6.4/10
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35 user 27 critic

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:
...
...
Larsen
...
Larrimore (as Lou Gossett)
...
Camerero
...
Steiner
...
Pappas
...
Kay
...
Bobby Mow
...
Monica
Shirley Ballard ...
Grace
William Hansen ...
Schwermer
Don Borisenko ...
Collins (as Jonas Wolfe)
...
Haygood
Louis Guss ...
Gus Niles
...
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:

Eight people know who the killer is - and they're all dead! 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  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,280,000 (estimated)
 »

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

In the original screenplay, Martin was supposed to laugh at the end, true to the film's title. This idea was abandoned, either by director Stuart Rosenberg or Walter Matthau during shooting. See more »

Goofs

The actual gun used in the film is a Smith & Wesson M76 9mm machine gun without the barrel shroud and not an M3 .45 caliber "Grease Gun" made by GM Guide Lamp Division for WWII use. The omission of the barrel shroud gives the appearance of an M3. If one sticks to the story line, the M3 magazine held 30 rounds .45 ACP and cycled around 450 rpm. This is sufficient to inflict the damage and wounds shown in the film. See more »

Quotes

Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: [after Camerero leaves a gay bar with another man] I think he's a fag. Things are looser now. I guess a couple years ago, that was enough to ruin you.
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: Well, that's what I've been saying.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Yeah, that's probably where I heard it. You think that Theresa found out about him and then didn't know which way to turn?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Paul Koslo on 'The Laughing Policeman' (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Serenade in Blue
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on the radio in the car
See more »

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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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