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The Serpent's Egg
Das Schlangenei

USA / West Germany 1977
produced by
Dino De Laurentiis, Horst Wendlandt (executive) for Dino De Laurentiis Company, Rialto, Bavaria, ZDF
directed by Ingmar Bergman
starring Liv Ullmann, David Carradine, Gert Fröbe, Heinz Bennent, Toni Berger, Christian Berkel, Paula Braend, Erna Brünell, Paul Bürks, Gaby Dohm, Emil Feist, Kai Fischer, Georg Hartmann, Edith Heerdegen, Klaus Hoffmann, Grischa Huber, Volkert Kraeft, Gunther Malzacher, Lisi Mangold, Günter Meisner, Kyra Mladeck, Heide Picha, Hans Quest, Charles Regnier, Walter Schmidinger, Irene Steinbeisser, Fritz Strassner, Glynn Turman, Ellen Umlauf, Wolfgang Weiser, James Whitmore, Ralf Wolter, Hans Eichler
written by Ingmar Bergman, music by Rolf A. Wilhelm, cinematography by Sven Nykvist

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Germany, 1923: Once, Abel Rosenberg (David Carradine) and his brother Max (Hans Eichler) were a celebrated trapeze duo, but then Max hurt his wrists and couldn't perform anymore, which left them, and Max's soon-to-be divorced wife Manuela (Liv Ullman) stranded in Berlin - as Jews, with National Socialism gradually gaining power, and with it an especially vile form of antisemitism. Abel, who has long turned alcoholic, soon finds himself on the radar of inspector Bauer (Gert Fröbe), himself not a Nazi-sympathizer at all, but one who bows to the powers in control, and as he is able to somehow link Abel to some murders that have happened in Abel's neighbourhood, he finds it opportune to at least bring him in for questioning. Abel finds solace of all people in Max's ex-wife Manuela, nowadays a cabaret singer by night and prostitute by day, and they're desparate enough to lean on one another. Enter Hans Vergerus (Heinz Bennent), a man Abel still knows from their childhood together, who offers them a better job, better life - and Abel has never trusted Hans as he has been a weirdo and sadist even when growing up, yet he and Manuela accept his offer, and are given a nice apartment to live in and respectable jobs at a hospital - but somehow their lives go downhill from there, they are constantly on their edge and at one another's throats, their health is deteriorating ... and eventually Abel finds out the hospital runs unethical human experiments, and they might be one of those - but when he gathers this knowledge, it might already be too late ...

 

Produced by Dino Laurentiis, this is considered Swedish arthouse darling Ingmar Bergman's only "Hollywood movie" (even if it was shot at Bavaria Studios in Germany), but while he must have enjoyed the higher budget he had, he didn't compromise much regarding style and story, as this is a very off-mainstream movie relying heavily on its slightly depressing atmosphere (one of Bergman's trademarks throughout his career) and delivers a very complex, jigsaw puzzle like story without any real heroes and set entirely in the grey areas between good and evil, one which doesn't give any concrete answers but leaves one with quite a few very interesting questions. And add to that great production values and a first rate international cast, and you're basically in for another treat from a director known for treats.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD