Tag Archives: The Laughing Policeman (1973)

Headhunters and Laughing Policemen

Such is the speed with which Hollywood is keen to co-opt Scandinavian crime fiction, that even before the movie version of Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters hit Australian cinemas, a US remake was in the works.

I’m curious what exactly the remake could do differently, given that Headhunters already feels so much like a mainstream American thriller.

By that I mean it is slick, fast paced and requires viewers to suspend their disbelief to an increasing degree as the plot unfolds.

I make no bones about my lack of knowledge of Scandinavian crime fiction and film, but it seems to me the only really Nordic qualities Headhunters has are some pretty creepy characters, the huge level of graphic violence and a lot of Ikea-like interior design.

Not that the film doesnlt have its merits.

Could you submerge yourself in a pit human shit or take another human life to escape someone trying to find and kill you? Those are just two of the situations faced by the main character in Headhunters, Roger Brown (Askel Hennie).

Brown is Norway’s most successful corporate headhunter. He’s got a thing about being short (five and a half feet) and a problem maintaining the lavish lifestyle expected by his taller, impossibly blonde trophy wife, Diana.

To make ends meet Brown moonlights as an art thief.… Read more

WUSA

Has anyone ever done dissolute as well as Paul Newman?

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hud, The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, and the little known WUSA.

WUSA numbers among that great batch of films made in the early seventies, when the Hollywood studio system was in crisis and desperate to give anything a try. The counter-culture had worked its way into the mainstream (but was dying on the streets), the country was struggling to come to terms with its increasing violent engagement in Vietnam.

Released in 1970 and set in New Orleans, WUSA is a character study of three people, all in the wrong place at the wrong time, even if they don’t know it yet.

Joanne Woodward is Geraldine, a dishwater blond with a razor cut across one check courtesy of the abusive husband she left behind in Texas.

Anthony Perkins is Rainey, an idealistic Christian who thinks he’s been employed to do a survey to help the city’s black population, but has actually been set up by the city’s right-wing politicians to help them throw people off welfare.

Newman is Rheinhardt, a cynical alcoholic drifter. His first point of call after arriving in New Orleans is a church service on skid row being run by a fafe priest, Farley, who owes Rheinhardt a hundred dollars from a previous scam in New York. … Read more