Unnatural…The Fruit of Evil (1952)

(a.k.a. ALRAUNE)
Article #1293 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-28-2004
Posting Date: 2-25-2005
Directed by Arthur Maria Rabenault
Featuring Hildegard Knef, Erich von Stroheim, Karlheinz Bohm

Several men fall in love with a woman who is believed to be the daughter of a noted professor, though in truth he created her through a process of artificial insemination.

It’s a bit of a shame that this version of the story is the easiest one to find; it’s okay, but it’s somewhat uninspired and can’t hold a candle to the 1928 version with Paul Wegener and Brigitte Helm. On the plus side, it has Erich von Stroheim in the role of the professor, and he’s always fun to watch. It also has some nice moments here and there, and the ending (which is very different from, though more conventional than the one in the Helm/Wegener version) is good. Still, it comes across for the most part as a rather uninvolving soap opera, and has none of the visual splendor of that earlier version. The dubbing doesn’t help much, either, and my somewhat ragged print (which is short of the running time by 13 minutes) is a definite minus. If you can find it, opt for the 1928 version.

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