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Movies You Will Never See/Empires of Crime/ Part 18

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13

*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

PART III

ACT TWO (Con’t)

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM.

A COMMISSION meeting. Smoke filled, intense. The bosses from the major cities, the same men who attended the first meeting minus Al Capone. They are more prosperous and more serious. There is no joshing humor in their negotiations. Meyer is at a table, scribbling figures.

         MEYER
The rule for new operations
is: whatever percentage of
the budget we invest we get
a half ownership. So if I
put up five per cent of your
cost I get a two and a half
per cent share. In this way
we guarantee the operator
has a fifty per cent stake.

The men nod in agreement. “Okay…”

         DALITZ
What do we do about guys
who don’t wanna join the
Syndicate?

         CHARLEY
They don’t wanna work for
us, they’re outta business.
Buy’ em out, ten cents on
the dollar. They turn it
down talk to Lepke.

Buchalter nods.

         BUCHALTER
I send two guys for a flat
fee depending on the job.

         LEVINSON
I’m in Newport, Kentucky.
Coupla New York wiseguys’ll
stick out like a sore thumb.

         BUCHALTER
So we find a farmer with a
shotgun who wants to make
a coupla extra dollars…
We’ll get ‘em outta your hair
fast, don’t worry.

         BERNSTEIN
Can you control everybody in
New York, Charley?

         CHARLEY
Everybody. I broke the city
down into five groups, we
call ‘em families in New
York. Genovese, Anastasia,
Bonnano, Lucchese, Profaci…
They all answer to me.

         BERNSTEIN
Ambitious guys. What if they
want their own shares?

         CHARLEY
I’ll take care of all of
‘em outta my piece. You have
a problem with them, come to
me.

         DALITZ
Meyer and Benny?

         MEYER
We have a separate arrange-
ment with Charley and will
deal as members of the
Commission.

         BERNSTEIN
Dutch Schulz?

         CHARLEY
Dutch is associated with me
in certain ventures. He’s
not a member of the Commission
so you don’t have to worry
about him.

         DALITZ
He’s nuts, Charley. He’s a
troublemaker.

         CHARLEY
He’s also a smart guy with
a tight organization. He’s
big in Harlem, the Bronx
and upstate New York. And
he makes a lot of money
for a lotta people.

         DALITZ
How about new territories,
Charley?
(with a look at Benny)
California..?

         BENNY
California’s off the table.
I’m goin’ out there to build
an organization just like
you did in Cleveland, Moe. I
don’t need partners.

         MEYER
Partnerships are good, Benny.
They spread the risk.

         BENNY
What am I riskin’? I lose
money I’ll go out and
steal some more.

The other men get quiet and watchful as Charley confronts Benny.

         CHARLEY
Nobody is bigger than the
Commission, Benny. That’s
how we started it and
that’s how it’s gonna be.

Benny looks at Meyer.

         MEYER
You’re the Commission’s man
out west, Benny. That gives
you more power than just
bein’ a hood with a gun and
a big mouth.

         BENNY
Which is what I am without
you and Charley, huh Meyer?

         MEYER
It’s what we all are without
the Commission.

         BENNY
(mollified)
Okay partners, but Greta
Garbo belongs to me.

Everyone laughs..”You got her, Benny…”

         CHARLEY
One last thing before we eat.
We each throw fifty G’s into
a pot to get Roosevelt elected
President.

Everyone grumbles…”I don’t get mixed up in politics…”

         CHARLEY
Look, I got a pledge from
his campaign. They’ll put
off repealing Prohibition
for a year if we put him
over. That’s a million
bucks more for us…

         DALITZ
What’s he want from us?

         CHARLEY
Roosevelt needs the big city
vote to win. We run every
big city in the country. Put
up your money, boys. It’s a
lock bet.


JANUARY 1933

INT.THEATER. NIGHT.

ON SCREEN A NEWSREEL shows FDR announcing the repeal of Prohibition. Joyous drinkers mob the bars.

IN THE THEATER (CROSSCUT)

Charley jumps out of the seat and grabs Nancy.

         CHARLEY
Let’s get outta here…
(and turns to an USHER)
They don’t make movies like
they used to…

But he turns as FDR comes back on screen, promising to rid the cities of “corruption and crime,” and “drive out the gangsters who have exploited and terrorized the working people…”

INT.RADIO STATION. NIGHT.

WALTER WINCHELL with his trademark fedora, is delivering one of his customary tirades.

         WINCHELL
With one stroke of his pen,
FDR has made honest citizens
of us all. Now here’s hoping
the bootleggers disappear along
with the poison they purveyed.

INT. CHARLEY’S SUITE. DAY.

Charley, Meyer, Costello and Dutch Schulz are clustered anxiously around the radio listening.

         CHARLEY
Roosevelt double crossed us.

         MEYER
(shrugging it off)
You bet a politician’s gonna
would keep his word you’re
givin’ long odds…

         WINCHELL
(v.o., radio)
FDR is bringing in a new era
of honesty in politics and an
even break for the common man.
Mobsters beware. Your days are
numbered…

         COSTELLO
That Winchell never turned
down a free drink or a
friendly broad in any club
I ever ran.

         MEYER
As long they wanted booze
for their parties we were
heroes. Now that liquor is
legal we’re the scum of the
earth..

         COSTELLO
They can make more of a
rep for themselves lockin’
us up.

         SCHULZ
(boastful)
See how they tried to hang
a tax rap on me. Took it
upstate so I couldn’t have
a Bronx jury. I bought the
whole town. Jury was out
fifteen minutes… Not
Guilty!

         MEYER
That was good for you,
Dutch. But things are
changing fast.

         SCHULZ
You’re a worrier, Meyer.
Look at me. They told me
there was no room for me
in New York. I’m back and
nobody’s gonna put me out.

         CHARLEY
Sure Dutch, but Meyer’s
sayin’ we gotta pull in
our ears a little.
Prohibition was a gift
from God. Took us off
the street and outta the
cheap stick up rackets.
We had fourteen years of
gravy.

         SCHULZ
So what do we now, crawl
off and die?

         CHARLEY
We got all the breweries
and distilleries. We’re
still makin’ the booze
only now it’s legal. We
sell it in all them
beautiful casinos we’re
gonna open.

         MEYER
Carpet joints with dancing
and entertainment. High
class gambling casinos
with croupiers in tuxedos.
Give people a nice,
glamorous place to lose
their money. We own every
drop of liquor that’s
poured, the bands that
play, the knives and
forks,the toilet paper…

         CHARLEY
Meyer gets poetic when
he talks about casinos,
don’t he?

         MEYER
We put a coupla front men
in. We back outta the
limelight. We’re rich and
invisible.

         CHARLEY
That’s good for you, Meyer.
You’re a family man. I’m
in this for the broads and
the bright lights.

         MEYER
Can’t fight City Hall,
Charley.

         CHARLEY
We are City Hall, Meyer.
Who really runs Chicago?
Frank Nitti. Who’s got
every politician in
Cleveland in his pocket?
Uncle Louis Rothkopf? Joe
Bernstein in Detroit, Nig
Rosen in Philadelphia…

         MEYER
They got a Grand Jury
sittin’ right now. The
bluebloods who really
run this town. And
they’re after us.

         CHARLEY
So what? We own the DA,
the District Leader and
the Mayor. They’ll get a
coupla hookers. They won’t
bother us.

INT. GRAND JURY. DAY

The same LEE SMITH who was the foreman in the Gordon case, is presiding over a BLUERIBBON GRAND JURY. A vein bulges dangerously in his forehead as he shouts across the table at DA BILL DODGE, a lean bitter man, chewing a cigar to shreds.

         SMITH
I asked you, the District
Attorney to prepare
indictments against the
major criminals and you
have the effrontery to
return with a concocted
case against a few
prostitutes in the Bronx!

         DODGE
Prostitution is a dire
threat to the physical
and moral well being of
our young men.

Smith turns in consternation to Medailie.

         SMITH
In a city where gangsters
control the unions, the
Garment Center, the docks,
the nightclubs, the police,
the political leadership…

In the rear Hines jumps up, angrily.

         HINES
I protest this libellous,
baseless assertion…

         SMITH
You give me an honest
District Attorney and
I’ll prove everything
I just said. As Foreman
of this Grand Jury I
hereby dismiss you Mr.
Dodge.

         HINES
You are blatantly exceeding
your authority.

         SMITH
I will not rubber stamp
a cynical attempt to
delude the public. We
will have an impartial
prosecutor. And we will
expose you and the entire
city Administration as
the frauds you are.

INT. COUNTRY CLUB PARTY. NIGHT

A dinner dance. Gowns and dinner jackets. But all are gathered around a piano as Tom and Frances sing a romantic duet.

         TOM/FRANCES
Let me see the love light/
From your eyes so blue…/
Let me call you sweetheart/
I’m in love with you…

The guests applaud delightedly and crowd around the Deweys.

        GOLFER
Gee Tom, you sing better
than you putt.

George Medailie tugs at Tom’s sleeve.

         MEDAILIE
Tom, can I have a word.

Frances looks on anxiously as Medailie leads Tom away.

INT. STUDY. NIGHT.

Lee Smith is pouring drinks as the two men enter.

         MEDAILIE
Lee Smith, Tom Dewey.

         SMITH
I had the great pleasure
of watching Mr. Dewey
convict Waxey Gordon.

         MEDAILIE
Tom loves to perform…

         TOM
No greater stage than a
courtroom.

         SMITH
And no greater role than
a prosecutor.

         MEDAILIE
Puts you in the public
eye. Very useful for a
man with political
aspirations.

         TOM
If he gets convictions.
Let’s get down to brass
tacks, gentlemen. I know
you’re trying to find a
Special Prosecutor.

         MEDAILIE
There are no secrets in
this town. We’re after
Dutch Schulz. We’ve asked
ten lawyers. Nobody’s
interested.

         TOM
Can’t blame ‘em. There’s
not much chance of winning
when the defendant owns the
cops, the judges and the
Mayor.

         MEDAILIE
Tom, the President, the
smartest politician in the
country, has vowed to chase
the gangsters out of the
cities. He senses the change
in public sentiment. I’m
telling you Tom the man who goes
up against these mobsters will
become a national hero.

         TOM
How much money would I
have to hire staff?

         MEDAILIE
Little, if any.

         TOM
How much support would I have
from the DA?

         MEDAILIE
None. He’ll fight you tooth
and nail.

         TOM
I’ll never be home. My kids
won’t know me. My wife
won’t speak to me. If I
don’t convict Schulz I’ll be
ruined.
(with rueful self knowledge)
But if I don’t take this
job I’ll regret it for the rest
of my life.

INT. JUDGE’S CHAMBERS. DAY

Medailie and Smith stand behind Tom as he faces the PRESS. FLASHBULBS POP, REPORTERS  shout questions.

         REPORTER
What’s the first thing you’re
gonna do as Special
Prosecutor?

         TOM
Look into Dutch Schulz’s rackets
and how they are protected by
police and politicians.

         REPORTER
The boys are sayin’ you’ve
been set up to lose. They
think you’re a Boy Scout.

Tom faces him, suddenly deliberate and icy calm.

         TOM
In a few months they won’t
be calling me that.

INT.CHARLEY’S OFFICE. DAY.

A FRONT PAGE PHOTO of Dewey being sworn in by Judge McCook. TILT UP to Charley staring at the photo as Meyer reads from the editorial. Polakoff and Jimmy Hines confer uneasily in a corner.

         MEYER
Young Mr. Dewey will have
the thanks of a grateful
city if he succeeds. What’s
his story, Mo?

         POLAKOFF
He’s a bluenose. But a
good lawyer.

         HINES
He’s an arrogant little
twerp.

         MEYER
Maybe we can slip him a
contribution. I got some
Republicans upstate…

         POLAKOFF
Can’t buy Dewey, Meyer.

         HINES
I hate guys who don’t
have a price.

         CHARLEY
Starve him, Jimmy. Stick
him in a dinky office.
Tell Dodge to cut his
funding so he can’t hire.
Spread the word: nobody
gives him the right time.
If we can’t buy the bum
we’ll bury him.


END ACT TWO

Next:Act 3: Trouble In Paradise

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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