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Movies You Will Never See/ Empires Of Crime/Part 27

*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 THREE

EXT. PIER 31. NIGHT

A TUG cuts its engines and floats in under cover of darkness.

        HAFFENDEN
(v.o.)
Johnny Dunne’s sources told
us that this one tug boat
captain had been flashing a
big roll. The night of the
13th, they waited for it to
come back to port.

THREE MEN hop nimbly off the boat and are about to melt away when the DOCK LIGHTS come on. A GROUP OF LONGSHOREMEN led by Johnny Dunne rush out and overpower them.

        HAFFENDEN
The tug had made contact
with a U Boat beyond the
twelve mile limit and
picked up three German
spies..Under interrogation
they revealed the details
of another operation and we
grabbed six Nazi saboteurs
off Montauk the next week…

INT. WATERFRONT DIVE. NIGHT

Smoky, noisy. SOLDIERS, SAILORS and BAR GIRLS. A SOBER MAN in the place sits quietly at the bar watching several OLDER MEN in suits who definitely don’t belong enter a back room, guarded by TWO BURLY BOUNCERS.

        HAFFENDEN
Last month Socks Lanza told
us about a bar that was
being used as a front to
move counterfeit money…

HAFFENDEN

in civilian clothes, enters with several AGENTS. The Sober man slides off his stool, a LEAD PIPE protruding from his sleeve. He moves quickly to the door and “pipes” the bouncers, just as Haffenden and his men arrive.

        HAFFENDEN
We hit a Nazi propaganda
operation.

Guns drawn they break through the door into a PRINTING PLANT and surprise a GROUP OF MEN.

        HAFFENDEN
A mail drop and communicat-
ions center for agents in
the field.

INT.GOVERNOR’S OFFICE. DAY

Haffenden reports enthusiastically to Dewey, who listens skeptically, while looking over the reports.

        HAFFENDEN
We seized two hundred thousand
in counterfeit bills and got
leads on Nazi cells in
Minneapolis and San Diego…

        TOM
(sarcastic)
I see you’re calling it
Operation Underworld…
Catchy name for the press?

        HAFFENDEN
This operation is top secret
and will stay that way.

        TOM
Not planning to put Luciano
up for the Congressional
Medal?

        HAFFENDEN
No, but I must admit the
operation is surpassing
our expectations. Luciano
runs the mob with an iron
hand…

        TOM
I know, that’s why he’s
in jail. I’m afraid that
like everyone else you’re
falling for his fabled
charm,Commander. And like
everyone else he’s taking
advantage of you.

He pushes a stack of SURVEILLANCE PHOTOS across the desk and in mounting indignation:

        TOM
Luciano getting out of
a Navy sedan with Gay
Orlova…Military business?…
Luciano meeting Meyer Lansky
outside Bernstein’s Delicatessen…
Exchanging intelligence?Luciano
in a private room at Celano’s
Restaurant. Did you know that
Celano’s was Luciano’s private
meeting place where he gave out
murder contracts among other
patriotic activities?

        HAFFENDEN
With all due respect Governor,
Luciano is a key asset in an
important military operation.

        TOM
This man is a murderer, a
drug dealer and a pimp
convicted and sentenced
under the laws of New York
State. And you are allowing
him to go out and continue
to run his operation. You
keep him in his cell and
treat him like every other
convict, or I’ll take him
away from you. Is that
clear, Commander?

        HAFFENDEN
Yes sir, very clear

INT. CHARLEY’S CELL. DAY

It’s been converted into a war room. MAPS line the walls, NAVY OFFICERS confer the with MOBSTERS, taking notes, placing pins in strategic locations. Haffenden is on the phone with Washington.

        HAFFENDEN
I’m sending a courier to
the War Department with a
package of maps and
intelligence reports we’ve
picked up from our under-
world sources.

Charley in a PEA JACKET and SHIP’S CAP and  comes in with VINCE MANGANO, a defiant Brooklyn mobster in tow. Haffenden waves, angrily.

        HAFFENDEN
I think you’ll be able to
use their information…
Good bye sir…
(hangs up)
Where the hell were you?

        CHARLEY
The cell door was open so
I just went out for some
fresh air. I put on the
jacket and cap and walked
right by Dewey’s guys…

        HAFFENDEN
I could get in big trouble
for this…

        CHARLEY
I had to go, Red. See, I
been tryin’ to get my
friend here to come see
you, but he stays in
Brooklyn and don’t know
the subways so good so I
had to go get him
personally, you know what
I mean. Commander Haffenden,
say hello to Vincent Mangano.

        HAFFENDEN
(rises respectfully)
How do you do, sir.

        CHARLEY
Mr. Mangano got a nephew
who’s in jail for selling
forged ration cards. Can
we help him out?

        HAFFENDEN
(playing along)
Maybe. If he helps us.

        CHARLEY
Mr. Mangano’s also got an
uncle who was kicked outta
Sicily by Mussolini.

        HAFFENDEN
We can help him go home.

        CHARLEY
I don’t know if he wants
to go. Right now he’s
smugglin’ American
cigarettes into Sicily,
right Vince?

        MANGANO
Charley, I can’t do this…

        CHARLEY
(with a shove)
What’s the matter, ain’t
you proud of your family?
Tell him, Vince.

        MANGANO
(hesitant)
Yeah…He sells ‘em to the
German Army. They pay in
dollars.

        HAFFENDEN
(astounded)
Wait a minute. We can’t get
American cigarettes in this
country and your uncle’s
selling them to the Nazis?

        MANGANO
Coca Cola, too. My uncle
sends three boats across
two, three times a month.
About a thousand cases…
Saltines, Hershey bars…

        HAFFENDEN
(incredulous)
Hershey bars! That’s the
last straw.

        CHARLEY
Funny things happen in a
war, huh Red. Tell him how
he gets the goods, Vince.

        MANGANO
Buys’ em from the British
quartermaster in Egypt,
who gets ‘em from the
American Army supply depot
in Liverpool. Trucks ‘em
behind enemy lines to
Tunisia, then sails ‘em
across.

        HAFFENDEN
How does he get by the
German naval patrols?

        MANGANO
He knows every rock on the
coast. He’s got coves where
you can hide a fleet.
Fishing villages where his
uncles and cousins are the
Mayors and the local
carabinieri.

Haffenden looks in amazement at Charley.

        HAFFENDEN
We’ve tried every way to
sneak guys into Sicily.
The Germans keep catching
them.

        CHARLEY
Still mad at me, Red.
(prods Mangano)
Vincent, can your uncle
smuggle a boatload of our
commandos into Sicily?

        MANGANO
You’d have to pay him the
same money he gets for a
load of smokes.

        HAFFENDEN
Fair enough.

        MANGANO
And what about my nephew?

        HAFFENDEN
You land our guys on enemy
territory, we’ll take good
care of your nephew…

INT. YETTA’S APARTMENT. NIGHT.

In the LIVING ROOM Buddy and Richard are playing gin. Meyer stands over them, kibitzing the game. As Richard discards a card:

        BUDDY
You already gave me a
king..

        RICHARD
I know what I’m doing…

At the sound of a CRASH, Meyer looks anxiously toward the KITCHEN where Teddy is meeting Yetta for the first time.

INT. KITCHEN. NIGHT

Dressed to kill and obviously uncomfortable in the kitchen, Teddy has dropped a plate of soup on the floor. She drops to her knees with dishrag.

        TEDDY
Oy, I’m such a klutz.

        YETTA
Leave it, Teddy, you’ll spoil
your dress.

        TEDDY
I’m not very good in the
kitchen.

        YETTA
I can see. Well in Miami
you don’t have to worry.
There’s so many places to
eat…

Meyer steps in anxious to smooth things over.

        MEYER
I finally got Mom to come
down here last year.

        YETTA
Why leave our friends? So
you go to a fancy building
and everybody says good
morning Mrs. Lansky and
then they put the evil eye
on you…

        MEYER
C’mon Ma, that wouldn’t
happen.

        YETTA
People are jealous of Maier,
but they’re afraid.. So
they smile and say hello,
but they curse him in their
hearts. And his family, too.

IN THE LIVING ROOM

Buddy slams down his cards.

        BUDDY
Gin!
(gleefully marking the score)
That’s double boxes…

        RICHARD
Your father told you what
to do…

        BUDDY
He did not.

        RICHARD
Did too..

He pokes at Buddy’s braces.

        BUDDY
Ow! That hurts…

        RICHARD
That’s what you get for
cheatin’.

IN THE KITCHEN

Yetta puts the soup plates on a tray.

        YETTA
So tell me, Teddy, how does
a poor girl get so lucky
that she doesn’t have to
cook?

        TEDDY
I was a showgirl. Lived
off a hot plate on the
road.

        YETTA
Showgirl? So you knew a
lot of men.

        MEYER
That’s not nice, ma…

        TEDDY
She’s right, Meyer…I met
a lot of men, Mrs. Lansky,
but I never let anyone take
advantage of me.

        YETTA
(with a shrewd look)
I bet you didn’t. Don’t
let Maier take advantage
either like he did to poor
Annie…

        MEYER
Oy Ma, don’t bring that up
again…

        TEDDY
Stay out of this, Meyer.
You’re worried about your
grandchildren, Mrs. Lansky.
I don’t blame you. But I
promise  I will treat any
child of Meyer’s as one of
my own.
(with an affectionate poke
at Meyer)
And as for this bum. I’ll
keep him in line.

        YETTA
(pats her hand)
You’re a smart girl, Teddy.
You know how to talk to an
old lady. This girl won’t
take no nonsense, Maier.
You’d better be nice to
her or you’ll hear from me…

Meyer gives Teddy a big hug, happy she’s passed the test.

         MEYER
Don’t worry, ma, I’ll
spoil her rotten.

INT.CONFERENCE ROOM. DAY

Charley and Haffenden watch a flickering SURVEILLANCE FILM.

        CHARLEY
Got any popcorn back
there?

        HAFFENDEN
Recognize this guy,
Charley?

ON SCREEN

Genovese is greeting several MEN IN FEZES.

        CHARLEY
Vito Genovese. Where’d
he end up?

        HAFFENDEN
Istanbul. Vito’s on a
shopping trip for his
good friend, Count Ciano,
Mussolin’s son in law.
Guess what he’s buying?

        CHARLEY
If I know Vito, it’s small
packages and big profits.

        HAFFENDEN
Cocaine. He supplies the
whole Mussolini family.
Makes one trip a month
in an Italian Air Force
plane.

        CHARLEY
You gotta hand it to
Vito. He always lands
on his feet…

ON SCREEN A PHOTO…A portly mustachioed man in black,

        HAFFENDEN
This is Don Carlo Vizzini,
Mayor of Messina. He’s
Genovese’s liaison with a
network of small town
mayors, former gangsters
who work for the fascists.

        CHARLEY
I knew a guy looked just
like him. Fat Joe
Masseria

        HAFFENDEN
Genovese’s people control
roads and coastal villages
from Sicily to Rome. They
have connections through
their smuggling rings to
the Italian and German High
Command. We need their help.

        CHARLEY
Vito won’t do nothin’
unless you fix his murder
rap.

        HAFFENDEN
You can persuade him.

        CHARLEY
Get him on the phone.

        HAFFENDEN
He’s not taking our calls…

        CHARLEY
(it dawns on him)
You want me to go to
Sicily?

        HAFFENDEN
Look, we don’t have a lot
of intelligence on the
ground. We have to know
where the Germans are
deployed, how good the
roads are, who’ll be on
our side and who won’t.
We want to put saboteurs
and spies and assassins
in place behind enemy
lines before the invasion.

        CHARLEY
If Dewey finds out about
this you’ll be on a row
boat peelin’ potatoes…

        HAFFENDEN
I like potatoes. Anyway,
Dewey won’t find out.
This is between you and
the Navy.

        CHARLEY
How do I get there?

        HAFFENDEN
We’ll fly you in and out.
We can send word through
Vince Mangano’s uncle that
you’re coming.

        CHARLEY
What’s my choice? If I
do this I could  get
killed. If I don’t you
send me back to Clinton
to do my fifty years and
I might as well be dead.

        HAFFENDEN
This is strictly voluntary,
Charley, I mean it. There’ll
be no punishment if you turn
it down.

        CHARLEY
You’re smart, you’re
playin’ on my pride.
But this don’t come
free. I know you can’t
make deals, but you can
make a personal promise.

        HAFFENDEN
I’ll do anything in my power…

        CHARLEY
I want you to find a girl
for me. Nancy Presser,
you know her?

        HAFFENDEN
I know who she is..

        CHARLEY
I want her waitin’ for
me when I get back…
If I get back.

END ACT THREE
Next:Part 28/Act 4:Secret Mission

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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