IMDb > The Laughing Policeman (1973)
The Laughing Policeman
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The Laughing Policeman (1973) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.4/10   1,772 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Thomas Rickman (screenplay)
Per Wahlöö (novel) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Laughing Policeman on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 January 1974 (Sweden) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
This movie is so real it makes every other movie in this town look like a movie. See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Long-time San Franciscan looks at the city in this movie. See more (35 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Walter Matthau ... Jake Martin

Bruce Dern ... Larsen

Louis Gossett Jr. ... Larrimore (as Lou Gossett)
Albert Paulsen ... Camerero

Anthony Zerbe ... Steiner

Val Avery ... Pappas

Cathy Lee Crosby ... Kay

Mario Gallo ... Bobby Mow

Joanna Cassidy ... Monica
Shirley Ballard ... Grace
William Hansen ... Schwermer
Don Borisenko ... Collins (as Jonas Wolfe)

Paul Koslo ... Haygood
Louis Guss ... Gus Niles

Frances Lee McCain ... Prostitute (as Lee McCain)
David Moody ... Pimp
Ivan Bookman ... Rodney

Clifton James ... Maloney

Gregory Sierra ... Vickery (as Gregg Sierra)
Warren Finnerty ... Ripple

Matt Clark ... Coroner
Joseph Bernard ... Avakian's Brother
Melvina Smedley ... Maydala
Leigh French ... Porno Cashier
James Klawin ... Fowler
Anthony Costello ... Dave Evans
John Francis ... Inspector Russo
John Frederick Vick ... Inspector Lou Terry

Wayne Grace ... Inspector Tom Brennan
Cheryl Christiansen ... Nurse on Bus
James V. Christy ... Avakian (as James Christy)
David Belrose ... Ralph Martin
Dawn Frame ... Debbie Martin
Ellan Nance ... Receptionist (as Ellen Nance)

Lavelle Roby ... Receptionist (as Lavelle Robey)
Hobart Nills Nelson ... Jail Guard
Gus Bruneman ... TAC Squad Captain (as Capt. Gus Bruneman)
The San Francisco Strutters ... Street Musicians
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Elaine Collins ... Go-Go Dancer (uncredited)

Sacheen Littlefeather ... Undetermined Minor Role (uncredited)

Directed by
Stuart Rosenberg 
 
Writing credits
Thomas Rickman (screenplay)

Per Wahlöö (novel "Den skrattande polisen") (as Per Wahlhoo) and
Maj Sjöwall (novel "Den skrattande polisen") (as Maj Sjowall)

Stuart Rosenberg  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Stuart Rosenberg .... producer
 
Original Music by
Charles Fox 
 
Cinematography by
David M. Walsh (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Bob Wyman (film editor)
 
Casting by
Joyce Selznick 
 
Set Decoration by
Doug von Koss 
 
Makeup Department
Gary Morris .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Jack Wilson .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Mike Moder .... unit production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mike Moder .... first assistant director
Ron Wright .... second assistant director
Charles Ziarko .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Barry Bedig .... property master (uncredited)
Jack M. Marino .... assistant property master (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Jerry Jost .... production mixer
Theodore Soderberg .... re-recording mixer
Bill Hank .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Ronald L. Stirling .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Stanley Amborn .... special effects (uncredited)
A. Paul Pollard .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Joseph Edesa .... gaffer (uncredited)
Richard N. Hannah .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Norman Harris .... best boy (uncredited)
Gary Haselbusch .... lamp operator (uncredited)
Jack E. Kelly .... lamp operator (uncredited)
Fred Murphy .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Jack Richter .... key grip (uncredited)
Phillip R. Sarabia .... second grip (uncredited)
Roger Shearman .... camera operator (uncredited)
Don Whipple .... dolly grip (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lambert Marks .... wardrobe: men (uncredited)
Nat Tolmach .... wardrobe: men (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
William Charles Hauer .... driver: honeywagon (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Gus Coreris .... technical advisor: SFPD (as Inspector Gus Coreris)
Charles Ellis .... technical advisor: SFPD (as Lieutenant Charles Ellis)
Peggy Locke .... production secretary
Lucille Baumann .... auditor (uncredited)
Earl Fahey .... caterer (uncredited)
Francis X. Feighan .... unit publicist (uncredited)
H. Bud Otto .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"An Investigation of a Murder" - Australia (imdb display title), International (English title) (alternative title)
See more »
Runtime:
112 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

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:
Errors in geography: The SF Municipal "Mission 14" bus line route did not and does not run north of Market street to traverse down Clay street from Nob Hill through Chinatown.See more »
Quotes:
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD:[responding to his partner's one-word answers] Have you ever thought of having your own radio talk-show?See more »
Soundtrack:
Ain't We Got FunSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
40 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
Long-time San Franciscan looks at the city in this movie., 30 July 2001
Author: emp from Bellingham, WA

I saw this movie today for the Xth time. As usual, I liked it a lot. So I looked this movie up on imdb.com, to see what they had to say, and was surprised at their Summary for this movie: `Dreary, Empty-Headed Crime Drama.'

I beg to differ. I have always loved this movie. It was released in 1973. It is a perfect picture of San Francisco in the mid-70's. I was there and I recognize everything in it--people, places, and attitudes. This is the pre-AIDS, pre-Yuppie, free-wheeling, getting-used-to-it San Francisco that I loved.

The director (Jack Sommersby) has taken the usual poetic license with the locations, so that the No. 14 Mission bus miraculously goes to Chinatown, and the Transamerica Pyramid is a good view from the Transbay Bus Terminal, but never mind. Any long-time San Franciscan will recognize the sights.

Further, and even better, this is a movie of subtleties--perhaps that is why the IMDB reviewer found it dreary. We are not hit in the face with expository material. The dialogue is not used to describe what can be shown. Early in the movie, the police are confronted with a bus of dead people. Getting on the bus, nobody says `It stinks in here.' Instead, one of the policemen says to the medical examiner, who is smoking a cigar, `Blow some of that smoke over here.' And, without comment, the ME does so. That is how we know it stinks in the bus.

As the policemen look closely at the dead people on the bus, they find that one of them is a policeman. It is, in fact, Matthau's partner. But they never say to each other (and therefore to us) that this victim is a policeman. They show it only in their reactions. Someone says, `My God! It's Hansen!' or words to that effect. `What is he doing on a bus?' and other dialogue let us know that this man is a policeman.

This is a happy change from the tedious obviousness of movies that are full of lines like, `You know, Jack, you are a happy-go-lucky person. Your face shows it.' Jack sits there like the lump he is, looking neither happy nor unhappy. We have to believe the speaker, because the acting isn't going to give us this information. A good director would eliminate this line, and get some happy-face acting from Jack.

It is good to see a movie directed by someone who thinks we are smart enough to get the point without being hit over the head with it. The advice usually given to beginning writers is also good for experienced directors: Don't tell us. Show us.

The laughing policeman is Bruce Dern--new to homicide investigations, and without subtleties. He laughs a lot. Matthau is the old-timer, who never laughs. He is also not a subtle person, but he is at least cautious. They are the beagle puppy and experienced retriever of the world of murder. They are oil and water, definitely not blending.

The plot is absurd, but it hardly matters. It is the chase. It is the location. It is the ambience (dreadful, overused word, but there it is; it is the right word) that counts in this movie.

Finding it on TV is hard these days. I found it recently on Black Starz TV. Fortunately for us all, Lou Gossett, Jr. is in it, so it will show up on channels catering to African Americans. Hunt for it. It's worth it.

IMDB.com uses the 10-star rating system. Following their lead, I give it 5 stars for plot, and 9 stars for faithful depiction of a time and place.

Was the above review useful to you?
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