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MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/Part 2

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 (Calendar at right.) Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

*Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including “Rolling Thunder,” Fort Apache, The Bronx,” Boys From Brazil,” and “Cocktail.”

EMPIRES OF CRIME/Part 2

By

Heywood Gould

Act 1


DISSOLVE TO

LITTLE ITALY, NY, 1913

EXT. MOTT STREET. (STOCK) DAY

A million immigrants jammed into ten square blocks. Noisy, narrow, teeming with desperate humanity. PUSHCARTS, HORSE DRAWN WAGONS. WORKERS,bent and weary, PEDDLERS screeching their wares. Sharp eyed women haggle in the Sicilian dialect keeping a wary eye on their CHILDREN running underfoot. MUSTACHIOED MEN in black suits swagger arm in arm with their GAUDY WOMEN.

YOUNG CHARLEY LUCIANO

still known by his given name, SALVATORE, sixteen, wiry, ashamed of his shabby clothes, has his nose pressed hungrily against the window of an ITALIAN BAKERY.

THROUGH THE BAKERY WINDOW

he sees JOE MASSERIA, a member of the BLACK HAND gang of extortionists. In his early ‘20’s, but already starting to bulge out of his black suit, Masseria is at a table with his HENCHMEN gorging himself on a huge slab of ITALIAN CHEESECAKE. As Salvatore watches the PROPRIETOR arrives with more pastry. He sets down the tray with a desperately ingratiating smile and slips Masseria a wad of BILLS

SALVATORE

licks his lips. He’s hungry, he’s always hungry. As he walks on he is followed by a three RAGTAG BOYS, led by DAVY BETTILO, a runty kid, mad at the world.

         BETTILO
Salvatore, wait up…

         SALVATORE
(pushes him away)
Stupido, don’t follow me.
Go cross the street and
come when I tellya.

Bettilo retreats, shamefaced. And Salvatore passes:

BIG TIM SULLIVAN

stocky, florid in a bowler hat, smiling broadly under a sign reading, FREE SHOES FROM BIG TIM SULLIVAN, TAMMANY HALL. PEOPLE fight and jostle as a young block captain, JIMMY HINES passes out shoes from enormous boxes.

         SULLIVAN
We’re goin’ to give out
seven thousand pairs of
shoes and socks today to
our loyal voters…


RABINOWITZ, a young idealist, jumps out and harangues the crowd.

         RABINOWITZ
Don’t sell your souls to
these Tammany crooks! Vote
for justice.

         JIMMY HINES
Justice won’t keep your
feet warm in the winter.
Who gives you what you need?


The CROWD responds in gleeful unison:

         CROWD
Big Tim Sullivan. He’s a
damned fine Irishman. Vote
for Sullivan.


Salvatore laughs and walks on. Lighting a cigarette he passes:

A PEDDLER

hawking fruit from a pushcart with the cry:

         PEDDLER
Applapear…Applapear…
Get ‘em over here. Two
cents a piece…Applapear…


Salvatore checks the street for COPS, then approaches, cigarette dangling out of his mouth.

         SALVATORE
The t’ieves is thick as flies
around here, huh Tony. Gimme
a quarter a day, I’ll keep’em
away.

         PEDDLER
(swipes at him)
Get outta here, I call a cop…

         SALVATORE
Cops don’t care about
greaseballs like you…


He gives a signal. Davy Bettilo leads the three boys across the street. They swipe handfuls of apples. Shouting, the Peddler gives chase. They dodge him laughing. Little Davey doubles back and pushes over his cart. Apples and pears roll off onto the street, setting off a stampede as PASSERSBY run to pick them up. The Peddler gets the message.

         PEDDLER
Okay a quarter…

SALVATORE

He runs out and rounds up the boys. Smacks them, grabs them by the ears…Chases them.

         SALVATORE
Hey you bums, put them
apples back, every single
one of ‘em. This man’s a
friend of mine. Don’t ever
bother him again, you
understand?


The Peddler looks at Salvatore with new found respect. He digs into his pocket for a few coins. Salvatore flips a coin back at him.

         SALVATORE
Pick me a few nice apples
for my mother,Tony…


JIMMY HINES

has been watching in amusement. He grabs Salvatore.

         JIMMY HINES
Hey kid, you the boss of
the block?

         SALVATORE
Just lookin’ out for my
friends.

         JIMMY HINES
I could use you and your
boys next week to get out
the vote. Give you
fifty cents a head.

         SALVATORE
A buck for every vote we
bring in…

         JIMMY HINES
Okay…But get me some tough
Yiddish kids to speak the
lingo to the greenhorns…

         SALVATORE
(walking on)
There ain’t no tough Yiddish
kids…


EXT. DELANCEY STREET. DAY.

The Jewish quarter. Shop signs in Yiddish. PEDDLERS hawking their wares in Yiddish. ORTHODOX JEWS in long coats and beards.. FLASHY PIMPS jostle wild eyed RADICALS.

SALVATORE

swaggers fearlessly into this alien territory. He stops to buy a pickle from a peddler.

INT. HEBREW SCHOOL. DAY

STUDENTS with YARMULKES muttering over their books, while the TEACHER, a spiteful, humpbacked old man, smacks the inattentive on the backs of their heads. He stops at little MAIER SUCHOJWOLANSKA, who is staring out of the window. Prods him hard with the pointer.

         TEACHER
So, Maier, This is where
the portion is? In the
street?

         MAIER
(defiant)
I know the lesson.

         TEACHER
So, how much gold did the
Israelites pledge for the
Tabernacle?

         MAIER
Twenty-nine talents and
730 shekels.

         TEACHER
How much silver?

         MAIER
One hundred talents and
seventeen hundred and
seventy five shekels.

         TEACHER
How many wandered in the
desert?

         MAIER
Six hundred and three thousand,
five hundred and fifty.

         TEACHER
So. And why do we study it?

         MAIER
God’s secret is in these
numbers. When every man
knows every number in the
Bible, the Messiah will
come and our enemies will
be defeated.

EXT. HEBREW SCHOOL. DAY.

A crumbling white stoned SYNAGOGUE. As Maier and the boys come out, one of them points across the street at

SALVATORE

who is watching from a doorway.

         FRIGHTENED BOY
That’s the kid, Maier. His gang
robbed us on Delancey yesterday.
Oy, look they’re comin’.

The boys turn to flee, but Maier grabs two of them.

         MAIER
Don’t run, stick together.

The others try to escape, but Salvatore’s boys sweep down on them from across the street and shove them into a storefront, slapping them, smacking their heads against the shop window…“Hey kid, a nickel to walk on Delancey Street…” One boy tries to run. “Hey, where you goin’, Ikie?” He is grabbed by the sidelocks and thrown to the ground.

MAIER

tightens his grip on his two friends. They walk the other way, but are pursued by Bettilo and two BIG BOYS.

         BETTILO
Hey, you gotta pay a nickel
to walk on the street.

         MAIER
Who says?

         BETTILO
I say.


Bettilo tries to grab Maier by the hair, but Maier sidesteps and pokes him in the eye, then clubs him to the ground. The Big Boys run at them, but Maier kicks one in the groin. Then pulls the other boy’s jacket up over his head and clubs him, bloodying his nose, Bettilo comes at him, swinging blindly. But Salvatore steps in pushing Bettilo away.

         SALVATORE
Give up Davey, don’tcha
know when you’re licked?
(and turns to Maier)
I never seen no Jewish kid
fight like that

         MAIER
(fists clenched)
You wanna see one now?

         SALVATORE
(backs off,laughing)
G’wan get outta here, tough
guy, you win.


Maier runs after his friends and grabs them by the necks.

         MAIER
Where you guys goin’? Gimme
two cents for savin’ the both
of yiz.

         FRIGHTENED BOY
But you’re robbin’ us, too.

         MAIER
Hey, it’s a good deal. Them
Italianas woulda taken all
your money and givin’ yiz a
beatin’ too.


SALVATORE

watches the boys pay up and calls:

         SALVATORE
Hey kid, c’mere I wanna ask
you somethin’.


Maier approaches warily. Salvatore lunges and pokes Maier in the neck with his lit cigarette. Maier recoils in pain.

         SALVATORE
See, I know more tricks than
you. Ya got friends tough
like you?

         MAIER
(rubbing his neck)
I got friends.

         SALVATORE
Bring ‘em around. We’ll make
some money…

         MAIER
Doin’ what?

         SALVATORE
What I tell ya. I’ll give
you a quarter for every kid
who can handle hisself. Okay?

         MAIER
Fifty cents

         SALVATORE
Yeah, yeah, okay. How much you
get off those little sissies?

         MAIER
Four cents.

         SALVATORE
(holds out his hand)
Gimme two…
(as Maier protests)
Hey, you wouldna made nothin’
if I didn’t stick ‘em up.


Grudgingly, Maier hands the money over. Salvatore offers his hand.

         SALVATORE
Shake,partner.


Maier is uncertain at first, but is taken in by Salvatore’s charm. With a shy smile he shakes his hand.

         MAIER
Okay…Partner.


EXT. DEWEY HOUSE. OSWOSSO MICHIGAN. DAY


A white Victorian house on a tree lined street in a picturesque small town outside of Detroit. From within we hear the pure tones of a young tenor, singing:

         YOUNG TOM
Mine eyes have seen the glory/
Of the coming of the Lord/He
is tramping out the vintage/
Where the grapes of wrath
are stored…


INT. DEWEY PARLOR. DAY

YOUNG TOM DEWEY, thirteen, but still in knickers is belting out the song, while his mother, KATHERINE proudly accompanies him on the spinet.

         YOUNG TOM
He has loosed the fateful
lightning/Of his terrible
swift sword/His truth is
marching on…

The guests listen appreciatively. The men, portly, cigars peeking out of their vests. The women standing, plain, unadorned in long sleeved long skirted dresses. They all join in the final chorus:

         EVERYBODY
Glory, glory Hallelujah/
His truth is marching on…


INT. HALLWAY. DAY

Tom carries a tray of pastries and a big silver coffee pot across the hall and opens the door to THE STUDY, a book lined, smoke filled room where his dad GEORGE and his UNCLE JOHN and several other men are smoking cigars.

         GEORGE
Ah refreshments. Set ‘em
down here son…

         UNCLE JOHN
(an overbearing man)
You can climb outta those
knickers now, nephew, you’re
a big boy now. Your Dad
tells me you’re bent on
studying music.

         TOM
(knows he disapproves)
I’d like to give it a
try,sir.

         UNCLE JOHN
Singin’ is for church socials,
Tom.

         GEORGE
(an old argument)
Let’s not bring this up again,
John…I’ve told Tom he can
do what he wants…

         UNCLE JOHN
You’re too easygoing with the
boy, George.

         GEORGE
Don’t tell me how to raise my
son…

         UNCLE JOHN
I think I have a right to
express my point of view.
Has your father ever told
you what kind of stock you
spring from. Tom?

         YOUNG TOM
Yes sir, of course.

         GEORGE
I don’t burden the boy with
our family history.

         UNCLE JOHN
It’s not a burden, it’s an
honor. The first Dewey was
a Huguenot Protestant escaping
persecution by French papists…
Our cousin Cousin Admiral
George Dewey defeated the
Spanish Navy in 1898. And
Cousin John was a great
teacher, who invented the
Dewey Decimal system. Every
time a boy takes a book out
of a library to improve his
mind he can thank our cousin
John…And your father…

         GEORGE
John. please…

         UNCLE JOHN
If you won’t blow your own
horn I’ll blow it for you.
Your father isn’t just
running a small town newspaper,
Tom. His editorials are read
all over the country. He is
defending Republican ideals
against the corrupt, machine
politicians in the big cities…
You see Tom, America has been
invaded by a horde of ignorant,
retarded criminals.

         GEORGE
They’re immigrants just like
our ancestors…

         UNCLE JOHN
They’re thieves, pimps, deviants.
A tide of filth breaking on the
big cities and threatening to
engulf the true Americans.
People like us aren’t free to
follow our whims, Tom. Every
Dewey has to be on the front
line defending our way of life.

         GEORGE
Don’t lecture the boy, John.
He knows his responsibilities.

         UNCLE JOHN
(with a pointed look)
Do you, Tom?

         YOUNG TOM
(looks him in the eye)
I know what’s expected of me,
sir. And I’ll try to live up
to it.


Next: Part 3/Election Day (Thursday, 10/27/11

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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