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Movies You Will Never See/Empires of Crime/Part 19

*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 THREE

INT. HALLWAY.DAY.

A gloomy morning. Tom’s heels click hollowly as he opens a door marked SPECIAL PROSECUTOR. Inside, the offices are empty; even the furniture has been removed. William Dodge comes out of an office, putting on his coat.

        DODGE
It’s all yours Dewey. Here
are the files on the ongoing
cases.

He hands Tom two slim folders. Tom examines them in disbelief.

        TOM
Prostitution in the Bronx?

        DODGE
Number one public health
problem.

        TOM
I’d like to meet my staff.

        DODGE
They’re all leaving with me.
You’ll have to hire your own.

        TOM
I can’t afford experienced
people on the pittance you
gave me.

        DODGE
Take out an ad: Recruits
wanted for a war on the
mob. Go on the radio.

        TOM
Maybe I will.

INT. CHARLEY’S BATHROOM. DAY.

A Deco masterpiece. Gold and black fixtures, chrome trim. Nancy is soaking in a BUBBLE BATH . Charley is at the mirror, tying his tie. Charley Workman looks in from the doorway.

        CHARLEY
Everybody’s here. Waitin’
for you, Three twelve…

        NANCY
Why do they call you three
twelve?

        CHARLEY
My code name. C’s the third
letter of the alphabet, L’s
the twelfth.

Nancy rises out of the tub, but Charley pushes her back, dunking her. Nancy comes up sputtering: ”Charley!”

        CHARLEY
Do me a favor, honey, Stay
in here…
(turns on the water)
And keep the water running…

INT. CHARLEY’S PENTHOUSE. DAY

Sun streams through the picture window. Charley’s boys—, Anastasia, Genovese and Costello graze at the lavish buffet. Meyer, in his shirtsleeves, a cigarette dangling from his lips, is sitting at the table sorting envelopes.

        CHARLEY
Hey Vito, save me some lox,
willya. Manageh, your eyes
are bigger than your stomach…

Meyer hands him an envelope.

        MEYER
This is your share of the
week’s winnings in Jersey
and Saratoga. Now that Mr.
Maranzano is no longer with
us his piece goes back into
the pot.

        CHARLEY
(hefting the envelope)
Somebody say somethin’ about
a depression?

Anastasia looks at Charley’s envelope with jealous eyes.

        MEYER
Business is holding up. I
don’t know where the suckers
are findin’ the money…

        COSTELLO
Phil Kastel just shipped a
hundred and fifteen thousand
more slot machines into New
Orleans. Owney Madden’s up and
running in Hot Springs, Eddie
Levinson in Newport, Kentucky,
and Cincinnatti

        CHARLEY
I love gettin’ money from
towns I never heard of.

        MEYER
Our partnerships made hundred
three K in cash wins, sixty-
seven in markers. This covers
Newport, Saratoga, Hallandale,
Miami, the smaller joints in
Rhode Island, Buffalo… We’re
in for seven percent in
Cleveland. Boston, three and a
half. But we’re takin’ four
because King Solomon won’t kick
in for capital improvements…

        GENOVESE
How do we know we’re gettin’
a fair share?

        MEYER
I got people in every casino
watchin’ out for our interests.

        ANASTASIA
How do we collect the markers?

        MEYER
We got a list. Some people
we’re nice to, some people
we lean on.

        ANASTASIA
I lean on everybody who owes
me money.

        MEYER
You wanna be nice to people
so they’ll come back and
lose more.

        CHARLEY
(laughs)
Meyer’s got all the answers.
He’s like the Bank of America,
makin’ money for you while you
sleep.

        ANASTASIA
How much you take home,
Meyer?

        MEYER
Nothin’ outta your pocket.

        ANASTASIA
You and Benny eatin’ off
the same plate?

        MEYER
That’s how it works. Your
boys think you’re too nice
to Benny and me, Charley.

        GENOVESE
How come we ain’t seen no
money from California?

        MEYER
Benny’s still settin’ things
up.

        ANASTASIA
I didn’t chip in fifty G’s
for him to go out to Beverly
Hills and bang movie stars.

        CHARLEY
I’ll vouch for Benny. Any
losses I’ll make up outta
my own pocket.,,

        ANASTASIA
That’s fair…

        CHARLEY
In exchange for twenty five
per cent of your profits.

        ANASTASIA
(backs off)
I guess we can keep things
the way they are.

        CHARLEY
I guess so.
(pinches his cheek)
Look at this guy. When I met
him, he was a wallyo  with
his hands stickin’ out of his
sleeves. Now he’s the king of
Brooklyn with a different suit
every night and a different
blonde to go with it. Nice
country America, huh Albert?

INT.RADIO STUDIO. NIGHT

Medailie and Smith are making a last minute try to dissuade Tom.

        MEDAILIE
Radio’s an entertainment medium.
No one’s ever used it for
politics…

        TOM
Look George, our only hope
is to go over the Mayor’s
head to the public. If the
people respond the city will
be forced to support us.

        SMITH
And if they don’t respond?

        TOM
Then, we’ll know where we
stand. We can back out of
this fight before we make
fools out of ourselves.

INT. BACK OFFICE. NIGHT.

Another small, cramped smoky counting room. A young ACCOUNTANT sits at a table in the corner pounding on an adding machine. Anastasia and Genovese stare in amazement at A HUGE PILE OF HUNDREDS on a desk in front of Meyer. He is counting the money, while he makes notations and talks on the phone.

        MEYER
This is the fourth losing
night in a row. Either you
got the luckiest crapshooters
in the world or somebody’s
skimmin’.

        GENOVESE
(whispers to Anastasia)
I never seen nobody count
money so fast…

        MEYER
(on the phone)
I’ll send a man to check
the books. If you got a
thief, Mr. Anastasia will
deal with him, won’t you
Albert.

        ANASTASIA
They don’t call me the Lord
High Executioner for nothin’.

        MEYER
(hangs up)
To what do I owe the honor..?

        GENOVESE
Let’s just say we came
out to hear the Dorsey
band…

        MEYER
(rising)
Music lovers, huh?

INT. CASINO. NIGHT.

Large and lavish,.BETTORS in evening clothes, A SWING BAND in the background. Meyer walks quickly through the casino, Anastasia and Genovese struggling to keep pace.

        LANSKY
This is the biggest operation
in Jersey, any cab driver in
three states can take you to
the door. In a coupla years,
there’ll be ten more joints
like this across the state.
All run by me for the
Commission. All you gotta
do is sit back and get your
envelope.

        ANASTASIA
I’m not the kinda guy who
walks around with his mouth
shut and his hand out…

        GENOVESE
We have a right to check
on our investment, Meyer.
We got ten per cent of
this operation…

        MEYER
You got ten per cent of
Charley’s share. You’ve
made your money back a
hundred times over.

        ANASTASIA
That don’t mean we don’t
have a right to a fair
share.

        GENOVESE
People tell me you’re doin’
300G’s a week here.

        MEYER
And you think I’m skimmin’
on you. Charley’s little
hebe friend, who he trusts
more than you. Think I’d be
stupid enough to cheat you?
You’re just lookin’ for an
excuse to nail me.

        ANASTASIA
If I wanna nail you, Meyer,
I don’t need no excuse.

        MEYER
What’s that Sicilian
expression: don’t shit
where you eat? Charley’s
got a rule against the
partners patronizing our
casinos, Don’t worry, I’ll
tell him you came to see
the Dorsey band… Hey
Solly, turn the lights
off in the office. Electric
bill’s up eleven eighteen
from last month…

And he steps out, past a line of BETTORS, eager to get in, leaving Anastasia and Genovese to glare at him with hatred.

INT.CHARLEY’S SUITE. NIGHT.

Another party is in full swing as Meyer enters. He tries to move unobtrusively through the room, but heads turn and people call out greetings. He finds Charley in a corner with some BROADWAY TYPES and draws him away

INT. BEDROOM. NIGHT.

The lights of the city twinkle through the window. In the darkness Meyer hands Charley an envelope.

        MEYER
You oughta go easy on
the social life.

        CHARLEY
No law against bein’ a
celebrity..

A DOOR OPENS. A SPLASH OF LIGHT catches the two men.

        NANCY
Charley..?

Nancy enters and draws back.

        NANCY
Sorry. I didn’t know
anybody was in here…

        CHARLEY
It’s okay, baby, come in…
You know Nancy, Meyer…

        MEYER
Haven’t had the pleasure…

        CHARLEY
And pleasure it is…

He grabs her in a gruffly affectionate headlock.

        NANCY
I was just gonna get some
more…

        CHARLEY
Not right now. Not in
front of our Broadway
friends.
(squeezes her faces between
his fingers)
Look at this beauty, Meyer.
Una bella visaggia….

        MEYER
She’s just a kid, Charley.

        CHARLEY
She’s my baby, all mine.
Show Meyer, baby…

Nancy turns and pulls up her skirt. The letters C and L are branded on her buttocks.

        CHARLEY
I put my brand on her.
Now let’s see who has
the balls to make a move
on Charley Luciano’s girl…

        MEYER
Dewey’s on the radio,
Charley.

        CHARLEY
Good place for a comedian.
(slips his finger into
Nancy’s mouth)
You gonna be nice to me
tonight?
(pushes her away)
Go get your nose candy.
I can’t say no to this
girl.
(sees Meyer’s anxious look)
Okay, okay, let’s hear
what the hick has to say.

Meyer turns on the radio. He hears Tom:

        TOM
My crusade is not against
prostitutes or petty criminals.
It is against organized gangs
of low grade outlaws who lack
the courage or intelligence to
earn an honest living.

        CHARLEY
Low grade! Like to see him
run a racket.

INT. RADIO STUDIO. NIGHT.

Tom is sitting at a table speaking earnestly into a MICROPHONE. Technicians and executives listen with rapt attention.

        TOM
No family can sit down
to dinner without paying
a huge unofficial sales
tax to the gangsters who
control the trucks and
wholesalers that bring
our food to the table.
The businessmen and the
public pay and the
racketeer takes the profits.

INT. CHARLEY’S BEDROOM (CROSSCUT)

Charley nods in appreciation

        CHARLEY
Good angle.

        TOM
Our goal is to get the
bosses,the men in the
swank cars and camel hair
coats…Thieves who take
money from the poor and
promise a payoff that never
comes.

Charley takes it lightly.

        CHARLEY
How does he know I have
a camel’s hair coat? He
been lookin’ in my closet?

        TOM
With your help we can
be free from organized
racketeering in this city.
We need dedicated lawyers
who are willing to work
long hours with little
hope of compensation.

        CHARLEY
That’ll be the day…

        TOM
If you have evidence of
organized crime, if you
have been the victim of a
racket tell us. The rest
is our job and we’ll do our
best…Our offices are in
the Woolworth Building. We
promise to treat all reports
in full confidence…

He breaks off, awkwardly. The technicians immediately go about their business. An ANNOUNCER steps to a MICROPHONE.

        ANNOUNCER
Thank you, Mr. Dewey. Now
we return to Vincent Lopez
and his orchestra, live
from the Taft Hotel…

INT. CHARLEY’S BEDROOM. NIGHT.

Charley turns off the radio. Meyer puffs nervously on a cigarette.

        CHARLEY
Smart…Nothin’ about the
booze or the betting. Just
about how we’re takin’ food
off peoples’ tables. Lucky
we choked off his money.
He’ll never get lawyers to
work for nothin’.

The PHONE RINGS. Charley answers.

        CHARLEY
Hello…Yeah I heard…You
could send a blimp up with
all that hot air. Okay I’ll
be there.
(hangs up)
The Dutchman wants a meeting.

INT. STUDIO. NIGHT.

Tom picks up his papers and joins Smith and Medailie.

        TOM
What’d you think?

        MEDAILIE
Was it wise, giving out
your address? Tomorrow
every reporter in the city
will be outside your door.
If nobody shows up we’ll be
laughed out of the city.

EXT. RAIL YARDS. NIGHT.

HOBOS cluster around a trash can fire. Behind the cars, Charley and Dutch Schulz meet in the glare of their cars’ headlights. Meyer watches, his cigarette glowing in the darkness.

        SCHULZ
What did we do to this
guy to make him hate us
so much? He upset my mother
droppin’ my name like that.

        CHARLEY
Tell her he was talkin’
about some other Dutch
Schulz.

        SCHULZ
Can’t laugh this guy off,
Charley.

        CHARLEY
The guy’s got no money,
nobody behind him. He’s
tryin’ to recruit lawyers.
Did you ever hear of a
lawyer workin’ for nothin’?
He’s callin’ for volunteers.
Nobody volunteers in this
city. And nobody rats neither.

        SCHULZ
I don’t like a guy who
don’t know when he’s
licked. We keep knockin’
him down he keeps jumpin’
up. Maybe we should hit
him so hard he stays
down.

        CHARLEY
Careful, Dutch, we ain’t
stick up guys no more.

        SCHULZ
In our business we still
gotta show how tough we
are every day of our lives.
Dewey goes on the radio and
tells the world he’s gonna
get us we gotta do somethin’
about it or we’re finished.

INT. TAXI. DAY.

The next morning. Tom sits in the back seat with an armful of newspapers. The front pages are all about him—DEWEY LAUNCHES CRUSADE AGAINST CRIME, DEWEY DECLARES WAR ON THE MOB, etc.

       TOM
See the paper today?

       DRIVER
Somebody hit the Irish
sweepstakes?

       TOM
Did you happen to catch
Tom Dewey on the radio
last night?

       DRIVER
I only listen to the
Brooklyn Dodgers…
Look at all them people.
Another banker must have
jumped outta the window.

A LINE OF PEOPLE

is snaked around the block in front of Tom’s office. As Tom gets out of the taxi he is mobbed an enthusiastic CROWD. PEOPLE hold up the newspapers, shouting. Some want to volunteer, others to report a crime. The POLICE push them back.

        POLICE SERGEANT
Follow us, Mr. Dewey, we’ll
get you into the building.

Promising: “I’ll speak to everybody,” Tom gets behind a wedge of policemen as they clear a path to the building. He passes Abe LANDAU, one of Schulz’s gunmen, who is leaning against a wall..

INT. CORRIDOR. DAY

Tom emerges from the elevator into a clamoring crowd.

        TOM
Give us a chance to get
organized. Everyone will
be heard, I promise.

He enters the office where An ELDERLY CLERK is fighting off a mob of VOLUNTEERS. Tom climbs up on a desk and addresses the crowd.

        TOM
Everybody please listen…
(the crowd quiets)
First of all I want to
thank you for your response.
I promise you that everyone’s
grievance will be heard.
Everyone will get justice.

Tom enters the office, pausing to wave to the cheering crowd.

INT. TOM’S OFFICE. DAY

Tom runs to a phone and dials with trembling fingers. Behind the smoked glass he can see the crowd milling. Unable to contain his enthusiasm he shouts into the phone:

        TOM
Frances…We did it…
We did it!

END ACT THREE

Next: Act 4: Dutch Stalks Dewey

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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