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Movies You Will Never See/Empires Of Crime/Part 35

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13

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

*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 THREE (Cont)

INT. CANNERY.DAY

A pair of HANDS deftly smooths a plastic packet of WHITE POWDER into a square sheet. Then slips it into an empty SARDINE CAN. TILT UP to Charley demonstrating for Ralph Rizzo and several WORKERS.

        CHARLEY
You gotta keep it flat so
you can fit the false
bottom in…Capeesh?

        RIZZO
Yeah sure, Charley…

        CHARLEY
Where it says producto
d’Italia you put the little
circle around the dot.
That’s the hot shipment.
It goes to Carlos Marcello
in New Orleans. The rest is
sardines. Don’t mix ‘em up.
(walks to an empty barrel)
What do we do with this?

        RIZZO
Put a kilo in the false
bottom, fill it with olive
oil and ship it to Profaci
in Brooklyn…

        CHARLEY
I gave you a pharmaceutical
scale, accurate to the
microgram. You weigh
everything that comes in
from Beirut or Istanbul,
make sure we ain’t gettin’
cheated. And weigh everything
that goes out.
(points to the workers)
You tell the paisans here
no skimmin’. If I get a
complaint about a short
load I’m gonna cut their
balls off and stick ‘em in
their mouths.
(to the workers)
New dish coulliones in boca…

NOVEMBER 1948

NEWSREEL(STOCK)…HARRY TRUMAN holds up a copy of the Chicago Sun Times, predicting a Dewey victory and mimics the commentator who predicted his defeat.

INT. DEWEY CAMPAIGN HQ. DAY

The morning after Dewey’s defeat. The banners are drooping, the balloons and confetti float aimlessly. There are piles of food, basins of champagne. Tom and Frances are wandering in the debris.

        FRANCES
We can give the cold cuts
to the Veteran’s Hospital.
We’ll save the champagne,
though, for the next
victory…

        TOM
(with a sad smile)
It’ll be flat by then.

        FRANCES
Oh Tom…You were ahead in
every state, in every poll.

        TOM
I’m not a front runner. I
only do well as an underdog.
They never thought I’d make
the football team. Never
thought I’d get elected
Governor. Or that I’d get a
conviction against Luciano,
although that came back to
haunt me.

        FRANCES
You should have told them
how the Navy pushed you to
pardon him. What he did
during the war.

        TOM
That’s top secret classified,
Frances. No one can ever
reveal it.
(picks up a discarded banner,
reading DO DO WITH DEWEY)
Funny…I always wanted to
be president. Pretty
presumptuous, huh for a
kid from Oswosso. I guess
it’s because I’m a Dewey
and our family has done so
much.

        FRANCES
You’ve done great things,
Tom.

        TOM
Greatest thing I did was put
Luciano in jail. Got me
elected Governor, but it
couldn’t get me to the White
House.

INT. NACIONAL CASINO. NIGHT.

Santo Trafficante stands behind Meyer as he breaks in a new crew of CUBAN pit bosses. Meyer spots the Drab Man and waves.

        MEYER
Come a little closer, FBI,
you’ll hear better.

        DRAB MAN
I can hear fine from here,
thanks.

        MEYER
(turns back)
The key to this business is
collection. Every night we
collect all the markers. We
accept checks, signed IOU’s,
anything equal to the sum of
the losses. Mr. Cellini here
takes the 6 a.m. flight to
Miami. When the banks open
he deposits the checks and
verifies the collateral.
Within an hour we know if
any of the checks have
bounced. Our gamblers will
just be waking up when we
make a polite phone call and
arrange a meeting.

        YOUNG CUBAN
What if they can’t pay?

        MEYER
You make a settlement,
fifty, sixty cents on the
dollar. Their names go on a
list. They can’t gamble in
Havana or Vegas until they
pay in full.

        YOUNG CUBAN
Maybe we have to sometimes
push them around a little…

Meyer sees Batista in full uniform, entering his private office.

        MEYER
No. The threat of violence
is always better than
violence itself.
If the individual is
unreasonable refer the
situation to Mr.
Trafficante…Excuse me…

        BLACKJACK PLAYER
Hey Meyer, I’m runnin’ cold…

        MEYER
Double down, pal, as long
as you’re losin’.

The crowd laughs. The Drab Man steps out with a smile.

        DRAB MAN
You never lose do you,
Meyer?

        MEYER
I’m the house, my friend
and the house always wins.

INT. MEYER’S OFFICE. NIGHT.

Plain, serviceable. Batista is waiting anxiously as Meyer enters.

        MEYER
You don’t have to come,
Fulgencio. We offer free
delivery…

        BATISTA
I wanted to talk to you.

        MEYER
(opening a safe)
As long as you’re here, let
me show you the plans for
the new hotel. The Riviera.
Twenty one floors, four
hundred and ninety rooms.
The biggest hotel outside
of Vegas… I’m financing
it entirely on my own.
Construction budget is
fourteen million, almost
every cent I’ve got. But
when it’s completed it will
be wholly owned by the
Lansky family. With you as
a silent partner, of course…

He takes neat stacks of hundreds out of the safe and puts them in an attache case. Batista snaps the case shut.

        MEYER
Don’t you want to count it?

        BATISTA
From you it is always
correct.

        MEYER
Next month there’ll be more.
Investors are banging down
the doors…

        BATISTA
Some times you can have too
much success. The Americans
don’t like what is going on
down here.

        MEYER
I don’t have a lotta fans
in the government.

        BATISTA
The American Ambassador has
been to see me again. He
says gangsters are investing
secretly with you.

        MEYER
I have to take care of
these men because of my
interests in Las Vegas and
because I use their services
for debt collection. They
have hidden shares in the
form of points. If a man’s
points equal, let’s say,
fifty thousand dollars, we
give him a marker equal to
that sum to collect. He goes
directly to the debtor and
collects the money privately.
The transaction is never
recorded in the casino books.

        BATISTA
Is this the agreement you
have with Albert Anastasia?

        MEYER
Anastasia is part of a New
York group that has points
in our casinos. I guarantee
you his interest will never
be uncovered.

        BATISTA
I have learned that
Anastasia has made an offer
to the Mendoza family to
finance the hotel they are
building.

        MEYER
He can’t do this. My
associates have given me
sole authority in all Cuban
business.

        BATISTA
He has promised the Mendozas
an investment of four to
five million dollars in
exchange for a fifty per
cent interest in the hotel.
They of course, see an
opportunity to take control
of gambling away from me.

        MEYER
(stunned)
That’s a violation of
Commission rules. He’d be
voted down.

        BATISTA
Maybe he has made a secret
agreement. I don’t know what
goes on in your world. But
in mine those stupid greedy
Mendozas won’t listen to
reason. You have to stop
Anastasia, Meyer, or the
US government will put us
all out of business.

INT. BEDROOM. NIGHT.

Teddy helps Meyer pack for the trip.

        MEYER
Tell me one more time about
the safe deposit boxes.

        TEDDY
I know this by heart already.
Boston at the Bank of New
England, New York at National
City, Miami, Hallandale,
Vegas at the Flamingo in
Benny’s old safe. And here
behind the your mother’s
picture…

        MEYER
It’s just in case the plane
crashes or something happens.

        TEDDY
No plane would dare crash
with Meyer Lansky on it…
(suddenly concerned)
What else could happen?
Are you in trouble, Meyer?

        MEYER
You kiddin’, things couldn’t
be better. Don’t make that
sad face.
(kisses her)
I’ll be back on Sunday with
bagels and cream cheese.
Don’t worry. The house always
wins.

END ACT THREE

Next:Act 4:

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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