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Movies You Will Never See/Empires Of Crime/Part 30

*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 VI

ACT ONE


CHRISTMAS, 1946

INT. FLAMINGO CASINO. DAY

Bright sun pours through the casino, falling on the CHRISTMAS TREE, the FAKE SNOW and the holiday decorations. On the bandstand, a LATIN BAND is tuning up, SHOWGIRLS are running through their steps. PAN TO a BANNER reading GRAND OPENING. CARPENTERS and PAINTERS work feverishly. WORKMEN haul in ROULETTE WHEELS and CRAP TABLES. Benny walks through the site, barking orders. DEL WEBB, the harried contractor follows, scribbling feverishly.

        BENNY
Put the bandstand on a
platform over the bar, Del.
It’ll give us more space for
the crap tables.

        WEBB
Mr. Siegel, we have two
days to make the Christmas
Eve opening…

        BENNY
We gotta move the pool, too.
It’s too close to the casino.
He opens a glass door and
walks onto the PATIO…

        BENNY
You don’t want people with
wet trunks comin’ and goin’.
It’ll bother the real
degenerates, you know, the
guys who don’t wanna know
day from night. Like these
bums…

FOUR VERY TOUGH GUYS jump up from pool chairs at Benny’s approach. “Hey, Ben, what kinda weather, huh?”..”Is it like this all the time?”

        BENNY
Mr. Webb, I’d like you meet
my associates. Mr. Moe
Sedway, lookin’ out for
things for Mr. Lansky in
New York. Mr. Joe Rossman,
Mr. Gus Greenbaum, he’s a
spy for the Chicago
contingent…

        GREENBAUM
Why do you keep sayin’ that,
Ben?

        BENNY
(pinches his cheek)
Relax, I’m only kiddin’…
This here’s Israel Alderman,
known as Ice Pick Willie to
his friends in Minneapolis.

        ALDERMAN
You gonna have this joint
ready to open Christmas
Eve, Mr. Webb?.

        BENNY
Cut it out. You’re makin’
him nervous.
(puts his arm around Webb)
Don’t let these guys scare
ya, Del. We only kill our
own. I’ll give ya an extra
day, okay,December 26th.
See, I’m not such a bad
guy…

A BELLBOY comes out with a phone.

        BELLBOY
Mr. Lansky’s on the phone.

        BENNY
My not so silent partner.
(into the phone)
Hey tatele, ready for the
biggest opening in hotel
history?

INT.

MEYER’S APARTMENT. NIGHT (CROSS CUT)

Meyer listens with a worried look. Behind him, in the DINING ROOM, Buddy and Richard are slurping soup.

        MEYER
I’m ready. I hope you are.

        BENNY
We’re gonna knock ‘em dead.
We  got Xavier Cugat’s mambo
band, Jimmy Durante, George
Raft…Cary Grant and
Barbara Hutton, Jack Warner.
You believe Benny Siegel
from Brooklyn got Cary
Grant and Jack Warner to a
crap game in the middle of
the desert!

        MEYER
I hope it works. A lotta
money’s been sunk into this
thing. Our investors are
kvetchin’ like crazy.

        BENNY
Ah, tell those crums
they’re lucky we’re lettin’
em in on this.

Teddy comes out with a TUREEN.

        TEDDY
Meyer, your soup’s gettin’
cold.

        BENNY
Shabbas dinner, huh kid?
I’m gonna send you a golden
matzoh ball to go with your
chicken soup.

MEYER
I’ll take the cash. I’m
gettin’ on a plane at
midnight. Seeya in the
morning…

        BENNY
We’ll still be goin’ strong…

Meyer hangs up and turns jubilantly to Teddy.

        MEYER
Looks like that crazy
bastard pulled it off!

EXT. HOTEL TURISTICO–NAPLES. DAY

A hangout for diplomats and servicemen. Charley strides quickly down the narrow, crowded Naples street, followed by REPORTERS, PHOTOGS, while PASCOLI a stout, sweaty, middle aged lawyer struggles to keep pace. Charley is terse, impatient.

        PASCOLI
This was once the best
hotel in Naples, Signore
Luciano, but in the war
the fascists took it and
then the Americans. They
destroyed everything…

        CHARLEY
The war’s over, pal,
nobody’s buyin the sob
story…

They enter a formerly elegant lobby, now ravaged by war and neglect. A disheveled CLERK greets them. “Signori, benvenuto..”

        CHARLEY
Get me the best room they
got.

The clerk blurts out an apology in Italian.

        PASCOLI
He says an American colonel
is in the penthouse…

        CHARLEY
Get him out. Tell him the
joint’s crawlin’ with
bedbugs…
(stuffs bills in the
clerk’s pocket)
Te piace la monetta
Americana?

        CLERK
Grazie Signori. Lo fato
subito…

        CHARLEY
What a language. Every time
I open my mouth I feel like
I’m in an opera…Get me a
piece of this joint.

        PASCOLI
A piece? No. He just wants
a loan.

        CHARLEY
So now he’s got a partner.
Give him half what he’s
askin’ and don’t make no
side deals. He’s gotta
paint the lobby before he
gets a dime. Tell him to
use my money to fix the
restaurant up so I got a
place to hang out…

RALPH RIZZO, a sharp eyed ferret of a man approaches deferentially.

        RIZZO
Mr. Luciano, excuse me.
Ralph Rizzo from New York…

        CHARLEY
Who you spyin’ for, Vito or
Albert?

        RIZZO
Nobody. Things got hot for
me at home. Trouble with a
broad…

        CHARLEY
I get it, you don’t gotta
go on the radio…

Rizzo steps away and Charley takes Pascoli into a dark corner.

        CHARLEY
C’mere. Did you look into
those business opportunities
for me?

        PASCOLI
In Sicily there is a candy
factory.

        CHARLEY
Do they ship to the US?

        PASCOLI
Yes. Special– como se
dice– nougat candy for
the holidays. Also a
sardine cannery that was
closed during the war…

        CHARLEY
Sardines, that’s good. Get
‘em both. Keep my name out
of it. Start a corporation
for each purchase.

        PASCOLI
No worry about a corporation.
This is Italy…

        CHARLEY
You do business with me
you do it American style,
you understand?
(calls’)
Hey Rizzo…Where they
hidin’ the broads around
here?

        RIZZO
(jumps up)
You came to the right guy,
boss. I’ll dig ‘em up for
you.

As they walk out, another MAN in a baggy suit lowers a newspaper and watches them.

EXT. FLAMINGO CASINO. DAY

Dawn…A TUMBLEWEED blows across the street as Meyer pulls up in a cab. The hotel is eerily quiet, no GUESTS, a few rusty PICK UPS and an OLD HORSE tethered to the rail.

INT. FLAMINGO CASINO. DAY

Meyer enters. One look tells him something is wrong. The band is playing a spirited MAMBO for– no one.. One DRUNK is asleep at the bar. The DEALERS stand at empty tables. The WAITRESSES  have no one to serve. A few COWBOYS are whooping it up at the crap table. Benny, haggard, chain-smoking, is talking desperately on the phone.

        BENNY
I’ll comp the rooms, the
meals, everything. Charter
a plane. Anything they
want…Call me.

Hangs up with a dismal look at Meyer.

        BENNY
Tryin’ to get Benny Goodman
out here. This Latin music
didn’t go over with the
hicks.

        MEYER
Where’s the big crowd? Cary
Grant, George Raft?

        BENNY
They had a little problem
with the plumbing in their
rooms and took off early.

        MEYER
Cary Grant shows up and you
don’t give him a place to
take a crap?

        BENNY
Nothin’ went right tonight.
The refrigerators all went
on the blink. And to add
insult to injury that
cowboy over there just
made nine passes in a
row…

Meyer explodes. Leaping at Benny he floors him with a right.

        MEYER
Schmuck! I told you the
week between Christmas and
New Year’s was the worst
time to open a hotel, but
you said don’t worry, all
your big shot friends
would show.

        BENNY
(meekly rubbing his jaw)
Everybody in Hollywood was
talkin’ about it. A
thousand people told me
they were comin’.

        MEYER
(shakes him)
Schmuck! Who’s gonna say
no to Bugsy Siegel?
Thirty years I been
coverin’ your ass while
you went around bangin’
the wrong broad and beatin’
up the wrong guy. What am
I gonna say to Anastasia
and Genovese?

        BENNY
Tell ‘em we opened slow.
We’ll make it back next
week.

        MEYER
No. You’re closin’ this
dump now, We’ll make
believe this night never
happened. Fix the toilets.
Hire a press agent…

        BENNY
That’ll cost.

        MEYER
I’ll get you the money, but
you’ll do it my way.

        BENNY
Meyer, you’re a good
bookkeeper, but you don’t
have creative flair.

        MEYER
You created an empty joint.
I could do that, too.

        BENNY
Gimme one more chance to do
this my way. Please…

        MEYER
I’ll go to bat for you, but
from now on you’re a junior
partner. I want an
accounting of every dime
that comes through here.
And it better be correct,
Benny, or you’re out.

JUNE, 1947

EXT. HOTEL NACIONAL-HAVANA. NIGHT

Havana’s biggest hotel on a busy night. GUESTS coming and going, but not into:

INT. CASINO. NIGHT.

where it is eerily quiet. A CONJUNTO (Cuban band) plays a bouncy rhumba to an almost empty casino.

MEYER

is taking a tour with Batista, shooting suspicious looks at the DEALERS. He passes the bar where a DRAB MAN in a baggy, gray suit, looking very out of place, turns to watch.

        BATISTA
You can see we were busy
during the war. We rebuilt
the hotels, put in casinos.
When the word gets around
we’ll have more business.

        MEYER
The word has gotten around.
That’s why nobody’s here.
You’re cheatin’, Fulgencio.
(points to a BLACKJACK
dealer)
That guy’s dealin’ seconds.
The croupier’s switchin’
the dice. I used to play
that trick when I was ten
years old.

        BATISTA
With no customers we have
to steal just to keep
things going.

        MEYER
That may be how to run a
country, but it’s no way
to run a casino. Put me
in charge of gambling on
the island. This place’ll
be SRO in three months.

        BATISTA
You know my friend Ernest
Hemingway, the famous
author, says I shouldn’t
allow people like you to
run the nightlife…

        MEYER
He just wants to keep Cuba
primitive so he can get
loaded and go fishing with
his friends. That won’t
make you any money. Call
a meeting. I wanna see all
the bosses of all the
casinos.

 

 

Next:Act 1 (CON’T): Power Moves

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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