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The Serpent's Egg [DVD]

Liv Ullmann , David Carradine , Ingmar Bergman    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £4.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Liv Ullmann, David Carradine, Gert Fröbe, Heinz Bennent, Isolde Barth
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Dino De Laurentiis, Harold Nebenzal, Horst Wendlandt
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Italian, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: German
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Aug 2004
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002ADWU8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,853 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Berlin 1923 and Germany has fallen into deep post-war depression. The story centers on two out-of-work circus performers who, after their third partner commits suicide, find themselves at the mercy of their current employer. A very dark Bergman film, which some critics have said is almost too pessimistic.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A minor Bergman film. 18 Nov 2002
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:VHS Tape
The Serpent's Egg (1977) is a relatively minor piece in Bergman's classic canon, this may have been due to the conditions of its production- Bergman having tax problems with the Swedish authorities and like many European auteurs (Wenders, Herzog, Kieslowski) made this film outside of his own country.
The film is set in pre-World War II/Weimar Berlin (the films was actually co-production between Germany and the US) and is set around a circus- recalling two later films influenced by Bergman: Woody Allen's Shadows & Fog and Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire/Sky Over Berlin.
The setting and themes have also been repeated subsequently, perhaps as retribution and comprehension of the Third Reich- this followed Cabaret and the exploitative Salon Kitty, but also fits in the same thematic/historical contiuum as films like The Marriage of Maria Braun,Mephisto, Invincible and Faraway, So Close!.
However, this is far from Bergman's most coherent work- lapsing into nastiness as perhaps he had only done previously on The Hour of the Wolf. David Carradine is miscast, though Bergman regular Liv Ullmann is present. As ever, the photography by Sven Nkyvist is brilliant- reason alone to buy this film.
The Serpent's Egg is good value at this budget price, I would be more reticent buying it if it were conventionally art-housed price (£15 plus). It is rarely seen and an oddity in Bergman's canon as films like Torment (which he didn't direct) or The Hour of the Wolf. This is far from his best work of the 1970's, Scenes of a Marriage- which is a much sounder purchase if you haven't seen it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See how they were born 27 July 2013
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Slow paced insight into the conditions operating within Germany in 1923, five years after the war, as the world collapsed around everyone still breathing. Economically, morally, socially and psychologically the world was in a thrall to its own internal nihilism. Germany in the 1920's was at the centre of this collapse as the Allies reaped their dividends.

Shot within the haunting presence of Berlin, the film touches upon the work of Ernst Rudin and other eugenic forerunners, as the main character slowly descends into a moral abyss. Around him people are trying to weave chosen fantasies as recompense for the grinding pain of life that exists within the real world.

A series of unsolved murders are part of the key, as death is forever present throughout the film. Then people were reduced to base elements; selling sex as a trad-able commodity, money was worthless and people expendable. One element within is the contrast between the rich and the poor, as the characters oscillate between strata,s during this era.

Antisemitism is rife and a norm. National Socialists smash up the Cabaret as Weimar swung to the jazz beat and the loins were lubricated like no other era. All around people are being beaten in a senseless rage.

If the film is about anything it is about the psychologies of an era. As the Doctor highlights to Rosenberg, the children of this time will reap their revenge in ten years time. The film therefore depicts the everyday conditions people existed within, to later assume the power to enact revenge. However, for me, the seeds of revenge were woven within families which existed due to the brute power they could exert. Whilst the moral constraints snapped,the brutality which emerged owed more to a complete lack of empathy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in paranoia 11 Aug 2006
This film epitomised the sense of menace and paranoia which must have preceded the Nazi regime. The way Bergman portrayed the central character, Abel Rosenberg, was unexpected. Initially, he was a sympathetic figure - a Jew who was detached from the corruption around him. However, there was a sickening scene in which he attacked overtly Jewish people. There was also a horrific scene in which the starving inhabitants appeared to eat meat from a horse which was still alive.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bergmans best 29 July 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a strange film, and unlike any of the other works by Bergman that I've seen. Truth is I'm a big fan of Liv Ullman after seeing her in "Six Scenes from a Marriage" The location shots are dark, and sometimes disturbing, and one wonders about the casting of David Carradine, but for the meagre price, a good addition for the completest collector.
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