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The Serpent (1973)
"Le serpent" (original title)

 -  Thriller  -  November 1973 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 590 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

A Russian diplomat hatches a complicated plan to enable him to defect to the West.

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(novel), , 1 more credit »
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Title: The Serpent (1973)

The Serpent (1973) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Col. Alexei Vlassov
...
Allan Davies
...
Philip Boyle
...
Lucien Berthon
...
Tavel
...
Mrs. Annabel Lee
Guy Tréjan ...
Robert Deval
Elga Andersen ...
Kate Cross
Marie Dubois ...
Suzanne Walter
Nathalie Nerval ...
Tatiana Vlassov
André Falcon ...
French Diplomat
Robert Party ...
Debecourt
William Sabatier ...
Robert Alda ...
Polygraph interrogator
...
Jeannine Santelli
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Storyline

Vlassov (Yul Brynner) is a Soviet spy. In France, Vlassov defects. He is whisked to the U.S.A., where Allan Davies (Henry Fonda) takes over the case. After polygraph tests and cross-examinations, Vlassov names several Western European agents who are also spying for the Soviets. Davies wants to take the listed agents into custody; meanwhile, those on the list start dying under mysterious circumstances. Written by Ken Miller <wkmiller704@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

November 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night Flight from Moscow  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie's lead cast is totally cosmopolitan: Yul Brynner was Russian, Henry Fonda was American, Dirk Bogarde was English, whilst Philippe Noiret is French and Virna Lisi is Italian. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Big-name actors bogged down in a spy thriller without thrills
23 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Having finally gotten a copy of "The Serpent" with good subtitles for the parts in French, I regret to say that the IMDb reviewers here who are enthusiastic about this movie have little to be enthusiastic about; and those who pan the movie or emphasize its faults have much the better argument. This movie is really quite disappointing. It's nowhere near in the class of a really good or tense spy movie. This result has got to seem strange given the big name actors and director associated with it.

It's not a complete turkey or bomb. It couldn't be because the production values are decent and each individual actor is an interesting actor. Here we have Robert Alda as an interrogator, Yul Brynner as a defecting Russian, Henry Fonda as the head of the CIA, Farley Granger as a CIA man who makes a presentation, Dirk Bogarde as a high-up MI6 man, Michel Bouquet and Philippe Noiret as French intelligence men. What a cast, and they're all trying hard. Yet the script and/or directing doom the result. Maybe it's the casting. Maybe these actors were too big for their parts or not right for them. Noiret comes off well and so does Bouquet. Fonda's delivery is not wearing well with time. It seems both downbeat and arrogant, as if he knows everything. Brynner is always charged up, but is that a one-note that grows tiresome? He did not play his part with enough subtlety. Furthermore, we were let in on a key element too soon. Farley Granger's role is bland. Alda sounds good but looks as if he has a full hairpiece on. Bogarde comes across as too effeminate. The actual story moves by fits and starts and doesn't piece together with enough suspense. The spy gimmicks are not very enthralling, including the lie detection apparatus.

Although I think the script has problems, the same script in different hands might have worked better. It looks to me like the director intentionally wanted a mundane kind of mood in many places and overdid it needlessly. I really think this is a case where the direction brought down the story's possibilities. That combined with story issues resulted in only a passable result.


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