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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 157 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 5 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:

See all certifications »
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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 A Daughter of Destiny (1928) 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

Worth a look, even if only for its unusual premise.

ALRAUNE (aka UNNATURAL), is based on the popular Hanns Heinz Ewers novel. This version made in 1952, is the fifth and last version filmed. Many sources state that this film is lost in its English language version, but since the version I saw everyone spoke English, I can assure you they are wrong.

This film is unusual, if only for its premise. Erich Von Stroheim plays Ten Brinken, a scientist who has created a women by means of artificial insemination. Ten Brinken used the sperm from a hanged murderer and the egg from a prostitute. Ten Brinken raises the girl (whom he has named Alraune, German for "mandrake") as his daughter, but is convinced because she was created artificially, she will inherit all the unsavory characteristics of her "parents". Only evil will befall all those who may fall in love with her. And tragic circumstances do follow all the men she tries to fall in love with. There is an odd element thrown in which suggests Alraune has supernatural powers. She convinces Ten Brinken to by a worthless parcel of land. She then commands some workers to start digging where they discover a spring whose waters contain healing properties. Ten Brinken and a wealthy woman invest in it but the spring runs dry and Ten Brinken ends up almost financially ruined.

Despite the films very adult premise, I could not help thinking that this film has the feel of a film belonging in era much older than the 1950's. The few American critics who reviewed the film when it was released in America in 1957 also noted an old fashioned air fatalism throughout the film. Karl Boehm (later of PEEPING TOM) is convincing as the young man who falls in love with Alraune, despite being aware of her ghastly origin and is the only man Alraune finds true love. Critics said he was to naive and boyish for the part, but I think that was what was right for the role.


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