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The Serpent (1973) Poster

(1973)

Trivia

Dirk Bogarde worked for just 5 days on this.
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The date in which the most sophisticated and deadly spy network in the world advised the President of the United States to step outside all legal channels to preserve the security of the country was 15th October 1972. The date in which they thought they may have made an incredible mistake was 15th September 1973.
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According to "Film Review 1974-1975", this film is "based on the famous Philby spy case ... [and was] ... a parallel to the famous Philby spy case".
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This film's opening prologue states: "That which enables a wise ruler and a good general to strike, to conquer and to attain goals beyond the reach of ordinary mortals is "Prior Knowledge" SUN TSU (5th Century B.C.). Some versions of this movie feature the following title card addenda to this movie's prologue: "In the modern world, this 'prior knowledge' is synonymous with 'Secret Services'. Novelists call it...'Espionage'."
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In this movie actor Yul Brynner plays Russian Colonel Alexei Vlassov. As such, Brynner plays a character of his own nationality. Brynner's full birth name was Yuli Borisovich Bryner.
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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.
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This film was made and released about two years after its source French novel "Le 13e suicidé" (English translation: "The Thirteenth Who Committed Suicide") by Pierre Nord was first published in 1971.
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Spy agencies featured in this film include the CIA, KGB, MI6, the French and the West German intelligence services.
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In addition to the parallels between MI6's Philip Boyle in the film and Kim Philby in real life, there is another parallel between the head of the CIA characters. The name of the Director of the CIA in the film, Allan Davies, seems to be a tribute to Allen Dulles, who in real life was the Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961. Beside their names, the resemblance of facial lines of these two men is remarkable as well.
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