The Comedian Harmonists were a popular German sextet of the late '20s/early '30s specialising in sentimental or smutty ditties (inventively arranged) with titles like 'My Little Green Cactus'. A showbiz saga with grisly historical trimmings, the film recounts the assembling of the poverty-stricken musicians during the Depression, their initial setbacks and eventual success; followed by personal tensions, exacerbated by the Nazi ascendancy - half the group being Jews - and their final break-up. It ought to be fascinating, and there are intriguing sidelights: their fans, embarrassingly, numbered the prominent anti-Semite Julius Streicher. But it's relentlessly routine, both on the personal and political level, though the director's affection for the Harmonists' music certainly comes across.
Cast and crew
Klaus Richter, Ulrich Limmer, Alfred Holighaus