6.7/10
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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)
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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-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 »
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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:

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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The picture has been considered an Ingmar Bergman "film noir". 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

Referenced in Play It Again, Christos (2007) 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

 
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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