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Movies You Will Never See/Empires Of Crime/Part 32

*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 TWO

EXT. HAVANA AIRPORT.DAY

TOURISTS and GAMBLERS arrive for a weekend in Havana. In the festive crowd we recognize Albert Anastasia attended by Frank Martorano, Frank Costello and some FLASHY FEMALE COMPANIONS; Vito Genovese, alone and aloof in tinted glasses. None of them notice a PHOTOGRAPHER scurrying around snapping pictures.

INT. PRESIDENTIAL PALACE. DAY

SURVEILLANCE PHOTOS pop into frame. TILT UP to Meyer flipping through them. Behind a huge desk in this ornate room, Batista watches him.

        MEYER
Tony Accardo from Chicago.
Steve Maggadino from Buffalo.
Joe Lombardo, Kansas City.
Dalitz, Zwillman. Big
turnout.

        BATISTA
These men are known criminals.
We can have a problem with the
US Embassy.

        MEYER
They can bring millions of
dollars of investment into
the country. But they’ll
have to be controlled…

EXT. HOTEL NACIONAL POOL. DAY

A sumptuous buffet in the bright Cuban sun. CUBAN DIPLOMATS and OFFICERS mingle with the RACKETEERS as a CONJUNTO plays. Meyer, and Teddy are shepherding Yetta through the buffet.

        TEDDY
This is Pompano, mom, they
only catch it in the Gulf.

        YETTA
Do they have maybe a nice
piece of plain broiled
chicken..?

Meyer sees a HOTEL CLERK lurking, respectfully.

        CLERK
There is a man in the small
meeting room asking to see
you, Senor.

As Meyer follows him, Richard and Buddy run past in their bathing suits. Meyer grabs Buddy.

        MEYER
I told you: No swimmin’
until two hours after you
eat.

INT.MEETING ROOM. DAY

Meyer enters, squinting into the gloom. He is stunned to see Charley come out of the shadows, haggard and disheveled.

        MEYER
Charley, where were you? We
expected you two days ago.

        CHARLEY
I wanted to make sure them
crums from Narcotics weren’t
tailin’ me so I took the
scenic route. Freighter to
Caracas, cleaned out the crew
playin’ gin. Flight to Mexico
City, then got on a plane right
away to come here. Where am I
stayin’?

        MEYER
Presidential Suite, where
else?

        CHARLEY
Take care of the boys?

        MEYER
Fruit basket and a bottle of
champagne in every room.

        CHARLEY
Broads?

        MEYER
Can’t go wrong in Havana.
Even when I’m pickin’ ‘em.

        CHARLEY
I need a barber, manicure.
Away eleven years. Outta
sight, outta mind, outta
luck. I gotta make a big
impression. Can you front
me a hundred and fifty G’s?

        MEYER
Anything you want. I only
ask one thing: let me keep
Havana for myself.

        CHARLEY
It’s open territory, can’t
keep ‘em out. But we can
make ‘em pay for the
privilege. Stick with me,
kid. It’s you and me against
the world,

        MEYER
How about Benny?

        CHARLEY
We’ll talk about him
tomorrow.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM. DAY.

The blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico twinkle right outside the bay window. CUBAN HOSTESSES circulate with drinks and h’ors deuvres for the members of the Commission. Meyer, resplendent in a white suit greets Dalitz and Sedway.

        MEYER
Landsman, how are ya?

        DALITZ
So this is where you been
hiding.

        SEDWAY
Like Miami, only no taxes,
no cops.

        MEYER
Look again. There’s a cop
under every rock.

He moves over to Anastasia and Costello.

        MEYER
Gentlemen. Accommodations
satisfactory?

        COSTELLO
Little slice of paradise.

        ANASTASIA
I can sail across from
Miami on my yacht. Pick up
my envelope. Nice dinner,
Cuban broad and I’m back in
Miami for the first at Hialeah.

Genovese is standing alone, dark suit, dark glasses.

        MEYER
Vito, lemme get you a pair
of shorts so you can enjoy
the sun.

        GENOVESE
You look healthy. How’s
business?

        MEYER
Could be better. Heard you
had a problem in Italy.

        GENOVESE
They arrested me on that old
murder rap, After all I done
for this country. Lucky for
me their big witness got
food poisoning. Nice joint.
We got a piece of it?

        MEYER
You have to take that up
with Charley.

        GENOVESE
I’m takin’ it up with you.
I’m not second banana no
more. Every month a thousand
guys pay me twenty bucks tax
just for the privilege of
doin’ business…

        MEYER
So you’re a big man? So
what?

        GENOVESE
You’re in charge down here.
I want you to get me a joint
on the strip.

        MEYER
You’ll need a Cuban partner.

        GENOVESE
I can live with that as long
as I’m keepin’ the books…

Charley enters, looking sleek and rested in a white suit.

        CHARLEY
Gentlemen…

He gets a big greeting. The men cluster around him. “Great place, Charley…” Meyer listens in alarm as he replies:

        CHARLEY
Like it? This is gonna be my
new base. Let’s call this
meeting to order. We got a
lot to talk about.

The men take their seats, leaving the head of the table for him.

        CHARLEY
Last time we got together
was Atlantic City, in ’29,
remember? Started a little
corporation that worked out
pretty well. There have been
some changes. In ‘29 Tony
Accardo was Al Capone’s
chauffeur. Now he runs
Chicago.

        ACCARDO
I learned a lot at that
meeting. Learned a lot
from you.

        CHARLEY
We did business together a
long time. The war was a
temporary inconvenience.

        DALITZ
Especially for Hitler…

The men laugh…

        CHARLEY
But now the country’s
stronger and so are we. I
feel I’m in a good position
to help us expand into the
international markets. Just
as a formality, I’d like to
renominate myself as Chairman
of the Board.

        ANASTASIA
(jumps up)
I second…

The other men raise their voices in assent. “Glad to have you back, Charley…” Charley takes charge smoothly.

        CHARLEY
First item is to honor this
beautiful place and the man
who has developed it and will
run it for us. Great job,
Meyer.

Again, smiles and assent. Charley slides an envelope across the table to Meyer with a wink.

        CHARLEY
Here’s my hundred and fifty
G’s for a thirty three per
cent interest in the Nacional.

        DALITZ
Is a hundred and fifty G’s
the buy in price in Cuba,
Charley?

        CHARLEY
It’s the floor, Mo. Out here
the rooms have high ceilings…

The men laugh.

        CHARLEY
Now about this Siegel thing.
We gotta recognize that Benny
discovered the potential of
Vegas. Not just them one arm
cowboy joints, but a big
resort like the Flamingo that
can make money in a lotta
different ways.

        COSTELLO
We backed him, Charley. When
he ran over budget we gave
him more money.

        CHARLEY
How much did Benny spend,
Meyer?

        MEYER
Four and a half million. But
he gave away points…

        ACCARDO
Charley, if you’ll excuse me,
I put Gus Greenbaum in Vegas
to look after the Chicago
interests. He can give us an
idea of what’s goin’ on. Go
ahead, Gus.

Greenbaum clears his throat nervously.

        GREENBAUM
Last week the Flamingo had
winnings of four hundred and
eleven thousand dollars.
Under a system put in by Mr.
Lansky we can skim between
twenty and twenty-five per
cent depending on cash
winnings versus markers.
That works out to be between
sixty-five and seventy-six
thousand dollars to be divided
among the five partners.

        ACCARDO
How much did Siegel send, Gus?

        MEYER
As operating partner Benny
has discretion to withhold
money…

        CHARLEY
How much, Gus?

        GREENBAUM
Thirty-two five….

        ANASTASIA
So he’s skimmin’ fifty per
cent off the low end every
week.

        ACCARDO
Tell everybody how much he’s
taken out over the last six
months, Gus.

        GREENBAUM
I estimate the number to be
between one point five and
two point two million…

        ANASTASIA
That’s about three hundred
and fifty grand he’s stolen
from each of us.

        MEYER
To be fair, Benny doesn’t
feel he has to account to
you as long as he clears
things with Charley.

        CHARLEY
Benny’s not clearin’ nothin’
with me, Meyer. I haven’t
spoken to him in a year and
a half.

Meyer is stunned that Charley is not going to cover for Benny.

        DALITZ
I was out there last month.
He wouldn’t open the books.
Said it was his joint and
the rest of us were catchin’
a free ride.

        SEDWAY
His girlfriend, Virginia
Hill’s been goin’ to Zurich
every month. She says it’s
to buy rugs and furniture,
but I think she’s saltin’
money in a Swiss bank.

        CHARLEY
Gus, can you step out for a
second?

As Greenbaum picks up his papers and leaves the room…

        MEYER
That Virginia Hill’s got him
crazy.

        COSTELLO
Everybody’s got a broad
whisperin’ in their ear.
That don’t mean you steal
from your friends.

        MEYER
He’s been with us a long
time. He’s done a lot of
dirty work for the Commission…

        ANASTASIA
A lotta guys do dirty work,
but when they break the rules
they gotta be judged.

        CHARLEY
How many chances we give him?

        DALITZ
How many? Every time he came
around begging for money.
Five, six times?

        ANASTASIA
He’s defyin’ the Commission,
Charley. We gotta make a
statement.

        CHARLEY
Who’d handle this thing?

        ACCARDO
I’ll give it to Jack Dragna
in LA

        ANASTASIA
No, this is my party. I been
waitin’ sixteen years for
this.

        CHARLEY
We’re not settlin’ grudges.
This has gotta be
professional…

        MEYER
Wait a second before you do
this. Benny’s identified
with the Flamingo. You pull
him out you’re gonna hurt
business just when it’s
startin’ to pick up.

        COSTELLO
Who cares how good it’s doin’
if we ain’t seein nothin’?

        MEYER
Okay look. Over the years
I’ve made a lotta money for
you guys and never asked a
favor. Let me get Benny to
step down…We’ll take his
points in the Flamingo,
give him a settlement and
let him disappear with that
slut who’s taken his mind
away. I’ll even throw in my
end until you’re all paid
off…

Silence. The men look to Charley for a decision.

        CHARLEY
No settlement. He’s outta
the Flamingo and all the LA
gambling.

        MEYER
You gotta leave him somethin’.

        CHARLEY
He can leave town with the
shirt on his back. If he
says no, you give us the
go ahead…

The men smile, gloating at Meyer‘s dilemma.

        MEYER
I start out pleadin’ for
Benny’s life and end up
bein’ the one who pulls
the trigger. Smart,
Charley.

        CHARLEY
That’s why I’m the boss,
kid.

Next:Act 2 (Cont): Board Meeting

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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