Max Tidof). As their fame increases, the authorities, who object to the Jews in the group, pressure them to perform National Socialist material. Traveling to New York, they eventually must decide whether to remain in the U.S. or return to Germany. The musical numbers use digitally remastered recordings by the real-life group, and computer graphics were employed to re-create a 1934 concert aboard an aircraft carrier in New York harbor. Barry Manilow's stage musical Harmony is based on this same music group. Shown at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival.



singer, barbershop-quartet, fame, Nazism, Jewish, music