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Movies You Will Never See/Empires Of Crime/Part 26

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13

For easy access to the beginning of the script and older excerpts go to the homepage.

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

EMPIRES OF CRIME

By Heywood Gould

HOUR V

ACT TWO


EXT. CENTRAL PARK.NIGHT.

In the dead of a cold winter’s night. Meyer and Polakoff turn down a narrow lane.

        POLAKOFF
They contacted me because I
was a Naval officer in the
last war, They’re desperate,
Meyer.

        MEYER
They must be if they’re
reaching out to us.

Haffenden rises from a bench as Meyer and Polakoff approach.

        POLAKOFF
Lieutenant Commander Haffenden,
Meyer Lansky.

        HAFFENDEN
Thanks for coming, Mr. Lansky.
Did Mo, tell you why we wanted
you to speak to you?

        MEYER
He said you guys were in big
trouble and needed a favor.

        HAFFENDEN
Well, I wouldn’t go that far…

        POLAKOFF
It’s too cold and the situat-
ion is too urgent to mince
words, Red. Commander Haffenden
is in charge of security for
the Port of New York, Meyer,
but he can’t control the docks
and needs your help. Isn’t that
right, Red?

        HAFFENDEN
In a nutshell, Mo.

        POLAKOFF
Good. Now that we’ve cleared
the air, I’ll be going. I
don’t want to be a witness
to this conversation. Good
night…

As he walks away…

        MEYER
Watch out you don’t get
mugged, Mo.
(and turns to Haffeneden)
What’s your problem,
Commander?

        HAFFENDEN
Hundreds of ships move in
and out of New York Harbor
every day carrying top
secret cargo.The docks are
a strategic area and must
be secure against enemy
penetration. But we’ve
had sabotage. Longshoremen
refusing to unload military
ships. Theft and vandalism…

        MEYER
I sympathize, but I’m not
associated with the Longshore-
man’s Union…

        HAFFENDEN
You’re associated with Albert
Anastasia.

        MEYER
Wrong pew, pal. He don’t take
orders from me.

        HAFFENDEN
Look, I’m not a cop. This is
a military uniform. I need
help, no questions asked.

        LANSKY
Okay…What can I do for you?

        HAFFENDEN
I need to move freely on the
docks. I need union cards and
cover jobs for my agents.
Intelligence on all traffic in
and out of the port. I want to
plant bugs and wiretaps on
certain individuals we suspect
are working for the enemy. Of
course I don’t expect this to
be free…

        MEYER
(bristles)
I’m an American just like
you. You think I’ll take a
payoff while our boys are
being shot down in the
Pacific? I’m a Jew. You think
I’m rootin’ for Hitler?

        HAFFENDEN
I know people like you expect
some quid pro quo…

        MEYER
You don’t know nothin’ about
people like me… If you
really wanna control the
docks there’s only one man
to talk to…Charley Luciano.

        HAFFENDEN
(beginning to understand)
And how do I get to him?

        MEYER
Ask Governor Dewey, he’ll
tell you…

INT. GOVERNOR’S OFFICE. DAY

Large and imposing. Dewey sits almost dwarfed behind an oaken desk, seething as Haffenden makes his presentation at a COASTAL MAP.

        HAFFENDEN
We have hundreds of miles
of unprotected coast line.
You can see how vulnerable
we are.

        TOM
Of course I can. What I
don’t see is why we have
to deal with gangsters to
protect out vital interests…
Why don’t we just declare
Martial Law? I’ll send my
State Troopers, you send in
your Shore Patrol and we’ll
drive them out.

        HAFFENDEN
We can’t occupy part of
America as if it were enemy
territory. We can’t treat
American longshoremen as
enemy agents.

        TOM
This is just a trick to get
Luciano out of jail. I
wouldn’t be surprised if
they had burnt down the
Normandie themselves.

        HAFFENDEN
If they did that’s just
another reason deal with
them.

        TOM
They’ve been looking for a
way to spring him for six
years. They tried bribery,
intimidation. They tracked
my witnesses down and got
them to recant their
testimony. Called me a liar,
a suborner of perjury. Said
I framed Luciano to advance
my political career. Now
they’re using the war.

        HAFFENDEN
I have no illusions about
Luciano. But if he can be
useful to us, if he can help
us save one life then it is
our moral obligation to do
business with him.

        TOM
You’re right, of course.
But there’s a political
angle to this. I’ve
convinced people that I’ve
driven the Mob out of New
York.  And now I’ll have to
acknowledge that the harbor
is totally under their control.

        HAFFENDEN
This is just as embarrassing
to the Navy as it is to you,
Governor. That’s why it’s top
secret. No one will ever know
what happened here.

INT. CHARLEY’S CELL. DAY

The walls are plastered with MAPS of Europe and Asia. There are little GREEN TACKS showing the disposition of American troops. A RADIO is tuned to the latest news. Charley is cutting articles out of the paper while Haffenden studies the maps.

        HAFFENDEN
I see you keep up to date on
the war news.

        CHARLEY
I change the map every day.
See those blue tacks in the
Pacific. That’s our Navy
comin’ on strong. We’re
gonna beat the crap outta
them Japs.

        HAFFENDEN
You’re a real patriot, Mr.
Luciano.

        CHARLEY
(wary)
I love my country, but I
ain’t a crum. If I go into
battle I want a medal.

        HAFFENDEN
Medals go to those who perform
above and beyond the call of
duty.

        CHARLEY
Medals go to the guys who
do favors for the bosses.
Dewey in on this?

        HAFFENDEN
Governor Dewey has given me
permission to ask you for
help, but not to offer any
concessions.

        CHARLEY
What if I say no concessions,
no deal?

        HAFFENDEN
Then I go away and you rot
in jail.

        CHARLEY
And Dewey gets a black mark.
People will say ‘that arrogant
sonofabitch would rather lose
the war than ask Lucky Luciano
for favor.’

        HAFFENDEN
Mr. Luciano, I’ve been given
orders to secure the water-
front and I’m going to do it
with you or without you. If I
have to I’ll put the docks
under martial law, lock up your
friends and use the militia to
unload the ships. Then, I’ll
let it be known that you
refused to help. People will
say:’that Luciano: not only
is he a pimp, but he’s a
traitor, too.’

        CHARLEY
(winces, but has to smile)
I’ll say one thing for you,
Red, you ain’t tryin’ to
soft soap me.

        HAFFENDEN
I don’t want to take that
kind of action. I want you
to cooperate for the good
of the country and for your
own benefit. I can’t promise
you anything, but I can tell
you this: the Navy takes
care of its own. We reward
loyalty.

        CHARLEY
Yeah. So do we.
(offers his hand)
My friends call me Charley.

        HAFFENDEN
(shakes it in relief)
Welcome aboard, Charley.

EXT. DOCKS. DAY

Anastasia and Lansky are waiting as a THREE CAR CONVOY of NAVY SEDANS pulls up. Charley gets out, dapper in a dark suit and yellow and black handkerchief. He is followed by Haffenden in his dress uniform. The men welcome him with hugs and handshakes.

        MEYER
Charley, you look great.
The Navy takin’ care of
you?

        CHARLEY
I’m like the lion in the
zoo, kid. I got the best
cage and the freshest meat,
but I ain’t in the jungle
where I belong.

        ANASTASIA
The guys can’t wait to see
you, Charley.

        CHARLEY
Old home week, huh?  Red,
you better wait here. This
is a conversation you don’t
need to hear.

        HAFFENDEN
(moving off)
Be careful, Charley.

As they walk toward  the shed, Anastasia boasts:

        ANASTASIA
I told you we’d find a way
to get you out, didn’t I,
Charley?

        CHARLEY
Did you have somethin’ to
do with that Normandie
thing?

        ANASTASIA
Nah I’m just lettin’ the
rumor spread…

        CHARLEY
You better nip it in the
bud. They’re lookin’ for a
fall guy. Keep braggin’
they’ll pin it on you.

INT.SHACK.DAY

A crowd of well dressed RACKETEERS, among them Costello and Lanza gather around Charley,laughing, pounding him on the back. Charley steps back and calls for silence.

        CHARLEY
Great to see you millionaires.
You do good, you look good,
right? This is still a good
thing we got goin’. And we
gotta protect what we got,
right?

“RIGHT!” They all agree.

        CHARLEY
Take a good look out that
window. You see that Destroyer
with them big guns? One blast
takes out this shack and every-
body in it. I tellya this
‘cause I don’t want you to
think you’re holdin’ cards
on Uncle Sam. He’s got all
the aces. We been drafted
just like them kids crawlin’
in the mud in the Pacific
and we’re gonna do our part.
So first the docks: Albert
you open up Brooklyn. Make
sure those wallyos in the
union cooperate with Navy.

        ANASTASIA
We’re puttin’ ourselves out
on a limb, Charley? What if
the other guys win?

        CHARLEY
You think Hitler’s gonna
let us run our rackets?
What’s the first thing
Mussolini did when he
took over? Locked up all
the Mafiosi. The other guys
win we’re outta business…
I ain’t wavin’ a flag here,
I’m wavin’ your wallets.
(to a big, redfaced GOON)
Everybody says Cockeye
Johnny Dunne runs the
waterfront with an iron
hand. Nothin’ happens under
his nose.

        DUNNE
That’s right.

        CHARLEY
Oh yeah? The Navy says German
agents have been hirin’
American boats to meet Nazi
subs at the twelve mile limit
and smugglein spies and
weapons.

        DUNNE
I catch ‘em I’ll break their
necks.

        CHARLEY
You catch ‘em you’ll turn
‘em over to the Navy.
(to Lanza)
Socks, you run the Fulton
Fish Market. You got your
muscle over there. Commander
Haffenden wants somethin’
done you do it, understand?

        LANZA
This country’s been tryin’
to put me in jail for thirty
years, why should I be
patriotic?

        CHARLEY
‘Cause if it wasn’t for
America you’d still be
swipin’ bicycle tires in
Palermo..
(puts his arm around Meyer)
Meyer’s gonna take care of
all the details for Navy
Intelligence, union cards,
special jobs. You get any
information, tell him. He’s
my right hand as usual. If
he says ‘Charley wants this
done,’ do it.

        ANASTASIA
(resentful)
Just like the old days.

        CHARLEY
That’s right, Albert, I’m
back runnin’ things. Only
this time I got a big finger
on the trigger. Forget them
crummy cops and politicians,
I got the United States Navy
behind me now.

EXT. DOCKS. DAY.

A crowd of LONGSHOREMEN mills expectantly outside the shack. Charley emerges from the shack. They cheer and rush toward him.

HAFFENDEN

overtakes Charley, waving for his agents to follow him.

        HAFFENDEN
Hey Charley, wait up…

        CHARLEY
Don’t worry, Red, everything’s
all buttoned up. I’m just
gonna give the boys a little
pep talk…

        HAFFENDEN
I don’t like you walking
into the middle of that
crowd. We’ve been wire-
tapping Anastasia and the
Mangano brothers, even
Socks Lanza. They resent
having to pay out your
percentage every month.
They’ve been saying some
pretty threatening things
about you and Meyer Lansky…

        CHARLEY
Even behind bars I make more
money for these guys than
they can make on their own.
They ain’t gonna rip up their
meal ticket. Everybody likes
to gripe about the boss.
Wanna get a real earful?
Wiretap your wife.
(greets the Longshoremen)
Hey fellas, everything al-
right? The union takin’ care of you?

Haffenden holds his men off and watches nervously as the Longshoremen gather around Charley.

        CHARLEY
I just enlisted. The war
should be over any day now.

The Longshoremen laugh. “Won’t be long now…”

        CHARLEY
Everybody’s gonna have to
pitch in if we wanna win
this. The Navy’s sendin’
guys out to die so we can
be free to make money.
Least we can do is give
‘em a hand.

        LONGSHOREMAN
I got family in Italy, Lucky.

        CHARLEY
Me too, we all do. But
America’s puttin’ bread on
your table, givin’ you a
future for your kids. Any-
body got any doubt about
who the good guys are, ask
your relatives what it’s
like to be shook down by
Mussolini. I’ll take Albert
Anastasia any day.

The Longshoremen roar with laughter.

        CHARLEY
Are you with me?

They cheer and holler “We’re with you, Lucky..” ‘Anything you say.”

EXT. ROADHOUSE. NIGHT.

Dark, deserted. A NAVY SEDAN pulls up. Haffenden jumps out.

        HAFFENDEN
Want a cup of coffee, Charley?

        CHARLEY
Joint looks like it’s closed.

But as he steps through the door the LIGHTS go on. A SWING BAND strikes up. A congenial mix of NAVY MEN and RACKETEERS rushes up to welcome Charley. Polakoff waves. Meyer approaches.

        MEYER
Welcome home, Charley.

        CHARLEY
This must have set you back
plenty, kid.

        MEYER
This party’s on the Navy.

Charley turns to Haffenden who is standing behind, beaming.

        CHARLEY
Dewey’s not gonna like this,
Red.

        HAFFENDEN
What do you guys say? What
he don’t know won’t hurt
him.

Suddenly, a pair of FEMALE HANDS covers his eyes.

        CHARLEY
I’d know that perfume
anywhere.

He turns and sees Gay Orlova, resplendent but uncertain.

        ORLOVA
Remember me?

        CHARLEY
(embracing her)
Remember you? I’ve only been
thinkin’ about you every day
for the last six years.. I
thought you woulda married
some rich old bastard by now.

        ORLOVA
You’re the only rich old
bastard I care about.

        MEYER
There’s a room upstairs if
you want.

        CHARLEY
Well look, who’s playin’
Cupid.
(takes Gay’s arm)
Now I know what I’m fightin’
for. God Bless America…

END ACT TWO

Next:Part 27/Act 3:Charlie, The Hero

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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