The Serpent's Kiss

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The Serpent's Kiss
The Serpent's Kiss.jpg
Directed by Philippe Rousselot
Written by Tim Rose Price
Starring Ewan McGregor
Greta Scacchi
Pete Postlethwaite
Release date
  • 14 May 1997 (1997-05-14) (Cannes)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Serpent's Kiss is a 1997 film directed by Philippe Rousselot. Set in late-17th-century England, it tells the story of a Dutch garden architect, Meneer Chrome (Ewan McGregor), who has been hired by a wealthy merchant (Pete Postlethwaite) to create an extravagant garden. The film also stars Greta Scacchi and Richard E. Grant.

The film was entered into the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.[1] To date, it is the only feature directed by Rousselot, an award-winning cinematographer.


Thomas Smithers (Postlethwaite), who has made his fortune as an ironmonger and cannon-maker, hires the famous Meneer Chrome (McGregor) to create the most extravagant garden imaginable on his overgrown property. Smithers doesn't know that his wife's cousin Fitzmaurice (Grant) has already hired Chrome, with the goal of bankrupting Smithers and essentially acquiring Juliana, whom he loves. Juliana, however, is attracted to Chrome and he in turn to the Smithers' daughter, Anna, who filters all experiences through a volume of Andrew Marvell's poems that she is never without. Her parents, thinking her mentally unstable, subject her to numerous "treatments" that prompt Chrome's compassion.

As the garden grows increasingly complex and Smithers approaches bankruptcy, Fitzmaurice realizes that Chrome's affection for Anna makes him a liability; he threatens to reveal some damaging information about Chrome and then decides to kill him, but his plan backfires and Fitzmaurice dies. Juliana decides to remain loyal to her husband, now bankrupt from his obsession with the garden project. Chrome, revealed as an imposter (the assistant to the actual Chrome), goes to the sea with Anna, where she throws away her book of poetry.




This film marks the start of Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor's long running friendship that would eventually lead to their trip 'round the world: Long Way Round and is referenced in the documentary.


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Serpent's Kiss". Retrieved 2009-09-23. 

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