6.4/10
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36 user 28 critic

The Laughing Policeman (1973)

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

Director:

Stuart Rosenberg

Writers:

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Shirley Ballard ... Grace
William Hansen William Hansen ... Schwermer
Don Borisenko Don Borisenko ... Collins (as Jonas Wolfe)
Paul Koslo ... Haygood
Louis Guss Louis Guss ... Gus Niles
Frances Lee McCain ... 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:

Race against time and a killer in See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 January 1974 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

An Investigation of a Murder See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,280,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The novel, on which the film was based, was set in Stockholm, Sweden. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: [after spending the day monitoring Henry Camarero] We got a man farting in silk and playing all day.
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: I talked to Frank at the lab, and he got an FBI report on Gus Niles' prints from his service record.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: [mildly surprised] Uh, are you just making conversation now?
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: Gus Niles used to be Andrew Medford, and he was in business with Camarero for awhile. You wanna take a guess who was Camarero's alibi at the Teresa inquest?
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: [realizing Jake's hunch about Camarero as the bus killer has substance behind it] ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Give Me the Simple Life
(uncredited)
Music by Rube Bloom
Played on the clock radio
See more »

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User Reviews

 
70's crime drama that's one of a kind, Matthau style
18 February 2013 | by PeterMitchell-506-564364See 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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