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Oscar Friedrich Werndorff
This 1930 version of the German fantasy classic "Alraune" is a more faithful adaptation of the book than its more famous 1928 silent film predecessor and follows very much the story line of its literary source. Brigitte Helm, one of Europe's most intriguing vamps of the 20s and early 30s this time gives a different interpretation of the same part she had in the silent version two years ago. She not only portrays Alraune, the artificially created girl who brings down men by the dozen but also her mother, a prostitute who agrees to take part in an experiment of artificial insemination and even performs as a singer in a bar reminiscent of "The blue angel" (which was produced around the same time). In this film, Alraune, when finding out about her true identity, feels remorse over her deeds and in the end commits suicide. The film, much more than the silent version, is a daring mix of sex and crime and must have been rather scandalous at its time. Oswald does an excellent job in recreating the atmosphere of Wilhelminian Germany in the beginning of the film and then creates sexual tension and suspense in the house of Professor ten Brinken, where Alraune plays around with men like the toys in her bedroom. Great performances by Albert Bassermann as her creator/ stepfather who falls for her and Harald Paulsen, who also starred in Oswalds horror classic "Unheimliche Geschichten". Another classic from the rich period of German cinema before 1933 and a film that could never have been made that way in Hollywood.
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