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.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ingmar Bergman (a film by)
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Cast

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

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

15 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Schlangenei See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 12,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film has often mistakenly referred to being Ingmar Bergman's first English language picture. For example, trade paper 'Variety' erroneously stated that it was Bergman's first English film. This is not the case. It was Bergman's second, his first having being The Touch (1971). 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

Spoofed in Yad skorpiona (1992) 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

My brief review of the film
4 December 2005 | by sol-See all my reviews

Often regarded as the nadir of Bergman's career, this film is not as terrible as one might understand it to be from its poor reputation, however it is not a very good film either. There are a handful of rather well composed shots, and other than the zooming, Sven Nykvist's camera-work is good. These are however the only real trademarks of Bergman in the film, and it does look as if anyone could have directed it. The two major downfalls though of the film are its screenplay and the acting by David Carradine. The script is dull, and the plot becomes rather messy as the film progresses, and even if the revelation is interesting, its insertion is quite awkward. Carradine tends to stumble about on set, and when he is not stumbling he is either haphazardly screaming or gaping. Many others have commented on his casting - it is hard to disagree that he was not the best choice. Either way, the film is hardly terrible, with some interesting ideas in the final quarter, some well directed scenes, and a great beginning credits sequence - but it is a low point for Bergman.


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