This 1930 version (also known as The Daughter of Evil) of the German fantasy classic “Alraune” is a more faithful adaptation of the book than its more famous 1928 silent film predecessor and follows very much the story line of its literary source. Brigitte Helm, one of Europe’s most intriguing vamps of the 20s and early 30s this time gives a different interpretation of the same part she had in the silent version two years ago. She not only portrays Alraune, the artificially created girl who brings down men by the dozen but also her mother, a prostitute who agrees to take part in an experiment of artificial insemination and even performs as a singer in a bar reminiscent of “The blue angel” (which was produced around the same time). In this film, Alraune, when finding out about her true identity, feels remorse over her deeds and in the end commits suicide. The film, much more than the silent version, is a daring mix of sex and crime and must have been rather scandalous at its time. Oswald does an excellent job in recreating the atmosphere of Wilhelminian Germany in the beginning of the film and then creates sexual tension and suspense in the house of Professor ten Brinken, where Alraune plays around with men like the toys in her bedroom. —trocadero.com
Richard Oswald was born November 5, 1880 in Vienna. Son to a wealthy businessman, he pursued a career in the theatre, and from 1907 on, he was writing and directing plays in Vienna. After falling victim to Anti-Semitic attacks, he moved to Düsseldorf and worked as an stage actor. In 1911, he appeared in two films of Reinhard Bruck and subsequently established himself as a successful writer for the new medium with the crime caper “Der Hund von Baskerville”.
In the wake of WWI, Oswald debuted as a director and his feature “Das eiserne Kreuz” marked the first of many encounters with state censorship. He was hired as a director and author by the Greenbaum-Film GmbH, where he continued his popular “Baskerville”-series. He created the character of German detective Engelbert Fox and directed “Hoffmans Erzählungen”, which saw the screen debut of Werner Krauß.
In 1916, Oswald founded the Richard Oswald-Film-Gesellschaft, which produced and released literature adaptations and detective… read more