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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:

The kind of terror that could never be... until now... until Bergman! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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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 »

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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 movie is a rare Ingmar Bergman film in English. Two others are The Touch (1971) and an English dubbed version of Scenes from a Marriage (1973). 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

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.33 (2005) 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

 
Better than it's reputation
13 May 2012 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

While not a masterpiece, this is also far from the mess most critics took it for. An intelligent failure (or modest success) Bergman looks at Germany in the 20s as laying the groundwork for Hitler and the Nazis.

Liv Ullman is terrific, as always. And if David Carradine is only good, not great, he certainly didn't deserve the critical attacks he received. The nature of his character is a man so locked in passivity as to be enigmatic. You might not like that kind of character, but it's certainly not the actor's fault for carrying it out well!

Yes, some of it is slow, and some a bit obvious, but those charges could also be leveled against some Bergman films labeled masterpieces. As a cautionary tale of where we were once before, and could end up again, I've certainly seen far worse. It has some truly chilling moments. And I think seeing it again may reveal even more…


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