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Mandragore (1952)
"Alraune" (original title)

 |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  February 1957 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 181 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 6 critic

A scientist creates a beautiful "perfect woman", but since she is artificial, she seems soul-less and with no sense of morality, she brings ruin to all around her.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Jacob ten Brinken
Karlheinz Böhm ...
Frank Braun (as Karl Boehm)
Harry Meyen ...
Count Geroldingen
Rolf Henniger ...
Wolf Goutram (Ralph Goutram - US)
Harry Halm ...
Doctor Mohn
Hans Cossy ...
Mathieu, the coachman
Gardy Brombacher ...
Lisbeth, the maid
Trude Hesterberg ...
Fuerstin Wolkonska (Princess Wolkonski - US)
Julia Koschka ...
Olga Wolkonska (Wolkonski - US)
Denise Vernac ...
Mlle. Duvaliere, The Governess
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arno Ebert
Willem Holsboer
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Storyline

A scientist creates a beautiful "perfect woman", but since she is artificial, she seems soul-less and with no sense of morality, she brings ruin to all around her.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Born outside the laws of God and man!

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Unnatural  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Alraune (1918) See more »

Soundtracks

Heut' gefall' ich mir
Written by Werner R. Heymann and Jean Gilbert
Performed by Hildegard Knef
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hildegard Knef is an alluring femme fatale whose effect on men is deadly
11 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched the complete German-language version titled "Alraune" with English subtitles. It ran 87 minutes in what I think was a PAL version that reduced its 92 minute time by 5 minutes by running faster.

I see this film, not as a fantasy, but as film noir. Erich von Stroheim plays a doctor who has been drummed out of the profession because of his experiments, not so controversial today. He has introduced the voluntarily-donated sperm of a double murderer, about to be executed, into the uterus of some lowlife woman. This is what is called artificial insemination. This union has produced a real human being (not an artificial creature) that he raises as his daughter. This is the beautiful Hildegard Knef. He chose the parentage intentionally to see if they'd pass on their unsocial behavior genetically.

Knef is now a fully grown woman of about 20 but Stroheim tries to keep her under his thumb in a strict boarding school. She's expelled and then she starts attracting young men, namely Stroheim's nephew (Karl Bohm) and his two friends. One is an artist and the other a count. Stroheim himself seems to want her for himself and so does his associate, a middle-aged doctor who knows Stroheim's secrets. Knef is flirting with all these men and also the horse keeper employed by Stroheim. They are all falling in love with her, but when Stroheim tells Bohm about Knef's parents and background, he leaves for medical school in Paris and breaks off relations with Knef. He is the only one she truly loves, and he really loves her.

In one way or another, with her sly involvement, death starts to come to her would-be lovers. She does not know of her origin but wants to find out and eventually does. Her character is a genuine femme fatale or kind of a siren who has the capacity to lure men to their deaths without actually participating in them.

There's quite a lot of noir photography throughout this film. Since there is no outright criminal or crime but rather a series of romantic attractions and entanglements, the story plays out as a romantically-tinged psychological noir.


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