The tepid reputation is baffling. "The Serpent's Egg" is an organic, often nightmarish odyssey into the bowels of a poverty stricken, morally bankrupt postwar Germany. Glides on Bergman's boundless empathy for his characters and atmospheric photography. Carradine isn't miscast; his character is vitally incompatible with his environment. Ullmann is heartbreaking.
This film is criminally underrated. Regarded as one of the great Ingmar Bergman’s worst films by critics and Bergman himself, this film has been ridiculed for its ridiculous plot and awkward acting. While the plot might admittedly be quite foolish, if read from a more sociological approach, the film’s subtle greatness, albeit a rather logically flawed one, comes to light.
Bergman's second English film is one of his largest productions and one of his more unusual. Carradine plays a circus performer struggling to get by in the twilight days of the crumbling Wiemar republic. His sister in law played by Liv Ullman is the more optimistic, but even she is worn down spiritually when they stay together. It's atypical because the conflict seems more literal (Nazism in Germany), but I liked it