Film Info: Comedian Harmonists

Comedian Harmonists

Comedian Harmonists

In 1927, the 20-year-old Berlin drama student Harry Frommermann makes up his mind to found a German singing group modelled on the feted American a-capella formation "The Revellers". He places an advertisement and, very soon, he is snowed under with candidates. After initial difficulties, the band's first appearance is a great success. A German tour follows and it's not long before the Comedian Harmonists are on every-body's lips. But the enormous success makes the young men blind to the changing political situation. None of the six wants to take Hitler's rise to power seriously although three members of the troupe are Jews... Six men, six voices, six fates - Joseph Vilsmaier's film version of the rise and fall of the legendary Berlin ensemble Comedian Harmonists who started an international career at the end of the20s and fell victim to the National Socialist racial policy only a few years later.


Joseph Vilsmaier was born in 1939 and grew up in Munich and Pfarrkirchen. He undertook an apprenticeship at ARRI from 1953 to 1961 and studied Music at the Munich Conservatory. In 1961, he became a camera assistant at Bavaria and has been a director of photography since 1972. He made his directorial debut in 1988 with AUTUMN MILK (HERBSTMILCH), followed by RAMA DAMA (1990), STALINGRAD (1992), CHARLIE & LOUISE (1993), BROTHER OF SLEEP (SCHLAFES BRUDER, 1995), COMEDIAN HARMONISTS (1997), MARLENE (1999),LEO & CLAIRE (2001), ROCK CRYSTAL (BERGKRISTALL, 2004), THE LAST TRAIN (DER LETZTE ZUG, 2006), DIE GESCHICHTE VOM BRANDNER KASPAR (2008), and NANGA PARBAT (2009).
Genre Music
Category Feature
Year of Production 1997
Director Joseph Vilsmaier
Screenplay Klaus Richter
Cinematography Joseph Vilsmaier
Peter R. Adam
Harald Kloser
Cast Kai Wiesinger, Jürgen Schornagel, Heino Ferch, Ben Becker, Katja Riemann, Otto Sander, Heinrich Schafmeister, Ulrich Noethen, Max Tidolf, Meret Becker, Dana Vávrová, Rolf Hoppe, Günter Lamprecht, Noemi Fischer
Producer Joseph Vilsmaier
Production Company Perathon Film/Munich, in co-production with Senator Film Produktion, Iduna Film/Munich, Bavaria Film/Geiselgasteig, Televersal/Hamburg, Dor Film/Vienna, ORF/Vienna
Length 127 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Dolby SRD
Festivals Berlin 1998 (German Films), Karlovy Vary 1998, Jerusalem 1998, Pusan 1998, Warsaw 1998, Mar del Plata 1998
Awards German Film Award 1998
With backing from German Federal Film Board, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Oesterreichisches Film Institut, Wiener Filmfinanzierungs Fonds, BMI
German Distributor Senator Film Verleih/Berlin

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