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An Unknown Friend (1978)

Tuntematon ystävä (original title)
The cold and ruthless Bruno is married to Karen. Together they seek out poor and defenseless people offering them life insurance policies. Bruna and Karen make sure that it pays off.


Lars G. Thelestam
1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kate O'Mara ... Karen Lindén / 'Judith Russell' / 'Berit Lindström'
Bruno O'Ya ... Bruno Lindén / 'Furman' / 'priest'
Åke Lindman ... Olavi Susikoski
Anne Marie Pohtamo ... Dr. Harriet Berg (as Anne Pohtamo)
Nanny Westerlund Nanny Westerlund ... Lydia Lindström
Jukka-Pekka Palo Jukka-Pekka Palo ... Risto Ahvenainen
Risto Mäkelä Risto Mäkelä ... Unto Åkerblom
Pekka Autiovuori Pekka Autiovuori ... Det. Laine
Kauko Helovirta Kauko Helovirta ... Dr. Oiva Berg
Hannu Huuska Hannu Huuska ... Salesman
Kaarlo Juurela Kaarlo Juurela ... Clerk at the parish office
Leila Itkonen Leila Itkonen ... Lydia's neighbor
Martti Kuningas Martti Kuningas ... Night shelter supervisor
Heidi Krohn ... Night nurse
Martti Kuisma Martti Kuisma ... Taxi driver


The cold and ruthless Bruno is married to Karen. Together they seek out poor and defenseless people offering them life insurance policies. Bruna and Karen make sure that it pays off.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Thriller


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Finnish | English

Release Date:

20 January 1978 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

An Unknown Friend See more »

Filming Locations:

Helsinki, Finland See more »


Box Office


FIM2,400,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmi-Jatta See more »
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Technical Specs



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Strangers Can Turn To Lovers
Composed by Rauno Lehtinen
Sung by Kate O'Mara
See more »

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User Reviews

Unknown for a reason
31 December 2012 | by YrmySee all my reviews

Tuntematon ystävä was the third attempt to film the works of popular and populist Finnish detective novelist Mauri Sariola. Based loosely on the 1970 novel Susikoski virittää ansan, the film also features his most famous protagonist, the no-nonsense, conservative Detective Inspector (later Superintendent) Susikoski. It was also probably the worst of the three.

Sariola's strong points usually lay more with his characters and typically acerbic observations about society and people than his often mechanistic and haphazard plots. Unfortunately, what Tuntematon ystävä takes from its source is mostly the heavily reworked basic plot, which in the film concerns an American-Finnish couple who murder various "society's parasites" for their insurance money.

The film does try. At the time, it was for Finnish cinema an exceptionally brazen attempt to make a mainstream commercial thriller with international cast and a climax shot in Morocco. The end result, however, is on par with a mediocre television film, which totally wastes its elite cast, including Lindholm in the title role. Staging, dialogue and attempts at suspense in fact now seem more fitting for a comedy than a thriller. Even a record-breaking marketing campaign couldn't turn the film into the hit it aspired to be.

Women get to provide the few bright spots in the overall gloom: the ex-Miss Finland Pohtamo may be hilariously incapable of acting, but Westerlund shines as a dotty would-be victim, and the long-suffering O'Mara - who was immensely popular in Finland at the time thanks to The Brothers - actually manages to work some depth into her role as a reluctant femme fatale.

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