6.7/10
4,715
31 user 41 critic

The Serpent's Egg (1977)

Berlin, 1923. Following the suicide of his brother, American circus acrobat Abel Rosenberg attempts to survive while facing unemployment, depression, alcoholism and the social decay of Germany during the Weimar Republic.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ingmar Bergman (a film by)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A recently divorced man meets an emotionally devastated widow and they begin a love affair.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow
Face to Face (1976)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A married couple of psychiatrists has their relationship tested when one suffers a mental breakdown.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Aino Taube
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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An account of the events before and after a murder committed by Peter Egermann, a disturbed businessman in a strained marriage, and what led Peter to perform such a shocking act.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Robert Atzorn, Christine Buchegger, Martin Benrath
Saraband (TV Movie 2003)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 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
The Magic Flute (TV Movie 1975)
Comedy | Fantasy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 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
The Rite (TV Movie 1969)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A judge in an unnamed country interviews three actors, together and singly, provoking them while investigating a pornographic performance for which they may face a fine. Their relationships... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ingrid Thulin, Anders Ek, Gunnar Björnstrand
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
After the Rehearsal (TV Movie 1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Rational, exacting, and self-controlled theater director, Henrik Vogler, often stays after rehearsal to think and plan. On this day, Anna comes back, ostensibly looking for a bracelet. She ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin, Lena Olin
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Don Juan is sent from Hell to Earth with a highly important mission - to seduce a 20-years virgin for spoiling her pure wedding. The mission becomes crazy when Don Juan falls in love for the first time in his centuries-old lover's career.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Jarl Kulle, Bibi Andersson, Stig Järrel
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A critic blackmails a famous musician with his biography filled with the revelations of many of his women.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Eva Dahlbeck
The Magician (1958)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A traveling magician and his assistants are persecuted by authorities in Sweden of the 19th century. Their captures, however, didn't bring victory to those in power.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand
Edit

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
Edit

Storyline

Ingmar Bergman's 'The Serpent's Egg' follows a week in the life of Abel Rosenberg, an out-of-work American-Jewish circus acrobat living in poverty-stricken Berlin in November of 1923. When his brother commits suicide, Abel seeks refuge in the apartment of his former sister-in-law Manuela, who works in a cabaret at night and in a brothel in the morning. Desperate to make ends meet in a city struggling with mass unemployment, Abel takes a job in Veregus' clinic, where he discovers the horrific truth behind the work of the 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:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

15 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Schlangenei See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

DEM12,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,238
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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This picture featured the biggest ever crew assembled for an Ingmar Bergman film at least to the time that this movie was made. 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

Inspector Bauer: So what does Inspector Bauer do? Inspector Bauer does his job. He tries to create a little patch of order and reason in the midst of chaos. And he's not alone, Rosenberg. All over Germany, millions and millions of petty officials, just as terrified, are doing exactly the same. You get drunk every day, huh? That's also respectable, Rosenberg. But I'd be happier if you swung on your trapeze with your pals. That way you'd fight your fear more effectively.
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 »

User Reviews

 
Soylent Green meets Cabaret
14 February 2009 | by oliver-177See 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.


9 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 31 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed