They throw themselves into their rehearsals, full of ehthusiasm. Months pass, relationships within the group are not without their share of tension but, finally they make their long-awaited break-through. "The Comedian Harmonists” as they are now known, are booked for a concert. Their appearance is a resounding success and the group soon shoots to fame. In no time the Comedian Harmonists are touring all over Europe; everywhere they go, they succeed in delighting and moving their audiences. Their sudden fame makes them just a bit too careless, however, and they refuse to see the threat posed by the changing political situation. Even after Hitler's seizure of power they neglect to take any kind of precautionary measures to make sure they can leave the country, refusing to believe that the government's now official anti-semitic doctrine could effect them. And this in spite of the fact that Frornmermann, Cycowksi and Collin are all three of Jewish descent .
"Already a local box-office winner when it screened in the New German Cinema section at the Berlin Film Festival, Comedian Harmonists is a biopic in the style of a fifties Hollywood musical. Originally a stage play, the film is based on a true story, charting the rise and fall of a hugely popular barbershop sextet whose members fell victim to anti-Semitism and the rise of the Nazi Party in thirties Germany. The period covered is from 1927, when the group was first formed, and takes in its success, followed by pressure from the authorities to drop the three Jewish members and sing a few pro-Nazi songs, through to the decision - after an emotional farewell concert - to relocate to the United States.
Miramax picked up US rights almost immediately, and there has also been talk of an American remake.
1988 - HERBSTMILCH
1990 - RAMA DAMA
1992 - STALINGRAD
1994 - CHARLIE & LOUISE - DAS DOPPELTE LOTTCHEN
1993 - SCHLAFES BRUDER
1996 - UND KEINER WEINT MIR NACH
1997 - COMEDIAN HARMONISTS
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Joseph Vilsmaier
Written by: Klaus Richter
Produced by: Reinhard Klooss, Danny Krausz, Hanno Huth
Cinematography: Joseph Vilsmaier
Editing: Peter Adam
Production Design: Rolf Zehetbauer
Costume Design: Ute Hofinger
Hair & Make-up: Heiner Niehues
Main Cast: Ben Becker (Robert Biberti), Heino Ferch (Roman Cycowski), Ulrich Noethen (Harry Frommermann), Heinrich Schafmeister (Erich A. Collin), Max Tidof (Ari Leschnikoff), Kai Wiesinger (Erwin Bootz)
Nominations and Awards
- European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 1998
- EFA Feature Film Selection 1998