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Movies You Will Never See/Empires Of Crime/Part 33

*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 (Cont)

EXT. BEVERLY HILLS—POOL. DAY.

Meyer follows a white coated HOUSEBOY onto the patio and watches Benny and Virginia Hill cavort in the pool. Benny waves.

        BENNY
Hey Meyer…This beats
jumpin’ in the East River,
don’t it?

INT. LIVING ROOM. NIGHT.

Sunset. Meyer sits on the couch, shuffling papers. Benny, stylish and immaculate in a tuxedo comes out, fixing his gold cuff links.

        BENNY
Gotta run to a party at the
Coconut Grove. You shoulda
called.

        MEYER
The trip came up on short
notice. We had a big meeting
in Havana.

        BENNY
Nobody told me nothin’ about
it.

        MEYER
You were the main topic…

        BENNY
(his smile fades)
Okay, what’s the beef?

        MEYER
Let’s begin with the markers…
(waves a handful of notes)
Two hundred and eighteen
thousand dollars from your
Hollywood pals.

        SIEGEL
They come to hang around
with me, so I book their
action privately…

        LANSKY
When they lose they pay you.
When they win the hotel pays…

        SIEGEL
It’s a business expense.
They draw people. Suckers
wanna rub elbows with the
Hollywood crowd.

        MEYER
The boys think you’re
skimmin.

        BENNY
I sent money back east last
month.

        MEYER
Drop in the bucket and they
know it. They trusted you
with their money, Benny.
They have a right to a fair
share.

        BENNY
Fair share? What are you, a
lawyer?

        MEYER
I’m a businessman with an
investment to protect.

        BENNY
I been hearin’ this crap
from you for thirty years.
When you gonna get wise to
yourself? You’re a criminal.
You obey the laws you can
live with like not spittin’
on the sidewalk. The laws
you don’t like you break,
like stealin’ from the
government, fleecing the
suckers. Killin’ guys who
get in your way.

        MEYER
If I make a deal I stick to
it.

        BENNY
Why are you in this life,
anyway? Just to make a
dollar, mach a leben as
your old bubbe used to
say? Just a normal
American businessman.
Gotta go shoot a coupla
guys, honey. I’ll be back
for supper. Not me, Meyer.
I don’t take risks just so
I can live like Joe Schmuck…

VIRGINIA HILL enters, pouting and disheveled in an evening gown.

        VIRGINIA
C’mon Benny, we gotta go…

        BENNY
See this beauty? This is
why you do it. For a house
like this that knocks
peoples’ eyes out. For
clothes made by the best
tailor in the world. The
Prince of Wales gets his
hunting jackets from my guy.
For big shot Hollywood
friends who treat you like a
star.
(grabs Virginia)
For a broad that every man
wants…

Virginia tries to pull away.

        VIRGINIA
You’re rippin’ the dress…

Laughing, he takes out wad of cash and shoves it down her dress.

        BENNY
Buy yourself a new one.

She storms out, cursing him.

        BENNY
How many guys I kill? You
think I did it for the
Commission? I sold my soul.
You think I did it to make
some fat slob in Brooklyn a
millionaire?

        MEYER
Last time I spoke to you
were on your knees beggin’.

        BENNY
I don’t have to beg no
more. I got a cinch
proposition. Pay the
best entertainers top
dollar, they give it
back double at the tables.
Charge the suckers a buck
for a steak dinner, they
give it back a hundred
times and you don’t have
to declare the income…

        MEYER
I invented that proposition.

        SIEGEL
Yeah, but I made your pipe
dream come true. So you tell
those guys to be happy with
what I throw ‘em or I’ll snap
my finger and it’ll all go up
in smoke…

EXT. BEVERLY HILLS. NIGHT.

Meyer comes out of the house and crosses to a waiting car where Frank Martorano waits behind the wheel.

        MEYER
Take me to the airport.

INT. AIRPORT. NIGHT.

Meyer dials a pay phone.

        MEYER
This is Meyer Lansky. Is
Gus Greenbaum on the floor?

INT. FLAMINGO. CASINO. NIGHT.(CROSSCUT)

Greenbaum comes to the phone.

        GREENBAUM
This is Gus, Mr. Lansky.

        MEYER
I want you to call a staff
meeting Make an announcement
that Ben Siegel is no longer
in charge of the operation.
Tomorrow call a meeting of
the Board of Directors and
have yourself elected
president, Moe Sedway vice
president.

        GREENBAUM
Got it.

        LANSKY
Put the best collector you
got on those Hollywood
deadbeat friends of Benny’s.
I want every penny owed. I
don’t care how you get it…

INT. AIRPLANE. NIGHT.

A darkened cabin. Everyone is asleep but Meyer, who lights a cigarette and looks out of the window.

EXT. BEVERLY HILLS—POOL. NIGHT.

A few hours later. OFF SCREEN, car doors SLAM, VOICES call.

        BENNY
Everybody, come in for a
nightcap. Let’s keep this
party goin’…

The lights go on in the house, splashing onto the patio, illuminating the face of FRANK MARTORANO, moving stealthily toward the french windows. He watches as:

BENNY

Virginia Hill and a group of FRIENDS burst in laughing.

        VIRGINIA
Howard Hawks promised to
give me a screen test.

        SIEGEL.
He’s wants to see how
well you act on your
knees…

        VIRGINIA
(swinging at him)
You sonofabitch…

        SIEGEL
(pushing her away)
Go see what everybody’s
drinkin’..
(plops down on the couch)
Let’s liven things up a
little.

ON THE PATIO

Martorano moves toward the French doors. Over his shoulder we see Benny on the couch. Martorano raises a rifle to his shoulder.

        BENNY
Don’t tell Virginia, but
George Raft’s gettin’ me
a part in his next movie.
I’m gonna be the star in
this family.

Martorano FIRES…

INT.AIRPLANE. NIGHT

Meyer winces as his friend goes down in a hail of bullets.

END ACT TWO

Next:Act 3: Bugsy’s Last Chance

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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