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"The Harmonists"

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In 1927 Berlin, the legendary a cappella ensemble the Comedian Harmonists began an international career that abruptly ended seven years later; three of the vocalists, including its founder, Harry Frommermann, were Jewish. In many ways, the movie The Harmonists that German director Joseph Vilsmaier has made about these men is strictly Hollywood: The mild-mannered Harry and another singer, the blustery, cigar-chomping Biberti, are in love with the same woman; the group's rising fame is charted as if they were the Supremes; a few of the Nazis, such as the notorious Julius Streicher, are shown to have a soft spot for schmaltz; and so on. But the story of the Comedian Harmonists, who brought to the waning days of Weimar a bubbly frivolity, is a rich one. Rich enough to keep you watching and wanting to know more. The destruction of the arts in Germany by the Nazis is usually framed in terms of high culture. Here's an instance of pop culture being blown apart.


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