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Movies You Will Never See/Empires of Crime/Part 21


*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13

*Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including “Rolling Thunder,”Fort Apache, The Bronx,”Boys From Brazil”and “Cocktail.”

EMPIRES OF CRIME /Part 21

By Heywood Gould

PART IV

ACT ONE


INT. DEWEY BEDROOM. NIGHT

THE PHONE RINGS. Frances, now in her eighth month of pregnancy is rudely awakened. She answers with a look of alarm.

        FRANCES
Hello…For God’s sake, Tom,
do you know how I frightened
I get..?

INT.TOM’S OFFICE. NIGHT.(CROSSCUT)

Tom’s staff, exhausted from long hours of work watches as Tom, fresh and energetic, waves an OFFICIAL ENVELOPE.

        TOM
I know it’s late, but I
had to call. I am holding
in my hand a sealed
indictment against Dutch
Schultz. Seventeen counts
of tax evasion, racketeering
and extortion. It finally
came through, Frances. We’re
on our way.

        FRANCES
You’d better be on your way
home.

INT. CORRIDOR. NIGHT

Tom walks briskly down the corridor, his weary staff struggling to keep pace.

        TOM
Go home and get forty winks.
I want you all back here at
8:30 for the press conference.

They say “Good night” to a JANITOR mopping the floor.

OCTOBER 24, 1935

INT. PALACE CHOP HOUSE. NIGHT

A sawdust joint in Newark. Schultz and Landau and his boys are at a round table in the back behind pitchers of beer and bowls of steamers. The janitor stands awkwardly, twisting his cap.

        SCHULTZ
Here’s to Stanley, our intrepid
spy in the enemy camp.

camp.

        A TIPSY THUG
Our Mata Hari.

Schultz pours a beer over his head.

        SCHULTZ
Mata Hari was a broad, stupid.
stupid. What’s the news on the
Rialto, Stanley?

        JANITOR
That indictment came down
today, Mr. Schultz. Dewey’s
gonna arrest you tomorrow
and walk you in for the
newsreel boys…

        SCHULTZ
See? I get persecuted for
givin’ people a decent
glass of beer.
(sticks a roll of bills
in his pocket)
Stanley, it’s friends like
you who make this cruddy
world a better place…Put
your kids through college
so they don’t have to fight
in the gutter with the dogs
for a scrap of meat…

The janitor says a hasty “thank you,” and slips away, relieved to be out of there. Schultz turns to Abe Landau.

        SCHULTZ
Abie baby, we gotta move…

move…

        LANDAU
All you gotta do is say
when, boss.

        SCHULTZ
When huh?
(working himself up)
That little runt thinks that
when Dutch goes to jail
everybody’ll turn into a
little angel. No more gamblin’,
no drinkin’ no chippyin’
around when Dutch is gone.

He screams with rage and throws the pitcher against the wall, shattering it. His men duck the flying glass. Suddenly calm, Schultz brandishes the jagged handle in Landau’s face.

        SCHULTZ
When… my world is clouded
by fear/I have a bucket of
clams/ And a pitcher of beer…
When my pal Abie draws near/
The sun comes up/And the skies
are clear.

INT. CHARLEY’S OFFICE. NIGHT.

Tense and smoke filled. All eyes are on Charley.

        CHARLEY
I told Dutch a hundred times:
They got Capone on taxes. Get
a front.

        MEYER
A guy like that can bring
everybody down.

        GENOVESE
Maybe Dewey’ll let him cop
a plea.

        CHARLEY
Nah. Nailin’ Dutch is Dewey’s
ticket to the Governor’s
mansion and he knows it.

        MEYER
Meanwhile Dutch is casin’
Dewey.

        ANASTASIA
We talked him outta that.

        CHARLEY
You don’t talk a lunatic
outta nothin’.

        ANASTASIA
Okay so he does what he does.
Good for us, right?

        CHARLEY
Wrong. You kill a New York
DA they’ll send the troops
in here. You can’t embarrass
the President of the United
States in his home town.

        GENOVESE
Yeah, but with Dutch gone
Dewey’ll go after you.

        CHARLEY
I know that Vito. I’ve looked
at this thing up, down and
backwards. One of these guys
has gotta go.

        ANASTASIA
Jeeze, Charley, Dutch is one
of us.

        MEYER
Yeah. Of course with Dutch
gone all his rackets will
be up for grabs…

The men nod, thoughtfully.

        CHARLEY
That’s good point, Meyer.

INT. PALACE CHOP HOUSE. NIGHT

Whiskey bottles have replaced the pitchers of beer. Everyone is soused but Landau, who drinks coffee and puffs nervously on a cigarette. A bespectacled BOOKKEEPER has arrived and is pounding on an adding machine as Schultz chants a drunken accompaniment.

        SCHULTZ
Cowboy Dutch rode out of the
west/With boozenon his shirt
and egg on his vest/Oh gimme,
he said, the light of the
stars/ Instead of the twinkle
of bottles on bars.

        BOOKKEEPER
We made $827,253.54 last week.

        SCHULTZ
Oh mama, we’ll have to go on
welfare.

His laugh freezes, his face contorts with hatred and his pounds his fist in the table.

        SCHULTZ
If that little rat thinks he
can shut me down…
(shoves a bottle at Landau)
Have a drink, Abie, it’ll give
you courage.

        LANDAU
I don’t need it.

        SCHULTZ
Like in the drugstore the
other day, huh?

        LANDAU
There were too many people
around.

        SCHULTZ
This is the biggest thing
anybody’s ever done, Abie
boy…Are you ready to go
down in history?

He stops and squints as he sees:

CHARLEY WORKMAN AND A HOOD

walking through the door. Before they can see him:

SCHULTZ

jumps up and heads for the bathroom.

        SCHULTZ
Don’t go away, Abie.

        BOOKKEEPER
What are you gonna do with
all this money?

        SCHULTZ
Take it in nickels and play
the slots…

INT.BATHROOM. NIGHT.

Schultz enters and locks the door behind him. Suddenly, there is the CRACK of SHOTS. Schultz cringes and runs into a stall.

IN THE RESTAURANT

Charley Workman and his accomplice are blasting away with pistols and sawed offs. The three hoods can’t get to their guns in time and are riddled with bullets.

IN THE BATHROOM

Silence…Schultz peeks out of a stall. He opens the bathroom door, carefully. Edges out…Sees no one… But then:

THE DOOR

flies open. Charley Workman is standing there with a .38 and a .45. He empties the guns.

SCHULTZ

is hit twice and driven back against the wall. He gets to his feet as more SHOTS ring out. Then it is quiet. Schultz staggers out. The restaurant is empty. The BARTENDER rises from under the bar. Shultz’s three men are sprawled, bleeding at the table. He collapses in a chair.

        SCHULTZ
Somebody call an ambulance!

THE THUG

manages to get to his feet, a bloody mess, and stumble to the bar where he demands:

        THUG
Gimme change of a quarter…

SCHULTZ

throws a nickel at him.

        SCHULTZ
Here’s a nickel, you cheap
bastard!

Then turns as:

LANDAU

looks at him with hatred in his dying eyes.

        LANDAU
You saw those guys come in…

in…

        SCHULTZ
Don’t talk, kid, save your
strength.

        LANDAU
Put me on the spot to get rid
of me so I couldn’t talk to
Dewey…

        SCHULTZ
They were after me, not you.

Landau steadies a gun in his bloody grasp.

        LANDAU
This is how you pay me back
after all the dirty deals I
done for you

        SCHULTZ
(gets up)
They were after me, Abie…

Landau fires. Schultz is hit in the shoulder.

        SCHULTZ
Whaddya nuts..?

He turns to run. Landau shoots him in the back. He goes down with a scream of pain.

        SCHULTZ
They were after me I tellya…

INT. CHARLEY’S BEDROOM. NIGHT.

Charley and Nancy are cuddling in bed reading the “funnies.” He turns the page.

        NANCY
Hold it, I ain’t finished.

        CHARLEY
You like Blondie and Dagwood?
You know what Blondie does
when Dagwood goes to work.
The milkman, the plumber,
the grocery boy…

        NANCY
(with a playful slap)
You would think that with
your dirty mind…

The phone rings.

        CHARLEY
Do me a favor, honey…

        NANCY
(rolling off the bed)
I know. Let the water run…

        CHARLEY
(slaps her in the behind)
You got a tough life. Just
get me a cigarette…
(into the phone)
Yeah…Okay…
(hangs up)
I hope Mr. Dewey appreciates
what I just done for him.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. NIGHT

Murray Gurfein pushes through a crowd of COPS, REPORTERS, NURSES, etc. to the bedside where a dying Dutch Schultz is raving.

        SCHULTZ
George, don’t make no bull
moves…Oh Mama, Mama,
please stop doin’ that…

        GURFEIN
Who did this, Dutch?

Schultz looks up, suddenly lucid, and smiles.

        SCHULTZ
The big boss. The man upstairs.

INT.TOM’S OFFICE. DAY

The next morning. A TABLOID HEADLINE on Tom’s desk screams: DUTCH Schultz SLAIN. Tom and his staff do their own post mortem.

        DEWEY
The big boss, the man upstairs…

        CARTER
Sounds like God…

        HURWITZ
The man upstairs is one of
Luciano’s nicknames..

        TOM
Why would Luciano kill
Schultz?

        HURWITZ
Afraid he would make a deal
and testify against him.

        TOM
No, Schultz isn’t an informer.
Maybe I flatter myself but I
assume Luciano knows me well
enough to know I won’t make a
deal.

        GURFEIN
You flatter him, too.

        TOM
Luciano is many things, but
he’s not stupid. If he did
kill Schultz he has a good
reason.

        CARTER
Maybe he’s afraid of a long
trial with a lot of bad
publicity for the mob.

        HURWITZ
Or that a big Page One
conviction would increase
your prestige.

        TOM
It would make a hero out of
me and he doesn’t want that.
So what we’re saying is
killing Schultz is a
strategic move against us.
Well if it is, the strategy
will backfire. Now that
Schultz is gone, Luciano is
our number one target.

        GURFEIN
He’ll be tougher than Schultz.
He’s discreet. Only talks to
his inner circle.

        HURWITZ
We’ve been trying to get a
microphone into his office
at the drugstore for months..

        TOM
Bug his suite at the Waldorf.
Put taps on his phone, on
Lansky’s too. Go over his
personal and financial
records. Spread the word
through the prisons offering
leniency to anyone who comes
forward with information. Get
the public interested. Use the
press to get the story out.
Arrest every bookie, every
shylock or petty crook you can
get your hands on and make sure
the news boys are there to see
it.

INT. HORSE ROOM. DAY

A betting operation. BOOKIES mark race results on a BLACKBOARD. BETTORS line up in front of a wire cage. Suddenly, the COPS bust in, announcing: “This is a raid.” The bettors rush for the exits, the bookies, destroy the ticker tape, the CLERKS hide the money.

VICTOR HURWITZ

arrives, barking orders.

        HURWITZ
Round ‘em up. Single file
right here…

When the ARRESTEES protest, Hurwitz warns:

        HURWITZ
Play ball fellas or we’ll
charge you with unlawful
flight and resisting arrest.
Okay, spruce up, you’re makin’
your screen debut.
(calls)
C’mon in boys…

REPORTERS, PHOTOGS and NEWSREEL CREWS run in. FLASHES POP, CAMERAS turn. One CAMERA TRIPOD teeters on a DOLLY and goes down the line. Some of the men hide their faces, others stare straight ahead, others shout and gesture defiantly.

DISSOLVE TO:

A BLACK AND WHITE NEWSREEL IMAGE of the arrestees, which DISSOLVES into:

NEWSREEL (STOCK FOOTAGE)

COPS raiding WIRE ROOMS, GAMBLING JOINTS and rush GAMBLERS and SHYLOCKS into paddy wagons.

        NEWSCASTER
Gangbuster Tom Dewey declares
war on Lucky Luciano…Hundreds
of police officers raid the dens
of bookies and gamblers…

NEWSREEL…TOM speaks to the press

        TOM
Our target is the man in the
swank car selling spurious
pipe dreams of wealth while
he takes bread from the mouths
of the poor…Charles Luciano

        REPORTER
(baiting him)
C’mon Tom, Lucky’s a good
sport.

        TOM
Don’t be fooled by the silk
suits and the fancy friends.
He’s nothing but a cheap crook.
A thing of the past like Tommy guns
and rot gut booze.

IN CHARLEY’S SUITE..Charley rails to Meyer and his boys.

        CHARLEY
Takin’ bread from poor people?
I didn’t make ‘em poor. I pay
500 to one if they hit a number.
I give people a chance to get
rich.

        MEYER
All they want us to do is
close down, so they can
brag they cleaned up the
town. We cansneak back when
the smoke clears…

        CHARLEY
A thing of the past, huh. I
got news for him: twenty years
from now people will be
gamblin’ more than they do
today. And Dewey’ll be chasin’
ambulances…

        MEYER
And we’ll be layin’ in the
sun in Miami Beach.

        CHARLEY
Miami’s a place you go when
you have a cold, Meyer…I’ll
be on Broadway bigger than
ever. Albert, is the town
locked down?

        ANASTASIA
Tight as a drum, Charley.

        CHARLEY
Dewey made a mistake shootin’
his mouth off. Now he’s gotta
make good on his promise.
Nobody’ll talk to him. New
York is my town. People love
me here. Nobody’ll rat on me
in New York.

INT. HOLDING PEN. NIGHT.

A huge empty office space in the Woolworth Building has been turned into a holding pen for HUNDREDS of PRISONERS. It’s a bedlam of defiant prisoners and threatening cops. PAN ALONG a line of DETECTIVES interrogating the PRISONERS, smacking some, shoving others into radiators, shaking still others in frustration. Everyone is innocent. No one knows Lucky Luciano.

        DETECTIVE
Who do you pay off to? Who’s
the big fish.

        HOOD
How would I know? I’m a
little shrimp.

Further down the line.

        DETECTIVE 2
You run the biggest loansharking
operation in the Garment Center.
You gonna tell me you never heard
of Lucky Luciano?

        LOANSHARK
(offering his wallet)
Here, take my money, take
everything I got. Send me to
the pen for not talkin’, I’ll
make points with the guys who
count.

And a well dressed GAMBLER explains.

        GAMBLER
Nobody’ll talk. You testify
against Lucky Luciano there’s
no hole in the world you can
hide in…

INT.TOM’S OFFICE. DAY

Tom goes through a stack of reports and glares at his staff.

        TOM
How many people have we
questioned so far?

        CARTER
Three hundred and thirteen.

        TOM
No leads to Luciano?

        CARTER
None. Luciano insulates himself
from the day to day operations
of his rackets.

        TOM
Any witnesses willing to
testify?

        HURWITZ
None.

        TOM
Anything from the wiretaps?

        GURFEIN
Nothing. Luciano doesn’t use
the phone for much more than
making dinner reservations.

        TOM
How about his finances?

        HURWITZ
Squeaky clean. Lansky is a
shrewd bookkeeper

        TOM
Shrewd? The man has an eighth
grade education.

        GURFEIN
It’s not only fear or smart
accounting. It’s loyalty.
Luciano takes care of his
people.

        TOM
So now this greasy hoodlum is
a benevolent despot? I don’t
have to tell you people how
important this is. We’ve put
our careers on the line. If
we fail, each of us is finished
in public life.

INT. BROTHEL. NIGHT

A tacky midtown hotel room. Nancy and some other girls look on in horror as Dave Miller, the pudgy pimp from Philadelphia, careens into the frame, clothes torn, face bloodied, pleading:

        MILLER
I gave you everything I have.
You can’t get blood from a
stone…

Little Davey Bettilo moves in and grabs him by the throat.

        BETTILO
You lyin’ little pimp you’re
short Three C’s.

        MILLER
I’m tellin’ you business is
slow in this Depression.

        BETTILO
Everybody’s still got a deuce
for a little fun. Make the
girls work a little harder.
Look at this little princess
sittin’ around readin’ the
funny papers…

        MILLER
For God’s sake, she’s Charley
Lucky’s girl…

        BETTILO
Shut up with that!

Bettilo clubs him down and kicks at him as he warns:

        BETTILO
Didn’t I tellya never to
mention that name.

        MILLER
(cringing)
Okay, okay, I’m sorry…

        BETTILO
(shakes him)
Get up six hundred bucks this
Friday or you’re back sellin’
dirty postcards in Penn Station…
If you live that long.

He drops Miller on the floor and storms out. Nancy runs over to help Miller up.

        NANCY
You okay, Dave?

        MILLER
(gasping)
He’s tryin’ to drive me outta
business, Nancy. He wants my
spots, my girls.

        NANCY
Take it easy, you’re gonna
have a heart attack…

        MILLER
You gotta help me. You gotta
talk to 3 12 for me…

        NANCY
I can’t do that.

        MILLER
He’s a fair guy. He’ll listen.
C’mon everybody knows he’s
sweet on you…

        NANCY
Yeah, but he’s got a whole
fairy tale goin’ on about us.
When I’m with him it’s like
we’re just an ordinary married
couple. We don’t even go out,
just sit around and listen to
the radio. If I talk business
he’ll throw me out on my ass
and it’ll go worse for you.

INT. DEWEY BEDROOM, NIGHT

A BABY CRIES. In bed Frances watches in amusement as Tom paces the floor holding their infant son, JOHN.

        TOM
He’s not happy…

        FRANCES
Give him time to get used to
you. After all you’re almost
a stranger.

The PHONE RINGS

        FRANCES
Saved by the bell.

        TOM
(hands her the baby)
Trade you…Hello…

INT.TOM’S OFFICE. NIGHT.

Gurfein is on the phone.

        GURFEIN
Sorry to bother you, chief but
a gentleman just walked in
with a very interesting story
about Lucky Luciano.

PAN TO Dave Miller, bruised, bandaged and trembling with rage.

END ACT ONE


Next: Part 22/Act 2: Dewey Hunts Lucky

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor’s Mansion and almost to the White House.

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13. Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

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