Whether stimulated by his brush with the Swedish tax-man or his brief self-imposed exile in West Germany, Bergman's paranoia runs dementedly and tediously out of control in this Grand Guignol recreation of 1923 Berlin as studio set for close encounters of the most portentous kind. Carradine is improbably cast in the central role of a Jewish trapeze artist called Abel Rosenberg, wandering innocently through a night-town world of bottles, brothels, and (inevitably) cabarets, and trying to ignore the violence, depravity and anti-semitism screeching at him from every street corner. The torments he endures, with a sadly miscast Ullmann (who's further afflicted with throwaway lines like 'I can't stand the guilt'), have indeed been devised by a foresighted mad scientist straight out of Dr Strangelove. This last-reel revelation comes too late to restore audience disbelief to its proper state of suspension.
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