Unnatural; Alruane; Mandrake

2694. UNNATURAL…THE FRUIT OF EVIL (Alraune) (Mandrake) (1952-Germany). With HILDEGARDE NEFF, ERICH VON STROHEIM, CARL HEINZ BOEHM. Hildegarde Neff, known as the thinking man’s Mariene Dietrich, stars as a dangerous beauty who stands at the center of this highly atmospheric and haunting gothic melodrama. Alraune is the young woman’s name. She is a sultry-voiced temptress and shameless vixen named for the deadly mandrake root that, according to legend, flourishes beneath the hangman’s gallows. Men who love Alraune meet cruel destinies. As the plot unfolds, Alraune escapes from a convent school where she has been locked up for reading an obscene book. The Mother Superior gives Alraune’s father an ominous warning: “There is something about her that causes unrest and excitement.” Her father is Professor Ten Brinken (acted with masterful touches by Erich von Stroheim), a controversial man of science whose unnatural experiments had cost him a chair at a reputable university. The professor discovers that Alraune has been flirting with her handsome cousin, a medical student named Frank Braun. In spite of her father’s anger, Alraune continues pursuing the young man and plots with him to run off to Paris. However, the professor reveals to Frank the clandestine details of Alraune’s origins: a dark secret that causes the young man to respond in a most unlikely manner. As the puzzle of Alraune’s tainted birth becomes known, you will decide whether she is a crime against nature or simply a love-starved woman whose beguiling beauty overpowers the men who cross her path. Dubbed in English. 79 minutes. Horror