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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.

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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
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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

The Anthony Zerbe character is Lieutenant "Styner" according to his desk nameplate, but "Steiner" in the closing credits. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Know what I mean?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mikey and Nicky (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Serenade in Blue
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on the radio in the car
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User Reviews

 
70's crime drama that's one of a kind, Matthau style
18 February 2013 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I've seen this movie only a few times, 4-5 throughout, I'd say. I loved how Matthau played serious in this. It's probably the only unfunny Matthau film I've seen, and this is definitely no comedy. This 70's film, with it's hard feel and vibe, is uniquely intriguing. Some nutter boards a bus, shoots down 8 people, one a police detective friend of cop, Matthau's. At the start this then alive detective was tailing some old guy, as I can remember, where obviously this has a bearing on his demise, otherwise the scene wouldn't be included in the film. What I loved, in this film, where about every exterior shot was shot in sunny weather, was the pairing of Matthau, and his new partner Dern, where he proves looks aren't everything, if you can act. Dern, playing tough here, who tends to infer violence if his suspects don't co-operate almost stole the show. One scene, has him getting into a confrontational scene with other cop, Lou Gossett Jnr, and he ever so smoothly backs down, provided a cool moment. We take the journey with Dern (who almost shared Matthau's dead partner's build, though the dead guy was better looking) and the gum chewing Matthau to find the cause of this slaughter. When questioning a pimp, as Matthau leaves, we hear a ho mumble "Pig". Matthau stops, looks around with angry intent. There's a couple of these unnerving moments from this actor's character, and it's not just in his work, though Dern came off better acting wise in this good solid crime flick, that will having you guessing why, where it's answer, will kind of thrown you into a one eighty, where you the viewer, have been really duped. We learn things about the dead cop, like how he was a bit of a creep, into things, other cops didn't know about, where some realizations start to surface. That's what makes a good crime thriller, though it doesn't have the logical of motives for the slaughter. Near it's end, if losing more faith as we do through the film to finding the killer and his reasons, our two hot shots resort to setting up this suspected killer in the same scenario as in the start. Another exhausting scene has Matthau and Dern climbing flights of steps to interrogate someone, where they stop mid flight to take a breather. Paul Koslo, again plays another loser character, who provides some info, who when questioned, has a tendency to smile all the time, and is not big on straight talk.


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