Harmonists, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

The Comedian Harmonists were one of Europes most popular acts in the 1920s and 30s. This German film with English subtitles tells their true story, from their humble beginnings to living the good life of fame and fortune. The group gets its start when Harry Frommermann (Ulrich Noethen) puts out an add for singers and ends up choosing five men. After long months of practice, the group finally feels ready to perform, and in no time, they are a hit. But, it is a time of change in Germany and the government begins to persecute Jews. This affects the Comedian Harmonists deeply; three of their six members are Jewish. They must decide how they will respond to persecution. THE HARMONISTS is an enjoyable film, and the music, dubbed from the original recordings of the group, is tremendous.

The question of whether to choose the group over individuals comes up often in the movie. The Jewish members of the group are inclined to hang around in Germany, but as the persecution gets worse, they obviously want to leave. Each member of the group has to make a decision on what to do. Their struggle is well presented. There are also some violent scenes of people getting in fights, but none of this is exploitive in any way. A few scenes take place in a brothel where the group often sings in its early days and some female nudity is present. The men are also customers of the brothel, implying that they have sex with the prostitutes who worked there but no scenes are shown. Some questionable language also occurs in the film, with 3 moderate crudities and 5 profanities. Sadly, the nudity and profanities tarnish what would have otherwise been an acceptable family film.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (4) times - Mild 1, Moderate 3

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Several (5) times - Regular 3 (My G 2, Good G 1); Exclamatory 2 (Oh God, Oh my God)

Violence: Few times Mild (people punched and slapped, man bloodied by a cut)

Sex: Few times (Implied between unmarried couples but no nudity)

Nudity: Few times (female breast and rear nudity in swimming pool and brothel, unclear full frontal female nudity in photos); Near Nudity - Few times (low cut tops, women in skimpy costumes, woman in bra, woman with robe open but no nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once (woman grabs mans genitals)

Drugs: Many times (smoking, alcohol, drugs)

Other: Men are frequent customers of brothel; racial slur against a Jew; positive theme of group being more important than the individual

Running Time: 115 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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