The Serpent’s Egg is perhaps Ingmar Bergman’s hardest movie to figure out, and that says a lot.
Financed by producer Dino DeLaurentiis (Three Days of the Condor, Serpico, and the 1976 King Kong), it is Bergman’s first Hollywood movie. This 1979 re-release of The Serpent’s Egg on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy is a must for Bergman fans and features a lot of special features. It is less interesting for those who like Bergman but are not fanatics
A Swedish movie cliche is there’s lots of fog and confusion. In The Serpent’s Egg the fog is replaced by a dark (existential) cloud looming over 1923 Berlin and the very beginnings of Hitler’s rise to power. This is hinted at a couple of times and is made quite clear in the last thirty minutes of the movie.
The last thirty minutes of this movie are the movie. Everything leading up to that is more or less relevant in interesting. David Carradine’s character goes around Berlin in a alcohol induced haze and spends time with his brother’s wife Manuela (Liv Ullmann) after the latter killed himself.
The movie in a nutshell is: Abel Rosenberg finally discovers why his brother killed himself and the sinister plot behind that and other deaths and what has been happening to him and Manuela. It is supposed to be a foreboding of things to come.
The fact The Serpent’s Egg was made in Hollywood might have increased Ingmar Bergman’s self-indulgence when it comes to movie making. Either that or Bergmann tried to get the viewer to share Rosenberg’s alcoholic haze by having nothing really clear happen for a very long time.
Special Features on Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg in the Arrow Academy release are:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original English mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Audio Commentary by actor David Carradine
• Bergman s Egg a newly filmed appreciation by critic and author Barry Forshaw
• Away From Home, archival featurette including interviews with David Carradine and Liv Ullman
• German Expressionism, archival interview with Author Marc Gervais
• Stills gallery
• Theatrical trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork choices
• FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Geoffrey Macnab
Also from Arrow Academy: The Apartment