Alraune

Alraune

Deutschland 1927, Spielfilm

Inhalt

Adaption des gleichnamigen Romans von Hanns Heinz Ewers, erschienen 1911:

Professor Jakob ten Brinken hat es geschafft, künstliche Tiere zum Leben zu erwecken. Nun will der fanatische Wissenschaftler durch künstliche Befruchtung herausfinden, ob der Lebensweg eines Menschen durch seine Gene oder durch sein Umfeld bestimmt wird. Dafür verwendet er den Samen eines gehenkten Mörders und befruchtet damit eine Prostituierte. Ten Brinken sorgt für das wohlbehütete und christliche Aufwachsen des Kindes, das er als seine Nichte ausgibt. Doch trotz aller Fürsorge entwickelt sich Alraune zu einer gefühlskalten und intriganten Frau, die Männern den Kopf verdreht, um sie in den Abgrund zu treiben. Auch an ihrem "Schöpfer" nimmt sie schließlich grausame Rache.

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Poison Angel Based on the

Poison Angel

Based on the medieval legend of the Mandrake, a root, which grew beneath the gallows from the semen of hanged men, Hanns Heinz Ewers novel Alraune was brought to the screen in 1928 by Ama-Film GmbH and director Henrik Galeen (The Student of Prague 1926, Nosferatu 1922 – as screenwriter). Paul Wegener (The Golem 1920, The Magician 1926) stars as Professor Jakob ten Brinken, the "world famous authority on genetic cross-breeding", who implants a prostitute with the 'seed' of a hanged man in order to study the effects of environment over genetics on the offspring. The resulting child is Alraune, whom Brinken calls 'Mandrake', played by Brigitte Helm (Metropolis 1927, The Love of Jeanne Ney 1927). Alraune is raised in a convent, ignorant of her origins, believing Brinken is her father. Just as the Professor is convinced, his 'experiment' has overcome her genetic history she runs away with a boy and begins a life of troubled encounters with men. Helm is both innocent, alluring and at times intensely evil in this captivating performance of a lovely young girl, both attracted to and in conflict with the men in her life. As in the novel, which this film closely follows, the idea and understanding of love is unknown to Alraune. As she chats with a circus magician she shares her train compartment with, his real intentions unknown to Alraune, he entertains her with slight-of-hand tricks. He produces a live mouse that he places on her leg and it quickly crawls under her skirt as the girl calmly observes. " What? You are not afraid of mice? Little girl. You will make something of yourself." While the film was heavily censored in 1928, this surviving scene must have been, and remains today, tremendously provocative.

Brinken eventually finds Alraune, living as a circus performer, just as she rebels against the magician's attempts to control her flirtations with another man. " Stop me if you can!" In one of the most electrifying scenes in all of Weimar Cinema, Alraune opens the door to the lion's cage now on the stage and steps in. As the curtain opens, the crowd reacts in utter horror while, outside the cage, circus performers furiously run in all directions. Alraune stands before several enormous lions she teased only moments earlier, completely motionless, as the camera cuts to a close-up of her penetrating eyes.

Once they are away from the circus, Brinken determines to start a new life with the girl, but Alraune again plots to run away with another man. As she is leaving, she finds the Professor's diary and discovers the truth of her existence, "Where do I belong in society?" Alraune bitterly decides to stay with Brinken and seek her revenge, feeling unfit for the man she now loves. She tortures Brinken by constantly flirting with men. As her ultimate insult, Alraune, dressed from head to tow in shimmering silk, seduces Brinken, "Do you really think I haven't known all along that I am not your daughter?" She runs off, depriving him and the torture continues. Financially and morally destitute, Brinken confronts Alraune as she packs her bags to leave. In a harrowing scene, he chases her from room to room with a large knife. Just as her death seems imminent, Alraune is saved by her lover and Brinken is left to suffer "the hell of loneliness and insanity."

An overlooked treasure, Alraune represents the height of silent film in the Weimar era. With the exception of early scenes featuring Alraune's 'mother' and the convent, the film is entirely occupied by men, surrounding Helm like the unnoticed setting of a luminous jewel.

Credits

Regie:Henrik Galeen
Drehbuch:Henrik Galeen
Kamera:Franz Planer
Musik:Willy Schmidt-Gentner
  
Darsteller: 
Brigitte HelmAlraune
Paul WegenerProfessor ten Brinken
Iván PetrovichSein Neffe Frank Braun
Mia PankauDirne
Georg JohnMörder
Valeska GertMädchen von der Gasse
Wolfgang ZilzerWölfchen
Louis RalphZauberkünstler
Hans TrautnerDompteur
John LoderVicomte
Heinrich SchrothHerr in der Bar
Alexander SaschaHerr im Coupé
  
Produktionsfirma:Ama-Film GmbH (Berlin)

Alle Credits

Regie:Henrik Galeen
Drehbuch:Henrik Galeen
hat Vorlage:Hanns Heinz Ewers (Roman)
Kamera:Franz Planer
Standfotos:Walter Lichtenstein
Bauten:Max Heilbronner, Walter Reimann
Musik:Willy Schmidt-Gentner
  
Darsteller: 
Brigitte HelmAlraune
Paul WegenerProfessor ten Brinken
Iván PetrovichSein Neffe Frank Braun
Mia PankauDirne
Georg JohnMörder
Valeska GertMädchen von der Gasse
Wolfgang ZilzerWölfchen
Louis RalphZauberkünstler
Hans TrautnerDompteur
John LoderVicomte
Heinrich SchrothHerr in der Bar
Alexander SaschaHerr im Coupé
  
Produktionsfirma:Ama-Film GmbH (Berlin)
Aufnahmeleitung:Helmut Schreiber
Erstverleih:Ama-Film GmbH (Berlin) (und Bezirksverleiher)
Länge:7 Akte, 3302 m
Format:35mm
Bild/Ton:s/w, stumm
Prüfung/Zensur:Zensur (DE): 20.01.1928, O.00067, Jugendverbot
Aufführung:Uraufführung (DE): 25.01.1928, Berlin, Capitol [?]

Titel

Originaltitel (DE) Alraune

Fassungen

Original

Länge:7 Akte, 3302 m
Format:35mm
Bild/Ton:s/w, stumm
Prüfung/Zensur:Zensur (DE): 20.01.1928, O.00067, Jugendverbot
Aufführung:Uraufführung (DE): 25.01.1928, Berlin, Capitol [?]
 

Prüffassung

Länge:7 Akte, 3346 m
Prüfung/Zensur:Zensur (DE): 16.01.1928, B.17884, Jugendverbot