6.4/10
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35 user 27 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:

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:

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

While most movies might film an exterior shot and film the corresponding interiors scenes elsewhere or on a studio set, this movie was filmed at real San Francisco locations, with the corresponding interior scenes filmed in those same locations. 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

Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: Evans was working the Teresa thing on his own time. He's killed on the same bus with Gus Niles who's looking for a grease gun that happens to be the weapon used.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: And then his girlfriend winds up dead on the floor with the needle... Jake, you realize what you just did? You do it to me all the time, now you heard what the man said upstairs.
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: I heard him, I was up there, he's a nice man, he shoots in the low 80s, but he plays too close to the vest.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Then what are you laying all that crap on ME FOR? ...
[...]
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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not even close
19 September 2008 | by birckSee 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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