B’NAI SHOLOM TO SCREEN BIOPIC “THE HARMONISTS”

Harmonist coverB’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany will present a screening of “The Harmonists,” a biopic that tells the story of the famous pre-war German close-harmony vocal group “Comedian Harmonists.”

“The Harmonists” will be shown Saturday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. at B’nai Sholom, 420 Whitehall Road, Albany, New York.  Refreshments will be available.  Suggested contribution: $5.

The 114-minute film is in German with English subtitles.

In 1927, in Weimar-era Germany, a young unemployed Jewish musician, Harry Frommermann, hears a recording of an African-American jazz group named the Revellers.  Entranced by their music, he is inspired to form a German musical group that would sing in the same style.  With the help of a brash and confident bass singer, Robert Biberti, they recruit four other musicians, and succeed in forming the Comedian Harmonists group – five singers and a piano player.  After some difficulties, they find just the right style and sound and become wildly successful throughout Europe.

An important subplot of the film involves the tensions that develop among the six musicians as they travel together – most significantly the fact that both Harry and Robert love the same woman.  While the group is becoming more successful, German society is changing as the Nazis come to power.  Since half of the musicians are Jewish, the Comedian Harmonists will face all sorts of problems. Eventually the group is forced to disband.

Directed by Joseph Vilsmaier, this R-rated movie was highly acclaimed in Europe when it was released in 1997, but not many people have seen it here in the United States.  A particularly impressive feature of this film is the use of digitally remastered 1930s recordings to accurately convey the actual sound of the group.

For more information, visit www.bnaisholomalbany.org  or contact the B’nai Sholom office at 518-482-5283 or office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us.