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The Laughing Policeman (1973)

In San Francisco, one victim in a mass murder is a police detective. His partner and a new partner investigate in the city's seamy side.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel) (as Per Wahlhoo) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD
...
Insp. James Larrimore SFPD (as Lou Gossett)
Albert Paulsen ...
Henry Camerero
...
Lt. Nat Styner (Steiner on End Credits) SFPD
...
Insp. John Pappas SFPD
...
Kay Butler
...
Bobby Mow, Snitch
...
Nurse Monica, Beth's Roomate
Shirley Ballard ...
Grace Martin
William Hansen ...
Mr. Schwermer, Bus Vicitm
Don Borisenko ...
Det. Mike Collins (as Jonas Wolfe)
...
Duane Haygood, Drug Pusher
Louis Guss ...
Gus Niles / Andrew Medford - Bus Victim
...
Prostitute (as Lee McCain)
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Storyline

A policeman is among the victims when the passengers of a late-night bus are machine-gunned. With only one semi- conscious survivor and no other witnesses, the detectives try to learn from the identities of the dead why this happened and who the killer could be. Climax includes excellent chase. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The laughing policeman is never amused. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 January 1974 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

An Investigation of a Murder  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Bruce Dern's autobiography, it was Walter Matthau's idea to have Dern, known mainly as a character actor, share top billing with him for this film--a gesture Dern was most grateful for. See more »

Goofs

In the morgue scene, early in the film, there are a few "corpses" breathing. On one corpse, the toes curl. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: [about Niles' girlfriend] She left for lunch yesterday afternoon and hasn't been heard from since. What do you think?
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: I'm only allowed one think a day.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Hard Day for Archie (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

I Had the Craziest Dream
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on the radio in the car
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User Reviews

 
Not even close
19 September 2008 | by (Philly) – See all my reviews

On the strength of Walter Matthau's ability with a character, the strong cast list, and the original Swedish crime novel-which was excellent-I watched the whole thing, unfortunately. As someone else on this forum noted, it works well for about the first 15-20 minutes, then decays into pointlessness. The main character's partner, played by Bruce Dern, is brought up short repeatedly when he makes wrong moves with witnesses, or says the wrong thing, so often that I expected an explosion. Which never came, and that thread finally went nowhere. A meeting with a group of Hell's Angels went nowhere, at least for the story. I could handle the dated costumes and social norms, but after an hour or so, it seemed as if that's all the film had to offer-a tour of SF's colorful corners in the Haight-Ashbury era, with a tacked-on murder mystery that came to no satisfying conclusion. It isn't necessary for every film-made-from-a-novel to stick exactly to the original, word-for-word, but the only good part of this film was that first 15-20 minutes, which is transported fairly closely from Stockholm, where the original was set, to San Francisco. Once the bus has crashed, and the dead passengers have been identified, It goes rolling straight down Potrero Hill and into the Bay.


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