6.7/10
5,172
33 user 40 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)
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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 ... 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

It's early November, 1923. Jewish-American brothers Abel and Max Rosenberg, and Max's ex-wife Manuela Rosenberg had a trapeze act in a circus touring through Europe up until a month ago when a wrist injury to Max sidelined the act. The three remained in Berlin, Germany generally depressed with rampant inflation leading to Abel taking up the bottle to cope. The Jewish are also being blamed for many of society's problems, but Abel fears no reprisal against himself if he does nothing wrong. Abel and Manuela, the latter who ended up living in a rooming house on her own while working in a cabaret, are reunited when Abel has to inform her that Max committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Feeling at a loss both professionally with the act no more and emotionally both due to Max's death, Abel and Manuela turn to each other for comfort and support as the only person the other truly has. Abel's life becomes even more complicated when Police Inspector Bauer, who handled ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The suspense no one can equal, by Bergman. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was a critical and commercial failure at the box-office. 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.
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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
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User Reviews

 
The Vision of a Master for the Seed of the Nazism
19 September 2006 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In November of 1923, in a Berlin where a pack of cigarettes costs four million marks and people has lost faith in the present and future days, the alcoholic and unemployed American acrobat Abel Rosenberg (David Carradine) loses his brother Max, who has just committed suicide after feeling depressed for a period. Seeing the modifications in the behavior of people, but without clearly understanding the reasons, Abel moves to the room of his former sister-in-law Manuela Rosenberg (Liv Ullmann), who works in a cabaret in the night and in a whorehouse in the morning. Together, they move to a small apartment near to the clinic of their acquaintance, Professor Hans Vergerus (Heinz Bennent), who gives a job opportunity to Abel in his clinic. While working in the place, Abel discloses the evil truth behind the researches of Hans.

"The Serpent's Egg" is an underrated, but also excellent work of Master Ingmar Bergman, one of my favorite directors. In the environment of a Germany with hyperinflation, where people in a moment exchanged marks in weight so fast the currency lost its value; lack of job opportunities, with massive unemployment; the great people and nation humiliated and hopeless, paying for the loss of World War I, Bergman presents his view for the seeds of the Nazism. He introduces the evil character of Professor Hans Vergerus and his sick experiments, and the common person Abel Rosenberg, who sees the modifications in a country where he has problems with communication, since he does not speak German, but can not understand. Unfortunately this movie has not been released on DVD in Brazil, and my VHS has a bad quality of image, impairing the magnificent cinematography, especially in the nocturnal shots. The cool David Carradine is in the best moment of his career and is amazing in the role of Abel Rosenberg. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "O Ovo da Serpente" ("The Serpent's Egg")


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

15 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Serpent's Egg See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM12,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,238
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (science films footage)| Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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