6.7/10
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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.

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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 ...
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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 1923! A dangerous time to be alive and stay that way! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman's only ever Hollywood production financed by its money but not shot there. 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

Abel Rosenberg: I wake up from a nightmare and find that real life is worse than the dream.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Away from Home (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

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User Reviews

 
Soylent Green meets Cabaret
14 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Serpent's Egg is almost universally panned because it bears the signature of Ingmar Bergman, yet it doesn't feel much like a Bergman movie - except in a couple of flashes.

Most of the movie is set in dark, humid and chilly inter-war Berlin, where the protagonist gets ever closer to a sinister revelation. This side of the movie feels a bit like another bleak 70s artifact, Soylent Green. When David Carradine gets - at last - hired as an archivist in a sinister clinic, the viewer's interest is piqued.

However, Carradine is saddled with a sister-in-law, Liv Ullman, who comes along with a different set of scenes, that recall Cabaret without the acrid verve of the original. Liv Ullman tries hard, but she is truly miscast. Jane Birkin would have been perfect in this role.

The dialog is poorly written and gives the movie the choppy quality that everyone has objected to. The lines sound translated, unnatural, and David Carradine can't be faulted for sounding lost.

The big budget is well spent, and the film is not boring, nor pretentious. Some effects are in poor taste (the opening credits, and an excruciating scene in a brothel).

I suspect that The Serpent's Egg would have a better reputation today if it had been signed by a lesser director, say, George Pan Cosmatos. Without changing a single shot, it would be remembered as an interesting attempt at something different.


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