The Laughing Policeman (Den skrattande polisen, 1973)

Swedish Studio S Entertainment DVD

The Original Novel - A Crime Masterpiece
Released in 1968 as no. 4 in their famous Crime Decalogue (above the 1978 Swedish pocket edition)

Yes, i'm that old, it's scary but i actually saw this film in a cinema when i was about 14 and it must've been in 1973
or 1974. I saw the film before reading the novel and i remember that i liked the film, but not wildly, it was good
but not as good as 2 other classic Walter Matthau 1970's crime movies: the 1973 Charley Varrick and Taking of
Pelham 1-2-3 in 1974. It has a slightly B-ish feeling for a crime thriller - BUT B-ish in a Grindhouse gritty way.
The story has been moved from Stockholm, Sweden to San Fransisco, USA and the early 1970's atmosphere

feels thick and a bit sleazy. The dialogue sounds clunky at times, the superb story from the novel gets messed
up, Matthau chews too much of gum ... but the duo of Matthau and Dern are great and the raw atmosphere too.

Massmurder on a bus and one of the victims, Dave Evans, a policeman. He was the partner of police inspector
Jake Martin (Walter Matthau) and why was he on the bus? Martin (supposedly named after Martin Beck in the
novels ?) investigates with his new partner Leo Larsen (Bruce Dern) and it all seems to be connected with an
earlier murder case that Martin and Evans couldn't crack. Maybe, actually it's unclear just what it is that motivates
the drastic action taken by the murderer ?

The perp acts unwisely. To massacre a whole bus, including the driver, that's still in motion in a pretty steep downhill
street in San Fransisco, that could well have ended with the perp as a dead body too. In the novel the bus had
slowed almost to a halt, on flat ground, when the shooting was done.
(Bus no. 47 between Djurgården and Vasastan, the line existed 1967-2010, and in the novel the killings take place
just before the bus reached the endstation at, then, Norra Stationsgatan).

The Lovely Joanna Cassidy can be seen briefly as a nurse, and she made a big impact (on me she did that is) as
Zhora, the gorgeous replicant in Alien who only wanted to live a bit longer, doing her stuff. I will never forgive
Harrison Ford for killing this poor woman. The replicant goddess.

When we see Martin's gloomy home and ditto family we can gawk at the early 70's hideous interior decoration.
We also get to see a failed SWAT team operation before helmets and bullet proof vests was used, and one armed
man is allowed to massacre a whole bunch of policemen. I wouldn't want to work for that unit that's for sure
anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1, english mono audio with swedish subtitles, extras a trailer, poster & photo gallery
and some trailers for other films


Back to Cult & Classics page 2