The Harmonists

Director:Joseph Vilsmaier
Writer:Klaus Richter
Miramax/Disney Films; 114 minute; R
Cast:Ben Becker, Heino Ferch, Ulrich Noethen

From the poignant Life Is Beautiful to the sloppy Empty Mirror, Nazis are getting more and more screen time these days. As in the case of The Harmonists, that's not always a good thing. The Harmonists tells the real-life story of Harry Frommermann (played by Ulrich Noethen with a goofy amiability lifted straight from Life Is Beautiful). A struggling Jewish musician in pre-war Germany, Frommermann founds a bawdy singing group that skyrockets to international fame-just as Hitler's rise into power sparks a lethal climate of anti-Semitism. It's a sentimental period piece with lots of good singing, good humor, a dash of romance for spice, and, eventually, evil Nazi stormtroopers intent on twisting the harmonies into discord.

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