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Alraune (1930)

A scientist, Professor Jakob ten Brinken, interested in the laws of heredity, impregnates a prostitute in a laboratory with the semen of a hanged murderer. The prostitute conceives a female... See full summary »

Director:

Richard Oswald
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A mad scientist "creates" a beautiful but demonic woman, the result of a forced sexual union between a woman and a mandrake root, a plant said to have magical powers due to its uncanny resemblance to the human body.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Brigitte Helm ... Alraune ten Brinken / Alma, a bar girl
Albert Bassermann ... Privy Councillor ten Brinken
Harald Paulsen ... Frank Braun, his nephew
Adolf E. Licho Adolf E. Licho ... Attorney-at-law Manasse
Agnes Straub Agnes Straub ... Fuerstin Wolkonski
Bernhard Goetzke ... Dr. Petersen
Martin Kosleck ... Wolfgang Petersen
Käthe Haack ... Frau Raspe, the housekeeper
Ivan Koval-Samborsky ... Raspe, the chauffeur
Liselotte Schaak ... Olga Wolkonski
Paul Westermeier ... Von Walter, Olga's fiancé
Henry Bender Henry Bender ... The innkeeper
Elsa Bassermann ... A lady
Wilhelm Bendow Wilhelm Bendow
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Storyline

A scientist, Professor Jakob ten Brinken, interested in the laws of heredity, impregnates a prostitute in a laboratory with the semen of a hanged murderer. The prostitute conceives a female child who has no concept of love, whom the professor adopts. The girl, Alraune, suffers from obsessive sexuality and perverse relationships throughout her life. She learns of her unnatural origins and she avenges herself against the professor. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

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Genres:

Sci-Fi

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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

4 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Daughter of Evil See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Richard-Oswald-Produktion See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of A Daughter of Destiny (1928) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Early Sci-Fi with Artificial Rats and Artificial People
22 July 2017 | by brandinscottlindseySee all my reviews

Alraune is a 1930 German film with elements of science fiction and drama. The story follows a scientist, Privy Councillor ten Brinken, who discovers how to create artificial life, which is basically artificial insemination. After successfully creating dozens of "artificial rats", ten Brinken's ambition drives him to attempt to create an "artificial human". The Privy Councillor then raises his creation under the guise of an adopted niece.

Alraune has a fascinating plot and is a great example of an early science fiction film. The first act will draw you in as your imagination runs wild wondering could possibly happen next. The words used to send ten Brinken to conduct such an experiment, "Do you want someone else to beat you to it?" is an excellent motivation for the character. This removes some of the malice from his deeds and adds a tragic element to the whole affair. Wanting to be the best is a motivation anyone can relate to, especially when it is related to work or academia. But how far will you go to achieve such heights?

Despite how interesting the first act is, the film slows to a boring halt afterward. By the end of the movie, it is unclear exactly what the conflict of the story was. You would think that the bulk of the premise would be the main character's conflict with her identity, or something related. Or perhaps diving further into the Privy Councillor's other "expensive experiments". Instead, something intriguing happens in the beginning of the story, and that's really all there is to it. The film starts very strong but begins to atrophy after the first few scenes. There are a few spots of bad acting, but not enough to ruin a scene. For example, you may see the "stink- eye" or "hands-on- hips" type of overacting from a few of the supporting characters. Lastly, I found it difficult to keep track of which character was which. There is little character development before the film leaps forward seventeen years, leaving the viewer somewhat confused in the new setting.

Despite some of these flaws, Alraune is an intriguing film. The first act is fantastic, not to mention how interesting some of the scientific ideas are. There are many fun directions the film can go after the third act, leaving you with plenty of thriller/science fiction ideas of your own. Anyone interested in these genres will find plenty to like in this film.


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