6.7/10
4,071
26 user 28 critic

The Serpent's Egg (1977)

Following the suicide of his beloved brother and deaths of even the most distant acquaintances, Abel Rosenberg attempts to discover the truth while facing depression, alcoholism, and anti-semitism.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Face to Face (1976)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A sensitive exploration of the tragic irony of the psychiatrist suffering with mental illness. Dr. Jenny Isaksson is a psychiatrist married to another psychiatrist; both are successful in ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Aino Taube
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Andreas, a man struggling with the recent demise of his marriage and his own emotional isolation, befriends a married couple also in the midst of psychological turmoil. In turn he meets ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow
Shame (1968)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In the midst of a civil war, former violinists Jan and Eva Rosenberg, who have a tempestuous marriage, run a farm on a rural island. In spite of their best efforts to escape their homeland, the war impinges on every aspect of their lives.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow, Sigge Fürst
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The devil has a stye in his eye, caused by the purity of a vicar's daughter. To get rid of it, he sends Don Juan up from hell to seduce the 20 year old Britt-Marie and to rob her of her ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Jarl Kulle, Bibi Andersson, Stig Järrel
The Magic Flute (TV Movie 1975)
Comedy | Fantasy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Queen of the Night offers her daughter Pamina to Tamino, but he has to bring her back from her father and priest Sarastro. She gives a magic flute to Tamino and magic bells to the bird ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ulrik Cold, Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Scenes from a Marriage chronicles the many years of love and turmoil that bind Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson) through matrimony, infidelity, divorce, and subsequent partners.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson
The Touch (1971)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A seemingly happy Swedish housewife and mother begins an adulterous affair with a foreign archaeologist who is working near her home. But he is an emotionally scarred man, a Jewish survivor... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Elliott Gould, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow
Saraband (TV Movie 2003)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Marianne, some thirty years after divorcing Johan, decides to visit her ex-husband at his summer home. She arrives in the middle of a family drama between Johan's son from another marriage and his granddaughter.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Börje Ahlstedt
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Made during Bergman's tax-related exile in Germany, the film continues the story of Katarina and Peter EGermann, the feuding, childless, professional couple who appear in one episode of "... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Robert Atzorn, Christine Buchegger, Martin Benrath
Autumn Sonata (1978)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A married daughter who longs for her mother's love is visited by the latter, a successful concert pianist.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann, Lena Nyman
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

The pretentious critic Cornelius is writing a biography on a famous cellist and to do some research he goes to stay in his house for a few days. He doesn't manage to get an interview with ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Eva Dahlbeck
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Manuela Rosenberg
...
...
Inspector Bauer (as Gert Froebe)
...
Hans Vergerus
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Toni Berger ...
Mr. Rosenberg
...
Student
Paula Braend ...
Mrs. Hemse
Erna Brünell ...
Mrs. Rosenberg (as Erna Bruenell)
Paul Bürks ...
Cabaret Comedian (as Paul Buerks)
Gaby Dohm ...
Woman with baby
Emil Feist ...
Miser
...
Prostitute
Georg Hartmann ...
Hollinger
Edith Heerdegen ...
Mrs. Holle
Klaus Hoffmann ...
Commando Announcer
Edit

Storyline

Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg follows a week in the life of Abel Rosenberg, an out-of-work American circus acrobat living in poverty-stricken Berlin following Germany's defeat in World War I. When his brother commits suicide, Abel seeks refuge in the apartment of an old acquaintance Professor Veregus. Desperate to make ends meet in the war-ravaged city, Abel takes a job in Veregus' clinic, where he discovers the horrific truth behind the work of the strangely beneficent professor and unlocks the chilling mystery that drove his brother to kill himself. Written by Leigh Thomas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Berlin. The Twenties. Inside the cabarets. The green hair. The painted skin. Outside, the murders no one can explain. The puzzle no one can solve. The trap no one can escape. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 February 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Schlangenei  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 12,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Trade paper 'Variety' erroneously stated that the film was Ingmar Bergman's first film made outside of Sweden which is incorrect as part of The Touch (1971) shot in London. See more »

Goofs

The Nazi-looking thugs that are beating up people are wearing Model 1943 German army caps and 1940s style clothing. This film is supposed to take place in the 1920s. See more »

Quotes

Hans Vergerus: [explains the upcoming social and political developments in Germany to Abel Rosenberg] It's like a serpent's egg. Through the thin membranes, you can clearly discern the already perfect reptile.
See more »

Connections

Featured in German Expressionism (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Das Lied vom süssen Bonbon
(uncredited)
Music by Rolf A. Wilhelm
Lyrics by Rolf A. Wilhelm and Kurt Wilhelm
Performed by Liv Ullmann
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Occasionally fascinating, more often pointless
11 December 1999 | by (Kalamazoo, MI) – See all my reviews

This must have seemed like such a great idea at the time. Put Ingmar Bergman (arguably one of the finest filmmakers of our time) at the helm of a big-budget international horror film starring the notable David Carradine and his can-do-no-wrong leading lady Liv Ullmann. As a concept, it's faultless; as a film, it's amazing this has as many moments as it does.

Taking place over a period of one week (November 3-11) in 1923 Berlin, "The Serpent's Egg" zeroes in on two desperate characters who are slowly overtaken by the horror of their situation. The country has virtually come apart around them; the German mark is practically worthless, unemployment is astronomical, and Adolf Hitler is laying the plans for his first attempt to seize power. Abel Rosenberg (Carradine) and Manuela (Ullmann) are out-of-work circus performers whose third partner Max (Abel's brother) commits suicide in the opening of the film. The rest of the movie concerns itself with their gradual awakening to the horrors perpetuated by their current employer Vergerus (Heinz Bennett).

Actually, the rest of the movie concerns itself with taking as hysterical and pessimistic view of life as possible. While not entirely unfamiliar to Bergman's fans, here the gloom is so all-pervasive and the time and place so alien, that the film is often nearly impossible to sit through. It becomes instead a movie of moments, each breaking out of the general tedium to grab the viewer by the throat.

The opening is brilliant, and promises something really special. Likewise, the rat-infested piles of garbage are not something the viewer is likely to forget. But the conclusion they build up to is disappointing and unenlightening. Worst of all, we know no more about the characters at the end of the film than we did at the outset (Liv Ullmann, whose performance is wonderful considering the circumstances, has virtually nonexistent character development to work with).

Any fan of Bergman should try to see this once, if only for the light it sheds on his other films of the period, and his personal turmoil at that moment in time. Casual viewers need not apply.


28 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?