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Miller's Crossing (1990) movie script
by Joel and Ethan Coen.
More info about this movie on IMDb.com
1. FADE IN:
CLOSE SHOT A WHISKEY TUMBLER
That sits on an oak side bar under a glowing green bankers
lamp, as two ice cubes are dropped in. From elsewhere in
I'm talkin' about friendship. I'm talkin' about
character. I'm talkin' about--hell, Leo, I ain't
embarassed to use the word--I'm talkin' about
Whiskey is poured into the tumbler, filling it almost to
the rim, as the offscreen man continues.
. . . You know I'm a sporting man. I like to
make the occasional bet. But I ain't that
A balding middle-aged man with a round, open face. He
still wears his overcoat and sits in a leather chair in the
dark room, illuminated by the offscreen glow of a desk
lamp. This is Johnny Caspar.
Behind him stands another man, harder looking, wearing an
overcoat and hat and holding another hat--presumably
Caspar's. This is Bluepoiont Vance.
When I fix a fight, say--if I pay a three-to-one
favorite to throw a goddamn fight--I figure I got
a right to expect that fight to go off at three-
to-one. But every time I lay a bet with this
sonofabitch Bernie Bernheim, before I know it the
odds is even up--or worse, I'm betting the short
money. . .
Behind Caspar we hear the clink of ice in the tumbler and a
figure emerges from the shadows, walking away from the
glowing bar in the backgound.
. . . The sheeny knows I like sure things. He's
selling the information I fixed the fight. Out-
of-town money comes pourin' in. The odds go
straight to hell. I don't know who he's sellin'
it to, maybe the Los Angeles combine, I don't
know. The point is, Bernie ain't satisfied with
the honest dollar he can make off the vig. He
ain't satisfied with the business I do on his
book. He's sellin' tips on how I bet, and that
means part of the payoff that should be ridin' on
my hip is ridin' on someone else's. So back we
go to these questions--friendship, character,
The man with the whiskey glass has just passed the camera
and we cut to the:
Another well dressed, middle aged man, behind a large
polished oak desk, listening intently. This is Leo. He is
short but powerfully built, with the face of a man who has
The man with the whiskey enters frame and passes Leo to
lean against the wall behind him, where he listens quietly.
. . . So its clear what I'm sayin'?
Clear as mud.
Caspar purses his lips but continues unfazed.
It's a wrong situation. It's gettin' so a
businessman can't expect no return from a fixed
fight. Now if you can't trust a fix, what can
you trust? For a good return you gotta go
bettin' on chance, and then you're back with
anarchy. Right back inna jungle. On account of
the breakdown of ethics. That's why ethics is
important. It's the grease makes us get along,
what separates us from the animals, beasts a
burden, beasts a prey. Ethics. Whereas Bernie
Bernheim is a horse of a different color ethics-
wise. As in, he ain't got any. He's stealin'
from me plain and simple.
Leo leans back in his chair.
The man behind Leo raises the whiskey glass to his lips.
He is trimmer and younger than Leo, perhaps in his thir-
ties, dark-complected, with a pencil mustache and a gaunt
intensity that is not entirely healthy-looking. This is
As he drinks, he studies Caspar and Bluepoint.
You sure it's Bernie, selling you out?
For the first time the man behind Caspar speaks:
It ain't elves.
Nobody else knows about the fix?
No one that ain't got ethics.
What about the fighters you pay to tank out?
We only pick fighters we can put the fear of God
Any other bookies know? You play anyone else's
I lay an occasional bet with Mink Larouie.
But it ain't Mink, I'll vouch for that.
How do you know?
Caspar shakes his head.
It ain't Mink. Mink is Bluepoint's boy.
Mm. And of course, Bluepoint always knows about
What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Let it drift. All it means is a lot of people
I guess you ain't been listening. Sure other
people know. That's why we gotta go to this
question of character, determine just who exactly
is chiseling in an my fix. And that's how we
know it's Bernie Bernheim. The Motzah Kid.
'Cause ethically, he's kinda shaky.
You know Bernie's chiseling you because he's a
chiseler. And you know he's a chiseler because
he's chiseling you.
Sometimes you just know.
. . . So you wanna kill him.
Leo nods, thinking. He swivels to look interrogatively at
Tom gives an almost imperceptable shrug. The ice cubes in
his glass clink.
Leo turns back to Caspar, pauses.
. . . Sorry, Caspar. Bernie pays me for protec-
Tom, peering over his drink, does not entirely conceal his
Caspar stares at Leo, his mouth open. It is not the
response he expected.
. . . Listen, Leo, I ain't askin, for permission.
I'm tellin' you as a courtesy. I need to do this
thing, so it's gonna get done.
Then I'm telling you as a courtesy that you'll
have trouble. You came here to see if I'd kick
if you killed Bernie. Well there's your answer.
Caspar's voice is harder:
Listen Leo, I pay off to you every month like a
greengrocer--a lot more than the Motzah--and I'm
sick a gettin' the high hat--
You pay off for protection, just like everyone
else. Far as I know--and what I don't know in
this town ain't worth knowing--the cops haven't
closed any of your dives and the O.A. hasn't
touched any of your rackets. You haven't bought
any license to kill bookies and today I ain't
selling any. Now take your flunky and dangle.
Caspar is staring at Leo. He looks at Tom, then rises
slowly to his feet. Back at Leo:
Ya know I'm tryin'. . . I'm tryin not to raise my
voice in anga. I've always gone along to get
along. But you make me lay off the Matzoh and
you're givin' me the needle. I told you the
sheeny was robbin' me blind, I told you I wanna
put him in the ground and I'm telling you now I'm
sick a the high hat.
He swipes his hat from Bluepoint.
. . . You think I'm some guinea fresh off the
boat and you think you can kick me. But I'm too
big for that now.
He puts his hands on the desk and leans towards Leo.
The cords stand out on his ndck.
I'm sick-of takin' the strap from you, Leo. I'm
sick a marchin' down to this goddamn office to
kiss your Irish ass and I'M SICK A THE HIGH HAT!
Caspar stops, out of breath. He is red faced and panting.
Bluepoint has put a gently restraining hand an his shoul-
Leo and Tom stare at Caspar impasssively.
After a beat Caspar shuts his mouth. His eyes lose some of
their glaze. He looks at Bluepoint's hand, turns and
strides towards the door.
. . . Youse fuckin' fancy-pants, all of ya.
He opens the docr, but Leo's voice stops him.
Johnny. You're exactly as big as I let you be
and no bigger and don't forget it. Ever.
Caspar looks at Lea from the open doorway. After a beat he
Ats right, Leo, you're the big-shot around here.
He dances over at Tom again, then back to Leo:
. . . And I'm just some schnook likes to get
He leaves, Bluepoint following, shutting the door.
After a beat Tom crosses in front of the desk and sits down
in the chair Caspar has just vacated. Leo chuckles and
leans back in his chair.
Twist a pig's ear. Watch him squeal.
Tom swallows the last of his drink and stares ruminatively
down at his glass.
. . . Bad play, Leo.
Leo, unfazed, grins at Tom.
Got up on the wrong side, huh?
Same side as always.
That's what I mean. Still owe money to--who's
your bookie? Lazarre?
I could put it right for you.
Thanxs Leo, I don't need it.
In a pig's eye. You haven't played a winner in
six weeks. People'll speak ill of me if I let
him break your legs.
Tom grins back, for the first time.
People'll say I had it coming.
And they'll be right, but that ain't the point.
Call me a big-hearted slob, but I'm gonna square
it for ya.
He picks up a phone on his desk and starts to dial.
. . . Yeah, I think I'll do that, this very same
night. Looking at you moping around takes away
all my . . . What did you call it? Joy de veever.
Tom stands and walks over to the desk.
Joi de vivre.
He takes the receiver from Leo and prongs the phone.
Well look, if your gonna laugh at me, the hell
Tom walks to the door, putting an his hat.
And with you. I'll square myself with Lazarre if
you don't mind. Thats why God invented cards.
He pauses in the doorway and turns back to Leo.
. . . There is something you can do for me.
Think about what protecting Bernie gets us.
Think about what offending Caspar loses us.
Leo chuckles good-naturedly.
Come on, Tommy, you know I don't like to think.
Tom has stepped into the hallway and, just as he closes the
Yeah. Well, think about whether you should start.
The door clicks shut.
CUT TO BLACK
2. FADE IN:
THE WOODS CREDIT SEQUENCE
Although it is day, the tree cover gives an effect of
almost cathedral-like darkness. The sun filters down
through the leaves in gently shifting patterns.
We hear only the sound of the wind and the creaking and
groaning of tree limbs in the breeze.
Head titles are supered over the dissolving series of woods
In the last woods scene the angle is low--almost ground-
level. The sun dapples the floor of the forest, which is
carpeted with pine needles.
With a whoosh of rustling leaves the wind gusts a fedora
into frame. For a moment it lies still in the foreground,
sunlight rippling over it, making it seem almost alive.
Then the wind picks up again and the hat tumbles away from
us, end over end, in slow motion into the background,
impossibly far away until . . . it dissappears.
As we fade out, we hear a distant knocking.
3. FADE IN:
CLOSE SHOT TOM
Unshaven, eyes closed, motionless.
The head credits continue over this one-shot scene.
The knocking continues, faintly, offscreen. As we hear a
door opening we pull back to a looser shot, revealinq that
Tom is slumped back on a tired green sofa.
A fat hand enters to shake Tom's shoulder.
Wake up, Tommy.
Without ocening his eyes:
You're eyes were shut.
Who're you gonna believe?
Tom sits up, though it seems like an effort. He looks
From a small mirror behind the couch we see that we are in
the back room of a gambling establishment. The leavings of
a card game litter a table in the middle background.
. . . How'd I do?
What do you think. You're a millionaire. You
gonna remember your friends?
Tom reaches up to feel his head, and looks stupidly about.
. . . Where's my hat?
You bet it, ya moron. Good thing the game broke
up before you bet your shorts.
After a beat of staring at nothing in particular, Tom
abruptly lurches to his feet and staggers out of frame.
The other man sits heavily onto the couch that Tom has just
vacated. He is Fat Tony, a big man wearing an apron.
He watches as we hear Tom, offscreen, staggering across the
room, bumping into something which scrapes and then
clatters over, opening a door, staggering across tile, and
Fat Tony watches with mild interest.
. . . Who left with my hat?
Verna. Verna and Mink.
. . . Who?
Mink and Verna.
Offscreen we hear a tap running.
. . . Thunderclap running tonight?
What's she leave at?
Three-to-one, more'n likely. Lay off, Tom. You
shouldn't go deeper in the hole.
Tell Lazarre I want five hundred on the nose.
You would have it.
. . . Somebody hit me?
Yeah. Mink hit you.
. . . Whyzat?
Tony inspects a hangnail on his thumb.
You asked him to.
4. CUT TO:
A loose shot looking over Tom's shoulder as he knocks on an
partment door. Head credits continue.
The door swings open and Verna, an attractive but hard-
looking woman in her late twenties or early thirties looks
coldly out at Tom.
(still slightly woozy)
You again. What now?
I want my hat.
. . . Is that all you came for?
Yeah. I want my hat.
I won it. It's mine.
What're you gonna do with it?
She slams the door.
There is a long, motionless beat. Tom raises his hand and
knocks again, missing the door completely on his first try.
After a knock or two the door swings open again.
I need a drink.
Why didn't you say so.
She steps away from the door and Tom enters the apartment.
As the door clicks shut we cut to black, and the last of
the movie's head credits.
Music clays under the credits, mixed in with the woods
sounds we heard earlier. As the last of the credits is
fading to black we hear a distant knocking, and from black
5. CUT TO:
CLOSE SHOT A FEDORA
Lying on a marble bureau top in a dark room. A gently
rippling cookie plays over it--light from a streetlamp
thrown through a curtained window. Reflected in the bureau
mirror behind the fedora we see the soft glow of a burning
Tracking in on Tom, sitting in bed, smoking, staring at the
bureau. The rippling street light plays over him from the
window. We hear a distant knocking.
The bedroom, as Tom swings his legs around and gets out of
Tom throws on a dressing gown and leaves the bedroom
through its double oak pocket doors, closing the doors
6. LIVING ROOM
Also dark, lit only by streetlight filtering in.
The knocking is louder here. Tom crosses the room,
silhouetted against the windows, to the apartment's front
door. Light fans in as he opens it.
Shiftng uncomfortably in the hallway is Leo, in an
overcoat and fedora.
'Lo, Tommy. Sorry about the hour.
I'll live. What's the rumpus?
Can i come in?
Tom thinks about this for the slightest beat.
He lets Leo precede him into the living room.
Tom turns on a lamp that sits on a rolling bar.
. . . Drink?
I wouldn't mind. . . I tried calling earlier.
I got home late.
As Tom sits down facing Leo with two drinks:
Well. . . Sorry about the hour.
He waits, with no apparent impatience.
The older man is uncomfortable; he is having trouble
finding the words. Finally he lifts his glass and swallows
it in one gulp.
. . . Not bad. . .
Better than the paint we sell at the club.
That it is. . . That it is. . .
Thought about cutting Bernie loose?
Leo is shuffling his hat nervously from hand to hand.
Can't do it, Tommy, can't do it. . . That's sort
of why I'm. . . Tommy. . . I don't know where
Tom fixes him with a level stare, then takes a sip of his
I know what you're thinking: What else is new?
But the situation now, I'm worried. . .
Tom blows out air.
Verna can take care of herself. Maybe better
than you can.
What does that mean?
Tom stands up, takes Leo's glass and walks back over to the
No. What does that mean?
Tom turns to look at Leo, pauses, then decides to speak:
How far has she got her hooks into you?
That's a hell of a question.
It's a grift, Leo. If she didn't need you to
protect her brother from Johnny Caspar, d'you
think she'd still go with you on slow carriage
rides through the park? That is the deal, isn't
it? You keep Bernie under wraps 'till Caspar
Jesus but you're a prickly pear. What's wrong
with her wanting her brother taken care of?
Not a thing. I don't blame her. She sees the
angle--which is you--and she plays it. She's a
grifter, just like her brother. They probably
had grifter parents and grifter grandparents and
someday they'll each spawn little grifter kids--
Stop it, Tommy. I don't like to hear my friends
run down. Even by other friends.
Friendship's got nothing to do with it.
The hell you say. You do anything to help your
friends. Just like you do anything to kick your
Wrong, Leo. You do things for a reason.
Okay, Tom, you know the angles--Christ, better
than anybody. But you're wrong about this. You
don't know what's in Verna's heart. . .
Tom stares down into his drink. There is an awkward pause.
Then finally, without looking up:
Leo, throw her down. And her brother, too. Dump
Leo looks like he has just been stepped on.
Jesus, Tom. . . Verna's okay. . .
He nods to himself.
She's a little wild, but she's okay. I
Yeah, you like her. Like the Kaiser likes
cabbage. You're dizzy for her.
Leo scowls at Tom.
What of it? Jesus, Tom, ain't you ever been bit
by that bug?
Leo, if she's such an angel, why are you looking
for her at four in the morning?
Leo digs his hands into his pockets and slouches back,
I put a tail on her this afternoon.
Yeah, I asked Rug Daniels to follow her around--
just, you know, just to keep her out of trouble.
And to tell you what trouble she was managing to
whip up herself.
It wasn't to spy, Tom; I was worried. After that
meeting with Caspar, well--you can't be too
Uh-huh. And what did Rug tell you that has you
scurrying over here?
That's just it. Nothing. He's disappeared.
Tom laughs humorlessly.
So you've lost your ladyfriend and the tail you
put an her.
I guess it does sound pretty sorry at that. . .
He looks from his empty glass up to Tom.
. . . Help me out, Tom. I wouldn't know where to
start looking. You know Rug's crowd, you know
the people Verna runs with. I'm just worried
now, with things the way they are between me and
Tom gives a wave of disgust.
You shouldn't be confronting Johnny Caspar, it's
what I've been trying to tell you. You can't
trade body blows with him. He's gotten too
For the first time Leo displays some testiness:
I reckon I can still trade body blows with any
man in this town. . .
He sighs, looks back down at his drink.
. . . Except you, Tom.
Leo smiles good-naturedly.
Okay, give me the needle. I am a sap, I deserve
it. . .
He stands and walks to the door.
Tom doesn't move. His eyes remain fixed on the chair Leo
has just vacated.
Leo pauses in the open doorway.
. . . Thanks for the drink. Let me know if you
hear anything. . .
The door closes and he is gone.
Tom grimaces and stands up. Sunlight is just starting to
come in through the windows, defining for the first time
the corners of the large semi-circular room as Tom walks
across it to the bedroom. Distant early-morning traffic
noise is filtering up from the street.
7. INT BEDROOM
As Tom opens the double oak doors and enters, leaving them
He crosses to the bed and sits an its edge, hunched
forward, thinking. Behind him, a woman stirs.
Who was that?
Leo. . .
He takes a cigarette from the nightstand and lights it.
. . . He's looking for you.
Did you tell him I was here?
Did you put in a good word for my brother?
You said you would.
. . . I said I'd think about it.
What did you tell him?
Tom is lost in thought. He exhales smoke.
. . . Did you see Rug Daniels last night?
No. What did you tell Leo?
Tom finally turns to face her. After looking at her for a
. . . I told him you were a tramp and he should
A shoe flies past his head and hits the wall behind him.
You're a son of a bitch, Tom.
7. EXT ALLEYWAY EARLY MORNING
We are on an extreme close shot of a small dog. Behind
him, in the distance, we can see the mouth of the alley.
The dog is on point, perfectly still, one front leg crooked
and raised off the ground, his ears pointed straight up,
his eyes in a fixed stare.
is slouched, half-sitting, against the wall of the alley.
He is motionless. His mouth is agape. His eyes are rolled
up in a lifeless stare.
He is wearing an overcoat but it is unbuttoned and reveals
a blood stain in the middle of his chest. His fedora lies
on the ground near one of his splayed hands.
There is something subtly odd about his hair.
CLOSE SHOT A LITTLE BOY
Perhaps five years old. He stares down at the dead man in
front of him.
CLOSE SHOT THE MAN
After a moment, he reaches forward.
As the boy's hand enters frame. The boy pokes once at the
There is no reaction.
The boy touches the top of the man's head.
The man's hair slips forward a couple of inches over over his
Also staring, his skewed hairpiece ill becoming his stunned
The boy reaches forward and takes the hairpiece off the
man's head. Now a bald man stares off into smace, still
looking stunned, still quite dead.
WIDE SHOT THE ALLEY
The dead man and the little bov face each other in profile
in the middle foreground. In the background, between them,
the little boy's dog faces us, still on point, still
The little boy is fascinated by the hairpiece he holds. He
turns it over and around, and looks from it to the dead
Suddenly the boy turns and runs, away from us, towards the
mouth of the alley, still clutching the hairpiece.
As he passes the dog it turns and runs after him, wagging
its tail, happy to be leaving.
9. FADE IN:
INT DINER EVENING
A man sits facing us at the counter in the foreground. His
face is hidden by the newspaper he is reading.
The page of the newspaper being presented to the camera
bears a story headlined: GANGSTER SLAIN. The subhead:
Politician's "Aide" Found Dead in Alley.
After a beat the diner drops the paper to the counter, and
we see that it is Tom, wearing overcoat and hat. He is
grimacing at whatever he was reading. He stands and digs
into his pocket.
Looking down at the newspaper an the counter, next to a
steaming cup of coffee. Tom's hand enters to put some
change on the counter, leaves, and we hear his receding
The headlined story on the page Tom was reading is:
THUNDERCLAP INJURED IN RACING MISHAP.
10. CUT TO:
TRACKING IN TO CLOSE SHOT PLAQUE
Set into the brick of a building's exterior, it reads:
SHENANDOAH CLUB. In script underneath: Members Only.
11. INT THE CLUB NIGHT
Tracking towards the front door as Tom enters. He puts his
coat and hat on the check counter.
Her arm sweeps across frame to slap Tom hard.
Check Girl (off)
Ain't you got a conscience?
Tom stares dumbly.
A diminutive woman in a french maid's uniform with a pill
box hat. She rocks her weight on one leg with her hands
proceed defiantly on her hips.
. . . It's a little voice inside that tells you
when you been a heel!
Mine's been mum lately--what'd I do?
Stood me up is all. Made me wait an hour and a
half is all? Or maybe you don't remember sayin'
you'd pick me up after work last night. I seen
heels in my time, sure, plenty of 'em! But none
so low as couldn't tell me to my face when they
was sick of me! . . .
She throws a check number at him.
. . . You know where you can stick it!
12. CUT TO:
Pulling Tom as he walks across the gambling floor. He is
joined bv a nervous young man in a tuxedo.
'Lo Tom. What's the rumpus?
Mink throws a glance back in the direction of the coat
. . . I see you got your hat back.
Yeah, what of it.
Not a thing, Tommy. I got not a thing to say.
Listen, Bernie wants to see you. It's important.
Well I'm right here, and I'm not made of glass.
Yeah, but he's nervous walkin' around in public.
He's a right guy, but he's nervous, Tommy! He's
very nervous! Who wouldn't be?!
Tom looks at Mink for the first time.
The spot he's in, who wouldn't be! He asked me
to ask you to ask Leo to take care of him. You
know, put in a good word with Leo. Leo listens
to you. Not that Leo wouldn't help the Motzoh
anyway! A guy like Bernie? A square gee like
the Motzah! A straight shooter like him?
I don't get it, Mink--
What's to get?! It's as plain as the nose--
I thought you were Bluepoint's sycophant.
Yeah Tom, that's right. But a guy can have more
than one friend, can't he? Not that I'd want
Bluepoint to know about it, but a square gee like
the Motzah? He's a right guy, Tom! He's a
straight shooter! I know he's got a mixed
reputation, but for a sheeny he's got a lot a
Tom has reached the foot of a large staircase. He turns to
look at Mink with mild curiosity.
Why should I care what happens to Bernie?
C'mon Tom, you like Bernie dontcha?
I don't like anybody, Mink, you know that.
Well, you like his sister.
What's that supposed to mean?
Nothing, Tom. If it ain't my business I got not
a thing to say.
Tom studies Mink for a beat.
What's going an between you and Bernie?
Nothin, Tom! We're just friends--you know,
He sics on his cigarette and looks nervously around the
floor, then back at Tom, who stares coolly back.
You're a fickle boy, Mink. If Bluepoint found
out you had another "amigo"--well, I don't peg
him for the understanding type.
Mink is startled. In a high shrill voice, as Tom walks up
the stairs, clutching his drink:
Find out!? How would he find out?! Damnit Tom,
me and you ain't even been talking! Jesus Tom,
13. INT LEO'S OFFICE
Pulling Tom as he enters the office.
'Lo, Tom. You know O'Gar. . .
Leo faces us from behind his desk.
Seated in two chairs facing the desk, twisting around to
greet Tom, are two men. O'Gar is a large man wearing a
police uniform. Dale Levander wears a suit; a florid man
with a shock of white hair, in his mid-sixties.
. . . and the mayor.
I ought to. I voted for him six times last May.
And that ain't the record, either.
Tom is crossing to the bar.
Verna turned up. She's downstairs.
Tom, his back to Leo as he pours a drink, stiffens.
. . . She say where she'd been?
No, I uh. . . didn't want to press her. Hear
Drink in hand, Tom turns and crosses to perch an a corner
of Leo's desk.
They took his hair, Tommy. Jesus that's strange.
Why would they do that?
Maybe it was Injuns.
Eye-ties, more like it. Giovanni Casparro.
So you figure it was Caspar bumped Rug?
Leo, with a puzzled smile, glances at O'Gar and the mayor,
and then back at Tom.
. . . Well it's pretty obvious ain't it?
Mm. . . So what's the plan?
Jump on the guinea hard. With both feet.
He looks at the mayor who shifts uncomfortably in his seat.
. . . Give him the low-down, Dale.
Yes, well. . . Leo here has just reminded us that
Mr. Caspar operates several clubs in our city
wherein the patrons imbibe of rum and play at
games of chance.
And we're sunnosed to stop the party.
Uh-huh. . .
Looking at Leo, he jerks his head towards the two men.
. . . They don't seem too happy about it, Leo.
Naw, it ain't that, Tom.
Jesus, Tom! We do as we're told!
Tom ignores them.
Maybe they're right not to like it. Stirring up
this hornets' nest won't be good for anyone. And
it'll mean killing.
Well I'm not thrilled about it either, but I
can't just lay down to Caspar.
You could do worse. You might not like it, but
giving up Bernie Bernheim is a pretty small price
to pay for peace. Business is business and a
war's going to hurt everybody. Bernie plays with
fire, he's got to deal with the consequences--
even if that means he gets bumped off.
Sweet Jesus, Tom, that ain't even the point
anymore. Caspar pooped Rug. The day I back down
from a fight, Caspar is welcome to the rackets,
this town, and my place at the table. I didn't
start this thing, but--
Tom's voice is sharp:
You did start it--you and Verna--
The mayor has risen to his feet. Uncomfortably:
We can dangle, Leo, if you'd prefer.
Siddown Dale, we're all friends here.
--and Caspar hasn't broken the rules, Bernie has-
-and you too, by helping him. And if that isn't
enough, consider that if you make it a war, you
have more to lose than Caspar.
Leo is getting up from behind the desk and walking over to
stare out the window.
Okay, but more to beat him with. Jesus, Tom, the
two of us've faced worse odds.
But never without reason. It helps to have one.
Leo doesn't reply. Tom is irritated, but shrugs indif-
. . . Well, it's your call.
He gets to his feet and starts for the door.
. . . My opinion use to count for something
around here, but it's always yours to take or
Leo has turned from the window and is striding after Tom,
Aw, c'mon Tommy. Its not like that. . .
The door clicks shut.
. . . Goddamnit. Goddamn kid is just like a
14. CUT TO:
Tending the downstairs bar as Tom stalks over.
Gimme a stiff one.
No small talk, huh? They shoot vour nag?
Tony has finished pouring a shot of whiskey which Tom
immediately knocks back.
If there's any justice. Verna around?
She stepped into the ladies, room. You got
Lazarre's five hundred?
He'll have to carry me for a few days.
Tom is pouring himself another drink.
He ain't gonna like that. Couldn't, you get it
Tom is irritated:
It's not Leo's debt. I'll pay my own way.
I admire a man of principle. Does this go on the
Drink in hand, Tom is already walking away.
15. INT LADIES' LOUNGE
As Tom bangs through the door, still carelessly holding his
tumbler of whiskey. A rogue lock of hair hangs down over
Close your eyes, ladies, I'm coming through.
The hubbub of female voices evaporates as all turn to look
at the male intruder.
The lounge's decor is done in various shades of pink. Some
of the women apply make-up facing the large bulb-encircled
mirrors on overstuffed seashell shaped pink chairs. Other
women sit, smoking, in the banquettes that line the other
All react to Tom's entrance with surprise mixed with
various degrees of outrage, and they hurry to gather their
things and leave. The one exception is Verna, who looks at
Tom with unperturbed distaste.
As he crosses to her seashell chair:
Who's the warpaint for?
Go home and dry out.
You don't need it for Leo, believe me. He
already thinks you're the original Miss Jesus.
She glances hurriedly around the lounge, but the last of
the women are already leaving.
. . . What the hell's the matter with you?
What's the matter with you? Afraid people might
get the right idea?
Verna studies him for a beat.
Leo's got the right idea. I like him, he's
honest and he's got a heart.
Tom weaves a couple of steps closer to her.
Then its true what they say. Opposites attract.
Do me a favor and mind your own business.
She turns back to the mirror and starts applying her
lipstick. Tom drops down to face her in the mirror.
This is my business. Intimidating helpless women is
part of what I do.
Then find one and intimidate her.
Tom swallows the rest of his drink in one gulp.
Leo's upstairs getting ready to shoot himself in
the foot on your account.
I don't know what you're talking about.
He's gonna go to the mat for your brother. And
it's gonna hurt him.
I don't know Leo's business, but he's a big boy.
He used to be.
Verna causes with the lipstick. She looks at Tom intently
but her tone softens.
Look. What do you want, Tom? You want me to
pretend I don't care what happens to Bernie?
Well I do. He's my brother and I don't want him
to get hurt. If Leo wants to help him out I'll
step out with him, show him a good time in
return. There's no harm in that.
There's a name for that kind of business arrange-
I'll do what I have to for Bernie and there's no
reason for you to try and queer that. Regardless
of what you think of me, Bernie's a decent guy.
A straight shooter, huh? A square gee?
Yeah, sneer at him like everyone else. Just
because he's different. People think he's a
degenerate. People think he's scum. Well he's
Poor misunderstood Bernie.
Verna swivels around to stare quizzically at Tom.
. . . What is this about? You want me to stop
seeing Leo . . . Why don't you just say so?
I want you to quit spinning Leo in circles and
pointing him where to go.
I forgot--that's your job, isn't it?
I'll do what I have to to protect Leo. I'm
asking you--politely, for me--to leave him alone.
I don't have to ask. If I told him about our
little dance last night, your pull would dry up
Now Verna is irritated:
So would yours. I don't like being threatened.
I don't like being played for a sucker. That
game might work with Leo but it won't work with
You think last night was just more campaigning
for my brother?
I can see the angles. . .
He grabs her by the arm and drags her roughly to her feet.
. . . And I know if there was a market for little
old ladies, you'd have Grandma Bernheim first on
(struggling to get out of his grasp)
You're a pathetic rumhead.
And I love you, Angel.
Tom takes her hat off, tosses it onto the chair, and kisses
her roughly on the lips.
Verna breaks away and socks him on the jaw. Tom staggers
back, upsetting a table of toiletries and landing against a
He throws his empty whiskey glass at Verna.
She ducks and it smashes into the mirror.
They stand staring at each other for a beat, breathing
hard. Tom has a smear of lipstick near one side of his
. . . I suppose you think you've raised hell.
She picks up her stole and heads for the door.
Tom stands staring at her back, swaying, ever so slightly.
Sister, when T've raised hell you'll know it.
16. CUT TO:
INT TOM'S APARTMENT
A wide shot, facing the semi-circular windows, the door of
the apartment behind us. A large easy chair in the middle
foreground faces away from us: a smaller chair is at the
window end of the room, facing us.
At the cut we hear the ringing of the telephone.
Offscreen we can hear the unhurried scrape of a key in the
lock, then the door opening, then the door closing.
Tom's back enters frame as he strolls into the room and
then disappears briefly through an open doorway to the
right. We hear an icebox door opening and closing, and
then Tom reenters again, still not reacting to the insis-
tently ringing phone. He is now holding a balled-up towel.
He walks over to the facing chair at the window end of the
room, shrugs off his overcoat, drapes it on the chair,
sits, crosses his legs, takes off his hat, tosses it onto
the upraised toes of his crossed leg, tilts his head back,
and presses the towel against his forehead--apparently it
is an icepack.
We are beginning to track slowly towards him.
After a beat he takes out a cigarette, lights it, and
reaches back for the phone that refuses to stop ringing.
Yeah. . .
He casually looks forward, just off to one side, at a
specific point in space. He does not react to whatever he
. . . I need a couple days. . . Because I don't
have it now. . .
We are almost in close shot now. His gaze is still fixed
. . . Because I say so. . . What would be good
enough?. . . Well, if it'll make him feel any
better, tell Lazarre he can send someone by to
break my legs. I won't squawk.
He prongs the earpiece, still looking off. The track has
stopped in close shot. He exhales a stream of smoke, then
after a beat:
. . . 'Lo, Bernie.
Slouched in a chair, in the corner of the room, facing Tom,
is Bernie Bernheim. He is about thirty and wears his
overcoat and hat and a good-natured smile. He holds an
apple in one hand and a paring knife in the other. The
long peel of the apple corkscrews down off the knife.
'Lo, Tom. What's the rumpus?
C'mon in, make yourself at home.
Yeah, you weren't here so I thought I'd do that.
Didn't wanna answer the phone, though. Figured
it wasn't for me.
After a silent beat, Bernie chuckles.
. . . I get it, get to the point, huh? Okay.
The point is: I'm a good guy.
I've heard that from a lot of people today.
Bernie slices off an apple section and holds it out to Tom,
who shakes his head.
Good guy, lot of friends--that's the way it
works. Maybe if you appreciated me a little
more, you wouldn't be making waves with Leo.
He pops the slice in his mouth.
It's a bad time to be doing that. I mean, right
now we're both in a jam. I hear you're on a bad
streak, short of funds, and I've got that
psychotic guinea mad at me. Don't ask me why;
I'm just a small-timer trying to get by, like
everyone else. I need help from my friends.
Like Leo. And you.
Leo gets your sister, what're you selling me?
C'mon Tom, its not like that at all. Wasn't
my idea. She'll sleep with anyone, you know
that. She's even tried to teach me a thing or
two about bed artistry. Can you believe that--my
own sister! Some crackpot idea about saving me
from my friends. . .
Bernie laughs pleasantly.
She's a sick twist all right. I guess some
guys like that.
She speaks highly of you.
Yeah, well, you stick by your family. The point
is, I can help you with your debts if that would
make us friends. My motto is, a guy can't have
too many. Big payday Saturday, Tom. You could
be in on it.
For the first time, Tom is interested.
Another fix? Which fight?
Well that's confidential at the moment. But it
doesn't have to stay that way.
Tom gives Bernie a speculative eye.
How d'you know about it? Caspar isn't laying any
more bets with you.
Tom gives a humorless smile.
. . . You must really have Mink jumping through
Bernie is getting to his feet wiping the knife blade on his
Like I say, you can't have too many.
He pauses at the open door, looks up and down the hall and
turns to look at Tom.
. . . We got a deal?
. . . I'll think about it.
On his way out:
I wouldn't want it any other way.
On the click of the door latch we cut to:
17. STREET DAY
Pulling Tom along the sidewalk.
Cud. . .
He is calling out to a short rail-like man lounging against
a building who joins him as he walks. Cud has small sharp
features except for one cheek, which is hugely distended by
a wad of chewing tobacco.
. . . My credit still good with you?
Cud gives a so-so flutter of his hand.
. . . Give me a hundred across on Tailor Maid in
the third tonight.
Cud shakes his head.
Lazarre won't like it.
Try fifty across.
I'll try. That'll make another one-fifty you owe
Only if I lose, Cud.
Tommy, the way you're goin'--horses got knees?
I dunno. Fetlocks.
Well the way you're goin', if I was a horse I'd
be down on my fetlocks prayin' you don't bet on
Another man, a huge man, has walked up to flank Tom's other
side. This is Frankie.
Drift, small guy.
Drop dead, ape.
C'mon Tom, my boss wants to see you. He didn't
have time to engrave nothin' formal.
Cud starts to fade away.
I'll see you later, Tommy. I gotta go spit.
18. INT ROOM
It is a large room with a couple of card tables, straight-
backed chairs, a ratty sofa--a sparsely furnished card room
off the main floor of a club.
At the cut we are tracking behind Tom into the room as
Frankie and Tic-Tac, a small ferret-faced-man, escort him
in. We hear a woman's voice speaking rapid-fire Italian.
Bluepoint is sitting on the couch, wearing his overcoat and
his hat pushed back an his forehead.
Sitting at one of the card tables is Caspar. With him is
his wife, a short, very round Italian woman, and his son,
Johnny Jr. Johnny Jr., about five years old, is also very
round. He wears a suit with short pants that reveal
Bluepoint, an the couch, is watching the domestic scene
without any particular warmth.
Whaddya mean he's eatin' too much? Whadduz the
goddamn doctor know?
He turns to the little boy.
. . . What you eat for lunch?
A hot dog.
Just a hot dog?
The boy shakes his head.
A hot dog and mustard.
Caspar throws his head back and roars with laughter.
A hot dog with mustard! A hot dog with mustard!
You hear that, Bluepoint! The kids as smart as a
whip! Even Uncle Bluepoint thinks that's funny.
Bluenpoint's face is a solem mask.
. . . Whadduz the goddamn doctor know!
Caspar wipes away tears of mirth and digs in his pocket
with his left hand. Extending two closed fists towards the
. . . G'head, which hand is the penny in?
The boy touches his right fist.
. . . Choose again.
The boy just looks at him.
. . . Okay, here ya go. Take the penny. Shiny
To his wife.
. . . Take the kid. Wait in the car. Give'm
a penny, boys.
Tic-Tac and Frankie dig in their pockets for change as the
boy and his mother cross to the door.
I ain't got a penny, boss.
Caspar has turned his attention to a check book that lies
on the table in front of him. As he writes:
Ah, well, that's a penny ya owe him. 'Lo Tom,
what's the rumpus? You like kids?
Uh-huh. Have a seat. G'ahead.
He tears out the check.
. . . Well, you're missin' out on a complete
life. I know, kids, big deal, but still, I'm
He blows on the check.
. . . Anyway. . . Thanks for comin' by. I just
wrote this check out to your bookmaker, Lazarre.
It's for an even fifteen hundred, which is more
than I hear you owe him but I figure you can
always use some money on the cuff, a high roller
such as yaself whaddya say?
. . . Thanks.
Always the yapper, huh? Well, you're welcome.
You wanna know why I'm putting you square with
Bad feeling. It ain't a good thing. It's a
poison, kid. I want everybody to be friends. I
do this, you're friends with Lazarre, he's
friends with you, and you're friends with me.
And all you gotta do, show you're a friend, is to
give me Bernie Bernheim. You know it's the right
thing anyway; I can't keep any discipline if I
can't punish the people I need to punish. The
Motzah steals from me, I can't have Leo givin'
him a shiny new penny. . . You find some way to
make Leo understand that.
So the deal is, I give you the Motzah, smooth it
over with Leo, and you bail me out with Lazarre.
Yeah, then we're all friends again: You, me,
Bluepoint sneers from the couch:
We can maybe have tea sometime.
C'mon, Bluepoint. Friends is a mental state.
Wuddya say, kid?
. . . I'll think about it.
He'll think about it. Hear that, Bluepoint?
That's terrific. The kid's a thinker.
Does he want a pillow for his head?
Okay kid, think about it. It's a mental state.
But make it quick, my family's waitin'.
I'll think about it and tell you later.
He needs to think in the thinking room.
Caspar shakes his head sadly.
Kid, if it'll help you think, you should know
that if you don't do this you won't be in any
shape to walk outa here.
Tom considers this.
. . . Would that be physically, or just a mental
Caspar stares at him for a beat, then slowly starts to tear
up the check.
. . . That ain't friendly, kid. I make you a
nice offer, I get the high hat.
He gets up and walks over to the door. Tic-Tac opens it
for him and precedes him out.
Before following Caspar out the door, Bluepoint grins at
Too bad for you, smart guy.
He leaves, shutting the door.
The room is quiet.
Tom looks at Frankie, the large man, who looks back.
Frankie stands, takes off his suit coat, and hangs it
carefully on a rack by the door.
He approaches Tom.
Frankie complies. Tom is standing and shrugging off his
coat. He folds it neatly and turns to lay it on the chair
he was in.
When he turns around again he is holding the chair and he
smashes it into Frankie's face.
Frankie staggers back but doesn't drop. He reaches up to
his nose and his hand comes away bloody.
. . . Jesus, Tom.
Tom still holds the chair.
Frankie looks at him for a moment, then walks over to the
door, opens it, and leaves, shutting it behind him.
The room is very quiet. Tom stands facing the door, still
holding the chair. After a beat or two, he starts to put
The door opens and he quickly raises the chair again.
Tic-Tac, the little man with the hawk nose, is striding
into the room, briskly approaching Tom. Frankie, the
gorilla, follows cautiously.
Tic-Tac blocks Ton's swing of the chair with his forearm,
wraps both arms around it and pulls it awav from Tom. As
Frankie circles Tom, Tic-Tac tosses the chair across the
Frankie, now behind Tom, wallops him in the small of the
back. The blow sends him staggering towards Tic-Tac, who
cracks him in the jaw.
Frankie grabs Tom's hair and yanks his head back as Tic-Tac
works on his midsection. Tom's hands are reaching back to
grope for Frankie.
Still holding his hair with one hand, Frankie cuffs Tom
awkwardly on the side of the head. Tom staggers around and
Tic-Tac, now behind him, also hits him on the side of the
Tom goes down. His head hits the floor with a thunk.
We are on a low angle an the floor. Behind Tom's head, in
the background, we see the door to the room.
The door splinters in with a loud crash.
Frankie's feet are walking up alongside Tom's head, as blue
uniforms stream into the room.
Just in the nick of time, huh?
He brings his foot back to deliver a walloping kick to the
back of Tom's head. On the impact we cut to:
Over black we hear the sound of running water.
19. FADE IN:
Gasping for air as his head is pulled out from under a
The uniformed policeman who was holding him there and is
now pulling him back up, grins at him.
No harm done. Unless your friend broke his foot.
Tom is still woozy.
. . . Wuzzit. . . How long. . . What day is it?
Friday, 12th of September, 1929. Same as when
you left us, about ten seconds ago. . .
He is leading Tom by the arm out of the cramped bathroom,
back into the card room where he was beat up. Another cop
has Frankie cuffed in a straightbacked chair and is taking
roundhouse swings at him. He pauses, breathing heavily.
. . . 'Lo, Tom. Care to skin a knuckle an your
No. . . thanks, Delahanty. . .
As Tom and the first cop leave the card room:
Well if you change your mind, we'll be inter-
rogatin' for a while. . .
Tom and his escort are emerging onto the casino floor.
What was that party about, anyway?
We do this every weekend.
Blue uniforms are everywhere. Some are escorting tuxedoed
patrons and employees to the exit; some wield axes on the
gaming equipment; others are using nightsticks to smash the
bottles behind the bar. Tom winces at this and lights a
Jesus. . .
He takes a battle and glass from a table as they walk by.
. . . What the hell is the matter with you
Well, they said make it hurt. . . So we make it
22. EXT THE BUILDING
We see that the building's facade claims to be SABBATINI'S
ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES.
Tom weaves across the street with his battle and glass
towards O'Gar, the police chief, leaning against a squad
car, chewing a toothpick. He is watching morosely as his
men load other men into paddywagons; the street is clogged
with police vehicles.
O'Gar does not bother to look at Tom as they talk; he is
unhappily watching the spectacle.
I'm an duty.
Tom pours himself a glass.
To Volstead. . .
He tosses back a shot.
. . . Any news on Rug?
Still dead, far as I know.
Get a slug out of him?
Yeah, a .22. Listen, Tom, I'm just the chief
around here, so don't bother telling me if you
don't happen to feel like it, but what the hell
is Leo doing?
Ours is not to reason why, friend.
Balls. Look at this mess. Make him listen to
you, Tom. It ain't right, all this fuss over one
sheeny. Let Caspar have Bernie--Jesus, what's
one Hebrew more or less?
He nods at the building.
. . . We're burning our mealticket here.
Leo'll do what suits him, and you'll do what he
tells you. Last I heard Leo's still running this
He won't be for long if this keeps up. It's no
good for anyone--you said as much yourself.
First off, O'Gar, I can say what I please to Leo
and about him. . .
He taps him on the chest.
. . . You can't. Second, once Leo decides--
that's that. And if that sticks going down,
there are plenty of other coppers wouldn't mind
being chief, and could swallow it clean.
O'Gar looks chastened.
Jesus, Tom, I was just speculatin' about a
hypothesis. I know I don't know nothin'. It's
just a damn mess is all--
He is interrupted by gunfire from an upper story of the
O'Gar's men react, finding cover, returning the fire.
O'Gar unholsters his gun as he and Tom scramble for cover.
. . . a goddamn mess.
We are shooting over Tom's shoulder as he knocks at the
door to Verna's apartment.
After a beat, Verna opens the door.
On seeing who it is she starts to swing the door shut.
Tom puts his toe in the doorway and leans into the door.
As he pushes his way in:
Thanks, don't mind if I do.
24. INT APARTMENT
As Verna gives up and Tom enters.
Verna walks over to the phone. As she dials, Tom tosses
his hat onto a chair and checks the apartment to see if
Hello, officer, I'd like to report an intruder at
Tom grabs the phone away from her.
Who's this?. . . 'Lo, Shad, Tom Duchaisne here.
We won't be needing any today. . . That's right,
my mother. She didn't recognize me. Lemme talk
He takes a flask out of his packet and looks across the
room towards Verna.
. . . Miss me?
We hear a voice barking through the line and Tom turns back
to the phone.
. . . 'Lo Sean, tell O'Car to send a car over to
Leo's tonight. If we're going to be banging away
at Caspar we ought to be ready for him to bang
back. . . Yeah.
He hangs up the phone and tips the flask back, draining the
What do you want?
Tom is crossing to the bar.
I was in the neighborhood, feeling a little
daffy. Thought I'd drop in for an apperitif.
He pours himself a drink.
. . . Rug Daniels is dead.
Gee, that's tough.
Don't get hysterical. I've had enough excitement
for one nigit without a dame going all weepy on
I barely knew the gentleman.
Rug? Bit of a shakedown artist. Not above the
occasional grift, but you'd understand that. All
in all not a bad guy, if looks, brains and
personality don't count.
You better hope they don't.
He gives her a sick grin.
. . . Yeah well, we're none of us the saint I
hear your brother is.
Who killed him?
Leo thinks Caspar did.
But you know better.
I do now. Caspar just tried to buy me into
settling his tiff with Leo, which held hardly do
if he was waging war. So I figure you killed
him, Angel. You or Saint Bernard.
Why would I--or my brother--kill Rug Daniels or
Rug was following you. He knew about you and me.
That wouldn't help your play with Leo, would it?
He looks at her. She holds his gaze.
You think I murdered someone. Come on, Tom, you
know me a little.
Nobody knows anybody--not that well.
You know or you wouldn't be here.
Not at all, sugar. I came to hear your side of
the story--how horrible Rug was, how he goaded
you into it, how he tried to shake you down--
That's not why you came either.
Tell me why I came.
Verna looks at him.
The oldest reason there is.
There are friendlier places to drink.
Why can't you admit it?
Admit you don't like me seeing Lee because you're
jealous. Admit it isn't all cool calculation
with you--that you've got a heart--even if it's
small and feeble and you can't remember the last
time you used it.
If I'd known we were going to cast our feelings
into words I'd have memorized the Song of
. . . Maybe that's why I like you, Tom. I've
never met anyone made being a sonofabitch such a
point of pride.
She turns to walk across the room.
. . . Though one day you'll pay a crice for it.
Tom grabs her wrist.
Okay, Verna. But until then, let's get stinko.
He draws her close.
. . . Let's do something else first.
She reaches up, takes off his hat, and tosses it casually
away. We pan with the hat to where it lands on the floor,
in front of a curtained window.
Yeah. Let's do plenty.
25. DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:
ANOTHER WINDOW NIGHT
A living room window, open, its white sheers billowing
lazily in the draft.
Faintly, from another room in the house, we can hear a
phonograph playing John McCormack singing "Danny Boy".
At the cut we hear a thump, close by, and briefly the
sounds of a struggle. We then hear a breathy, gurgling
sound, which quickly subsides.
The living room is late-night quiet.
The shot is a lateral track, which brings us off the window
to an end table in the foreground. On the end table is a
pouch of Bull Durham, a package of rolling papers, a cup of
coffee with steaming rising off of it, and a section of a
newspaper. The draft gently lifts a couple rolling papers
off the table.
The continuing track takes us off the end table and,
booming down, shows us an upset chair and the legs of the
man who occupied it.
We track along the man's body to discover that he is face-
down on the section of newspaper he was reading, blood
oozing out of his slit throat onto the newspaper.
The continuing track shows that, between the fingers of one
outflung hand, a cigarette burns. It is resting on the
We see the feet of another man who is turning and walking
away from the man on the floor, into the background. We
pan over to watch him recede, framing out all of the dying
man except his outflung hand and cigarette.
As the walking man recedes, more and more of his topcoated
body crops in. By the time he reaches the house's front
door, in the deep background, we can see him full figure.
The newspaper in the foreground is crackling into flame.
The rug it rests on is beginning to smoke and discolor.
As the man in the background opens the front door we jump
OVER HIS SHOULDER
Waiting in the darkness just outside is another man in a
topcoat and fedora. He is holding two tommy guns.
The men do not exchange words.
The man outside hands his partner a tommy gun and follows
him as he walks back into the house.
Still faint, we continue to hear "Danny Boy". We also hear
the lick of flames.
26. A VICTROLA
The song is louder at the cut. We are in an upstairs
Stretched out an his bed, wearing a robe over his pyjamas,
smoking a cigar, listening--but only to the phonograph.
Its sound covers any other noise in the house.
A close track on the two pairs of feet climbing the stairs.
We see only the feet, the swaying hems of the topcoats and,
occasionally dipping into frame, the muzzles of the two
Leo, is motionless, looking down, a puzzled expression.
Thin smoke is beginning to sift up through the floorboards.
Tracking on the approaching feet. The song grows louder.
Leo, looking, slowly taking the cigar from his mouth.
From inside as--CRASH--it is kicked in.
Hitting the floor and rolling under the bed.
THE TWO GUNMEN
Striding into the room.
On his belly under the bed, facing the door, swinging a
handgun in front of him.
From floor level, the bottom of the mattress above us, the
floorboards stretching away.
The bed crops the two gunmen mid-shin as they swing their
guns up, firing.
RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT--the hems of their coats sway as they fire.
The floorboards in front of us are pocked by bullet hits
that walk across the floor towards the bed and hit the
The mattress above us dances under the gunfire as ticking
sprays down at the floor.
Smoke curls up throuch the floorboards.
Jaw clamped on his cigar, he starts firing.
Blood spurts as one gunman takes a hit in the ankle.
He staggers and his tommy gun clatters to the floor.
The other gunman is ducking out the door.
The injured gunman pitches forward, head towards us, his
hat rolling off.
A bullet hit in the top of the fallen man's head.
Rolling out from under the bed.
He stoops to pick up the dead man's tommy gun. Thick smoke
seeps up through the floor.
The phonograph plays.
Leo ducks through another door.
Facing down the length of the dark hallway, towards the
mouth of the stairs.
As Leo leaps across frame in the foreground, to enter a
facing room, muzzle flashes erupt at the end of the hall--
where the other gunman has been waiting in the darkness.
29. SECOND ROOM
Leo throws open a window.
As Leo rolls out onto the long sloping eave of a front
His gun skates down the eave and falls. Leo grabs the rain
gutter, hangs by his hands and drops down to the front
The first floor of the house is in flames.
From a high angle the camera swoops down on Leo as he picks
up the gun and backs away from the house, looking up at the
second story. His open robe flaps in the breeze. The dead
cigar is still clamped between his teeth.
The second floor window that he just emerged from.
Staccato gunfire erupts in the dark room.
The strobing gunfire makes a strobing shadow of the gunman,
whose back is to us as he rakes the room with fire.
Firing, the gun jumping and bucking in his hands.
29. INSIDE THE ROOM
The gunman, riddled with bullets and showered with broken
glass, spins around, his thompson still firing uncontrol-
Bullets dance across the walls and ceiling, blast out the
remaining glass and sing harmlessly into the trees outside.
BACK TO LEO
As we hear the screech of skidding tires. A black coupe
takes a curve on the street behind him, machine gun fire
spitting out of the back window.
Leo turns, in the glow of the fanning flames, walking
calmly into the street, firing at the receeding car.
ON THE CAR
Growing smaller, still snitting fire and lead.
Still walking calmly up the street, the gun still bucking
in his hands. Bullets whistle by and claw up the pavement
His robe whips back in the breeze. He fires again and we
hear the distant sound of shattering glass. The car
weaves, runs up off the road, hits a tree and bursts into
A figure emerges from the car and staggers off into the
darkness. He is on fire.
CLOSE ON LEO
As he stops, squinting, raising the gun.
The burning gunman zig-zagging into the darkness.
BACK TO LEO
A faint smile curls around the cigar. He drops the muzzle
of the gun.
Huhh. . .
The shell of the car explodes in a fireball as we:
31. CUT TO:
UPSTAIRS HALLWAY SHENANDOAH CLUB
The explosion echoes over the cut as we track up the
hallway behind Tom and a tall cadaverous man with pre-
maturely white hair. This is Dead Terry McGill.
Gunmen of every description line the hallway, lounging
against the walls, barely acknowledging the two men.
We are, for the nonce.
What's the disposish?
Last night? Four to one. Dana Cudahy went up
with the house.
The other three?
He is opening the door to admit Tom. In a low, gravelly
. . . The old man's still an artist with a
32. INT LEO'S OFFICE
As Tom enters.
Leo is bellowing into the phone:
--well find him, goddamnit! Go see if he fell in
the john! And get him, over here!
He slams down the phone.
. . . Sonofabitch! No chief! Who's running the
Tom goes to the bar to pour himself a drink.
Can't raise O'Gar?
No, nor the mayor either.
He takes a sip.
. . . That's not good. They're running.
They wouldn't dare.
I don't know, Leo. I warned you not to hit
I'm still here, ain't I?
Caspar's play hurt you anyway.
Hah! That sorry sonofabitch just slit his own
throat. He just made me decide to step on him--
Listen to me Leo. Last night made you look
vulnerable. You don't hold elected office in
this town. You run it because people think you
run it. Once they stop thinking it, you stop
Jesus, Tom, sounds like a bad break for me I
I mean it, Leo. Start taking Caspar seriously.
Don't sing me the blues again, Tommy. I need
your help. He shoots, we gotta answer--
That's what got you in this mess.
I know, I know. Retreat to win. Give up Bernie.
That'll solve all our problems.
It won't anymore, I'll grant that. Now its
either you or Caspar. But going toe-to-toe with
a psychopath'll get you nowhere. It'll force
everyone to choose sides just when you're looking
The hell I do!
Then where's the mayor? Why aren't there any
police here? Why weren't there police at your
place last night?
I didn't ask for any.
Mother hen, huh? What's the matter, Tommy, you
think I can't take care of myself?
I know you can't. Here's the smart play, Leo:
you lay back, give up Bernie, let Caspar think
he's made his point. Wait for him to show you a
Please, Tom. . .
Tom stares at him.
You're sticking on Bernie. Sticking your neck
out for a guy who'd chop you off at the heels if
there was two bits in it.
Leo leans back in his chair, puts his feet up, and gazes
out the window.
. . . Tom, it ain't all as clear-cut as you make
it. . . Bernie's--Well hell, you know about me
and Verna. . . Things now are--not that I haven't
been a gentleman, but. . . I, uh. . . I plan to
ask her to marry me, Tom.
There is a long, awkward silence. Leo avoids Tom's look
but finally responds to the silence:
. . . I guess you think that's a bonehead play.
Do you think she wants you to?
How the hell do I know, Tom?. . . I think she
does. . . Yeah, 'course she does. I know, I
know, you think different but--well, we just
differ on that.
Tom takes a deep breath, and exhales.
. . . Caspar didn't kill Rug.
Course he did.
No. Think about it. Just this one time. Who
was Rug following?
This gets Leo's attention. He turns to look at Tom.
. . . Huh?
It needn't have been that sinister. A strange
man, following her down a dark alley, late at
night. . . I've told you, Leo, she can take care
Leo stares at Tom. He seems somewhat dazed.
. . . Tom, why're you saying that? Christ, Tom.
I just told you, I plan to. . .
They pulled a .22 slug out of him. A pop gun,
Leo--a woman's gun.
. . . That's a whiskey dream. Verna wouldn't
panic--shoot someone--just because he was
He gazes off again, shaking his head.
. . . No. . . It wouldn't have happened that way
in the first place, and if it had she would have
told me. . . I know you don't like her, Tom, but
I trust Verna as much as I trust you.
On her account you'll burn the town down.
Don't worry, Tom. We'll still be standing when
the smoke clears.
Tom's tone is gentle:
Okay Leo. Then maybe it wasn't that innocent.
Maybe Rug knew something she didn't like him
knowing, and wouldn't want you to know. He was
following her. He knew who she was seeing. He
knew where she was sleeping, and who with. . .
Leo has taken his feet off the sill and has turned back to
face Tom. He studies him carefully.
Maybes don't make it so.
Tom's suddenly very earnest, almost beseeching.
They're more than maybes. You've trusted me
before, and never lost anything by it. Trust me
This is too important.
I don't ask much, and I don't ask often. Trist
me on this.
Trust me on this or the hell with you.
You don't mean that.
. . . She was at my place. The night Rug was
following her; the night you dropped by.
Leo is still staring impassively at Tom. Tom doesn't
flinch from his gaze.
After a long beat Leo gets up slowly from his chair, walks
over to the window, shoves his hands in his pockets and
For a moment Tom looks at Leo's motionless back, but he has
nothing left to say. He rises, plucks his hat from the
desk and goes to the door. Before exiting, he looks back.
Leo, in long shot, is still gazing out the window.
Pulling Tom up the hall.
Behind him we can see the door to Leo's office opening and
Leo coming out. He strides up the hall after Tom.
Tom turns as Leo reaches him.
Leo, without breaking stride, seems to walk right into him,
throwing a punch that catches Tom on the chin and sends him
stumbling back, his hat flying off.
The men 1ining the hall watch with casual interest.
Tom staggers into one of the men who catches him. Another
man has picked up Tom's hat and now hands it to him. The
first man shoves Tom back into the middle of the hall just
in time for the approaching Leo to land another punch
against his jaw.
34. This blow sends Tom rolling down the staircase, still
clutching his hat.
Leo is clomping down the stairs; his army of private
retainers clomp down behind him. In his shirtsleeves and
chomping an unlit cigar, Leo looks like a labor leader
taking the rank and file to the barricades.
Tom claws himself up the wall to his feet.
Leo has reached the floor and still without breaking stride
uppercuts Tom with a blow that straightens him up and sends
him staggering like a drunk into gamblers in evening
dresses and tuxedos.
A path clears for Leo and his entourage. He has not
slackened his pace, but is also not hurrying. Tom weaves,
watching Leo approach, but makes no attempt to defend
Leo grabs his own wrist with one hand and swings his elbow
up to catch Tom with a sharp blow on the side of his face.
Tom spins into a screaming lady in a sequined evening dress
and sinks to the floor grabbing at her bodice and skirt for
support. She bats at him with her handbag as he slips
Fat Tony emerges from the crowd and helps Tom to his feet.
He raises his hand to stop Leo.
Okay, Leo. I'll throw him out.
Leo stops, panting. He is looking at Tom, but speaking to to
. . . Yeah. Do that. . . It's the kiss-off. If
I never see him again it'll be soon enough.
35. CUT TO:
Wide shot of his living room, facing the windows. It is
Tom sits with his back to us at the window, feet propped up
on the sill. He is smoking a cigarette. A full ashtray on
a table at his side indicates that he has been sitting
there for some time.
We are slowly tracking in.
The telephone sits on the the arm of his chair. After a
moment he stubs out the cigarette, picks up the phone and
. . .'Lo Frankie its Tom, how's the flunky
business?. . . I've had worse; your ventilator
Offscreen we hear a knocking at the door to the apartment.
Tom ignores it.
. . . Tell Caspar its already forgotten. I'd
like to see him. . .
The knocking continues.
. . . All right, do what you have to do and let
He cradles the phone, lights another cigarette, takes a
drag, blows a thoughtful cloud of smoke and turns to face
the door. After a beat he rises and leaves frame.
As Tom swings it open. Verna stands in the hallway
outside. After a wordless beat she moves past him into the
apartment. Tom turns and follows her.
He walks over to his bar, pours two drinks, then crosses
the room to Verna who has seated herself, hands her a drink
and sits down in a chair facing hers.
. . . It worked, whatever you did; Leo told me
we're quits. But you know I didn't have anything
to do with Rug.
Maybe not. . . Anyway, that isn't what soured him
The thought is bitter but her tone isn't:
Oh, you and me, huh? You always take the long
way around to get what you want, don't you Tom.
. . . You could have just asked.
Tom looks at her.
. . . What did I want?
Verna returns his look, then answers evenly:
After a beat Tom, his eyes still on Verna, brings the glass
to his lips and takes a sip. The ice cubes clink.
36. FADE IN:
Tom sits perched on the edge of the bed, smoking a ciga-
rette. Verna is in bed behind him. The lamp on the
nightstand is burning a faint yellow.
The telephone rings.
As Tom reaches for it, Verna stirs behind him.
He reaches over to switch off the light; when he does the
room remains illuminated by dull gray light; it is dawn.
. . . Yeah yeah, when?. . . Okay.
He hangs up, and continues to smoke, staring absently off.
. . . You're still up?
Tom answers without turning to face her:
. . . What're you chewing over?
. . . Remembering something. . .
What was it?
Tom turns to look at her, then turns back and looks out the
Just a dream. I was walking in the woods, don't
know why. . . The wind came up and blew my hat
off. . .
And you chased it, right? You ran and ran and
finally you caught up to it and picked it up but
it wasn't a hat anymore. It had changed into
something else--something wonderful.
No. It stayed a hat. And no I didn't chase it.
I watched it blow away. . .
He takes a drag an the cigarette.
. . . Nothing more foolish than a man chasing his
Tom rouses himself, rises, and we pan to follow as he picks
up a shirt and starts buttoning it in the bureau mirror.
Where're you going?
Verna stares at him.
. . . Don't let on more than you have to.
Just have to do a few things.
You and Leo might still be able to patch
Tom grimaces into the mirror.
Me and Leo are finished. Nothing's going to
You never know. He's got a big heart.
We're quits--as far as I'm concerned, never mind
him. And if Leo did want me back he's an even
bigger sap than I thought.
. . . Then why don't we just pick up and leave
town? There's nothing keeping you here. I know
there's nothing keeping me.
Tom is starting to knot a tie.
What about Bernie?
He could come with us.
You, me and Bernie. Where would we go, Verna?
Why do you hate him?
I don't hate anyone.
Or like anyone.
Whatever. Where is Bernie?
Verna looks at him.
Leo can't protect him anymore. I ought to tell
him to skip.
The Royale. Room three-oh-two.
She gazes off.
. . . I guess we both double-crossed Leo, there's
no getting around that. I guess he's well rid of
both of us.
The two of us, we're about bad enough to deserve
We're a couple of heels, Tom. Yes we are.
37. PULLING TOM
Into a dark office. Behind him, Frankie, his nose swathed
with bandages, is closing the door from the outside.
'Lo, Kid. You know O'Gar. . .
Caspar sits behind his desk. Bluenoint sits slouched on a
couch to one side, wearing his hat, his hands jammed into
the pockets of his overcoat.
In two chairs facing the desk, away from us, sit two men
who are twisting around to smile at Tom.
. . . and the mayor.
Tom's a big booster. Always has been.
S'fine, s'fine. Well, Tom and me's got the
proverbial fat to chew--
The mayor and O'Gar are already rising to their feet.
Well, let us know if you need anything. . .
Yeah, happy days. Have a seat, kid. . .
Tom sits into one of the vacated chairs facing Caspar.
. . . So you had enough time to think about it?
Yeah, well, circumstances have changed.
Don't I know it. Last night, I know Bluepoint
was disappointed the bulls showed up before
Frankie and Tic-Tac could really pin your ears
back, but I said, Relax, Bluepoint, I got a
feeling about this kid. Take the long view. The
kid and Leo are gonna go bust-o. If the kid ain't
ready yet, well, he soon will be. Matter of
time. I said, the kid's too smart for Leo.
That's what I said. Like a psychic. Ask
Bluepoint if I didn't. Like a goddamn psychic.
G'ahead. Ask him.
Tom turns to look at Bluepoint.
You vouch for this psychic business?
From the couch, Bluepoint sneers:
That's right, smart guy.
Caspar cheerfully continues, oblivious to any hostility in
I know you knew protecting the Motzah was a dumb
idea. I know you been wise to all of Leo's dumb
ideas lately. Only a matter of time. Bust-o.
. . . That's why last night we didn't put the arm
on you. Only Leo.
Seeing how you squiffed your play on Leo, I can
be only so grateful.
That's brave, coming from Little Miss Punching
C'mon Bluepoint. Friends now, huh?
Caspar smiles at Tom.
So we get a little jingle. And I figure you know
Leo's on his way out. It's only a matter of time
before we get him. Am I right, kid?
What maybe. You know or you wouldn't be bust-o.
So I guess you're looking for a job?
I might be.
You got references? You been to college, kid?
We only take yeggs what's been to college. Ain't
that right, Bluepoint?
Bluepoint says nothing. His scowl is set in cement.
. . . I'm jokin', of course. We all know you can
be useful to us, a smart kid such as yaself, the
man who walks behind the man and whispers in his
ear. I guess you could be useful, in spades.
Yeah. I can do plenty for you. But the fact is
that right now Leo's still got all his vital
signs and once he hears about this he'll be more
anxious to get to me than to either of you.
I'm tellin' ya not to worry about Leo. We got
plans for him.
Not so fast there, Kaputnik.
There is a beat through which Caspar continues to smile at
. . . I think what the Bluepoint is trying to say
is, there'll be time to talk about that. That
can be tabled for a later date. See, the last
time we jawed you gave-me the high hat. So I
guess I'm sayin', maybe we want your confidence
before we give you ours. You gotta put somethin'
on the table. Ante up.
Fair enough. Where shall we start.
Hear that, Bluepoint? All business! I told you
he was a good kid! Where shall we start! All
business!. . .
He rocks back in his chair and dries his eyes. Tom smiles
pleasantly. Finally Caspar sighs.
. . . Well, we could start for instance with the
Motzah. . . Like where's the Motzah? You could
maybe tell us that. . .
The Royale. Room three-oh-two. You might find
Mink with him.
The hell you say.
Sure, Bernie and Mink are as cozy as lice.
He turns to look at Bluepoint.
. . . And it ain't just business.
Caspar looks at Bluepoint. Bluepoint's eyes bare into Tom.
This guy's lying.
Why would I?
This guy's wrong. This guy's all wrong. Mink is
clean and this clown is a smart guy.
Caspar is still staring at Bluepoint, no longer smiling.
Easy enough to find out, ain't it? You find
Mink, bring him back here.
He nods at Tom.
. . . You go down to the car. I'll send Frankie
and Tic-Tac with you to the Royale. If Bernie's
there, Frankie and Tic-Tac'll take care of him.
And if he's not there?
I'll sit facing the corner in a funny hat.
38. CUT TO:
Tom sits behind the wheel of the parked car; we are an his
Tom's face is rigidly set; we don't know why as we watch
him for a short beat.
BAM--with a loud impact Bernie Bernheim's face is slammed
against the driver's window. Tom still faces forward.
Bernie is wailing as he is muscled back away from the
window by two topcoated torsos--their faces above the car
They muscle Bernie out of frame towards the rear of the car
and we hear the back door being opened.
Bernie's voice, off, is near hysteria:
Frankie, let me go, I'm prayin' to ya, Jesus God-
As Frankie and Tic-Tac pile Bernie into the back, we
continue to hold on Tom's face. He still does not react.
. . . Are you part of this?! You can't be part
of this! I think these guys're gonna whack me!
You gotta talk to 'em, Tommy!
You gimme a headache, you little sheeny.
Okay, we're going to Miller's Crossing.
Tom still doesn't react. There is a beat of Bernie's crying.
. . . Lets go!
As Tom reaches forward and starts the car:
You're not part of this! Tom! Help me! These
guys are gonna whack me!
Whack you inna mouth you don't shut up.
39. MILLER'S CROSSING WIDE
Day. A wooded area outside of town. The wind blows.
The car pulls into frame and stops on the shoulder. The
backseat passengers--Frankie, Tic-Tac and Bernie--emerge;
Tom remains in the driver's seat.
Bernie is weeping, loudly; he has lost control. Frankie
takes out a gun and whacks him smartly on the side of his
head. The blow sends him stumbling over towards Tic-Tac,
who kicks him down.
The blows haven't quelled Bernie's sobbing.
I don't want you runnin' anywhere.
Frankie takes a swig from his flask and hands it to Tic-
Tac, who leans in the car window.
Tom gazes forward, jaw set, eyes off the doings outside.
As Tic-Tac hands his gun in through the window:
Okay. Take him in the woods and whack him.
Huh? I don't. . .
Yeah, that's right, the boss wants you to do it.
Make sure you're with the good guys.
Tom stares dumbly at the gun. Tic-Tac holds it, grip
towards Tom, motionless.
After a beat he takes the gun.
You know how to do this, right? You gotta
remember to put one in his brain. Your first
shot puts him down, then you put one in his
brain. Then he's dead, then we go home.
Tom opens his door.
Bernie is still on the ground, sobbing, not responding to
Frankie who prods him with his foot.
I can't get up! I can't get up!
Frankie drags him to his feet.
Get up and walk, you chiselin' little yid.
He pushes him towards the woods and reaches for the whiskey
Bernie stumbles off; Tom follows him.
Through the woods, pulling the two men, Bernie in the
foreground. Tree limbs groan in the wind.
Bernie is stumbling, his clothes rumpled and dirty, his
face stained by tears and blood from the gun blow. His
shaking voice strains for a tone of reasonableness:
. . . Tommy, you can't do this. You don't bump
guys. You're not like those animals back there.
Tom marches on, face drawn, silent.
. . . It's not right, Tom. They can't make us do
this. It's a wrong situation. They can't make
us different people than we are. We're not
muscle, Tom. I never killed anybody. I used a
little information for a chisel, that's all. I
couldn't help it, Tom, it's my nature. Somebody
hands me an angle, I play it. I don't deserve to
die for that! D'you think I do? I'm just a
grifter! Huh, Tom?
Still no response from Tom. Bernie is fighting a losing
battle to keep himself from whining.
. . . But I'll tell you what, I never crossed a
friend. Huh, Tom? Never killed anybody, never
crossed a friend. Nor you, I'll bet. We're not
like those animals. You can't do this! You're
not like those animals. This is not us! This is
some hop dream!
Tom's face is a ---ny mask. Bernie is losing control
again. He starts to weep.
. . . It's a dream! Tommy! I'm praying to you!
I can't die! I can't die! Out here in the
woods! Like a dumb animal! I can't die!
He turns and sinks to his knees, wailing, his hands clasped
in front of him, staring up at Tom.
. . . You can't kill me. I'm praying to you!
look in your heart! I'm praying to you! Look in
Tom stares down at Bernie, his face drawn and pale.
. . . I'm praying to you! Look in your heart!
Slowly Tom raises the gun and levels it at Bernie's head.
. . . Look in your heart! Look in your--
BOOM! The gun blast is deafening. With it, Bernie's
sobbing abruptly stops.
The shot echoes away in the woods, taking the wind with it,
Still kneeling, in shock, staring wide-eyed at Tom.
. . . Tommy.
Shutup. You're dead, get me?
I understand. I'm dead. God bless you--
Shutup. You have to disappear. You have to
blow, for good. Nobody can see you, nobody can
God bless you--
Go somewhere no one knows you. Anyone sees you,
you really are dead, I don't care, you're not my
problem any more.
Of course not. Of course not. You've done your
share. Thank you. Don't worry, I understand.
Shutup. Just get the hell out, before I change
Bernie is already on his feet, and running.
CLOSE ON TOM
Watching Bernie go.
Pulling Bernie as he runs. Foreground trees flash by. In
the background we see Tom standing, his gun dangling at his
Boom!--another gun blast. Running, Bernie reacts, but Tom
has only fired into the ground.
On the echo of the shot we cut to:
41. WIDE THE ROAD
Tic-Tac and Frankie are leaning against the car, trading
the flask back and forth.
In the background, Tom emerges from the woods.
Put one in his brain?
Tom takes a few steps more before answering:
. . . Yeah.
Over black we hear the sound of coins being dropped into a
42. FADE IN
Looking down a deserted street towards a glowing phone
booth on a dark corner. Tom stands inside the booth
waiting, the receiver to his ear.
Mink? Tom Duchaisne. Where've you been?. . .
CLOSE ON TOM
Inside the phone booth.
. . . Well you're lucky, Bluepoint's been looking
for you. Bernie's dead--Stop wailing and listen
to me. Caspar knows you were in on selling out
his fix. . . I guess I gave him that idea. Sorry
Mink, we were chatting and it just slipped out.--
Shutup and let me talk. You've gotta make
yourself missing, but let me know where you hole
up. You're gonna say some things for me. . .
Some stories. About Bluepoint, to Caspar--don't
worry, I'll let you know. For now just dis-
appear. . . Yeah, I got you into it. Just
remember, Mink, I'm the only one who can get you
Tom hangs up the phone, turns around and opens up the glass
WHOMMMP! A fist slams into his stomach, driving him back
into the phone booth, knocking his hat off of his head.
The man who hit him leans down, picks up the hat, dusts it
off and hands it into the booth. It is Dead Terry, the
tall cadaverous man we saw earlier outside of Leo's office.
A cigarette dangles from his lower lip.
Behind him a black sedan is parked at the curb. Three or
four gunmen stand on the sidewalk looking warily up and
down the road.
Tom looks up, the color drained from his face, and reaches
feebly out for his hat.
'Lo, Terry. Getting out the vote?
Dead Terry flicks his cigarette away and smiles.
Message from Leo. Leo says, if you're smart
you'll sit this one out--not that he cares one
way or the other. Leo says if you're on the
wrong side you take your chances, like anyone
else. Leo says he gives no special favors.
Mm. . .
Terry starts to turn away.
. . . Tell Leo he's not God on the throne, he's
just a cheap mick political boss with no brains
and an office that looks like a French whore-
Tom moves to exit the booth but Terry lays a hand on his
One more thing. . .
He cracks Tom across the chin with a clean left hook,
knocking him back into the booth again.
Tom rubs his chin, looking up at Terry.
Leo say that too. . . ?
As Terry and the gunmen get into the car:
No, I said that. Cross Leo and next time I'll
We FADE OUT as the door slams and the car roars off.
Over black we hear:
When you're right you're right, but you never say
I told you so.
43. FADE IN
On Tom, sitting into frame in Caspar's office.
So what'm I right about?
Behind his desk, Caspar is smiling.
Well, I'll tell ya, but first you gotta promise
not to say I told you so.
Tom's eyes hold an Caspar's. He is taking out a pack of
I never say that. And I don't like people who
Mink was robbin' me right along with the Mptzah.
. . . What convinced you of that?
Mink Larouie took a powder. We can't find him.
Bluepoint's makin' excuses for him, but personal-
ly, I think you were right. I think Mink and
Bernie was in it together. I think Mink heard
you'd bumped the Motzah, and lit out. The lousy
His eyes on Caspar, Tom takes out a cigarette, lights it,
takes a deep drag.
. . . I told you so.
Okay. You got a lip on ya. Ats all right. I
don't generally care for it, but that's all
right. . . You were a good sport to bump the
Motzah. I just like to make sure my friends is
my friends. So.
He throws his hands up.
. . . Friends, right?
How d'you know Mink skipped?
Bluepoint can't find him.
So he says.
Caspar stares at Tom.
Meanin' what, exactly?
Maybe nothing. . . I didn't give it much thought
until now, since a guy will say pretty much
anything when he knows his number is up, but just
before I bumped Bernie he swore to me that
Bluepoint and Mink were setting him up. That
they were the ones that were selling out your
Caspar looks at Tom.
'Zat so. . .
He thinks for a beat.
. . . Like you say, a guy'll say anything.
. . . Uh-huh. So why isn't Bluepoint here?
Well. . .
. . . He don't care for you, kid. Maybe it's
only fair to tell you. . . After you left us, he
tried to sell me on a double-cross. He says to
me, why don't we double-cross you and give you
the bump once we get the Motzah. But I figure a
deals a deal, you're square with me, you bump the
Motzah, I'll hold up my end. Question of ethics.
Everything above board, that's how I like it, so
everybody knows who's a friend and who's an
enemy. . . But Bluepoint wouldn't cross me. We
Uh-huh. . . Course, there's always that wild card
when love is involved. . .
Caspar is staring intently at Tom. After a beat:
. . . I know Mink is Bluepoint's boy, but I still
don't make it that way.
Mm. Well, then there's nothing to worry about.
Caspar seems lost in thought:
Yeah. . .
We hear the door to the office open offscreen and Johnny
Jr. runs into frame clutching a scrolled piece of paper.
Poppa! Poppa! I got a prize from the--
Caspar holds his hand up to quiet the youngster, still
looking at Tom.
Just a minute.
As Tom rises to his feet:
. . . Course, there's no reason not to be
Poppa! Poppa! The sisters gave me a--unnnh!
Cascar has cuffed him sharply on the side of the head.
He points at Tom.
Shaddap! You take a page outta this guy's book.
A little less you talk and a little more you
Cascar looks at Tom and smiles.
. . . Kids. Ya gotta be firm. Anyways. You
know what I'm sayin'. No reason to worry but no
reason not to investigate, neither. If Mink is
around I want you to find him. He can tell us
what's what. . .
(to Johnny Jr.:)
. . . What's a matter, somebody hit you, what's a
matter, we ain't friends anymore?. . .
He picks up Johnny Jr., who is crying softly, and sets him
in his lap. Encouraged by the attention, the child starts
wailing. Caspar bounces him on his knee and raises his
voice over the sobs:
. . . If you find him, I wanna talk to him alone.
That's how you get the straight dope. Man-to-
man. Just me, Mink. . .
He pats his jacket where his shoulder holster is.
. . . and my friend roscoe. Y'understand what
Tom takes a contemplative drag on his cigarette.
. . . It ain't complicated.
44. CUT TO:
CLOSE SHOT A MAN'S FACE
Crunch!--being hit by a gloved hand.
The blow and the man's grunt echo.
CLOSE ON A NEWSPAPER
As the noise of fists against flesh continues, echoing, in
The newspaper headline reads: PARTY BOSS LOOSES MUNICIPAL
CONTRACT. The subhead reads: Liam (Leo) O'Bannon Removed
From City Highway Commission; New Construction Contracts
To Raffo Bros.
Leaning against a pillar in a large bare room with a
hardwood floor. He is reading the newspaper.
We are in a gym. In a ring in the background two boxers
are sparring as two or three old men with towels slung over
their shoulders and elbows hooked over the ropes idly
watch, and offer occasional bits of half-hearted advice.
We hear high heels echoing across the floor and Verna
You should leave town for a few days; things are
going to heat up here. Go out to the Pallisades;
I'll join you once I'm done.
. . . I can't find Bernie. Did you find him?
Tom looks out at the fighters in the background, avoiding
. . . Yeah.
Is he leaving?
. . . He didn't say. You should--
She reaches out to touch his hand--
She leans in to embrace him.
Tom's eyes drift up to the fighters.
45. EXT THE GYM
Peeling paint on its blackened-out window reads: Gleason's
Gym. Training in The Sweet Science.
Verna is exiting the gym in long shot.
We pull back to bring Bluepoint into frame. He sits in the
driver's seat of a car, watching through his side window as
Verna recedes. Quietly:
What's he up to?
An offscreen voice, a passenger:
That's Bernie's sister, isn't it?
Bluepoint thinks, a short beat.
What's he seeing her for?
I dunno, maybe he's--
Shutup. Get outta the car. Stick with the
Bluepoint reaches for the ignition, as we hear the car door
. . . I'll see where the twist flops.
46. CUT TO:
A hand swings through frame holding the barrel of a gun,
smashing the butt into a surprised face.
With a loud crash the surprised man stumbles back into a
table and hits the floor. Legs and the skirts of an
overcoat approach the prostrate, round, middle-aged man and
start kicking him.
He rolls across the floor trying to shield himself from the
C'mon, get up. I just wanna talk.
Another Voice (off)
Yeah, get up. He ain't gonna hurt ya.
He already hurt me! He broke my goddamn nose!
Whisper, the man standing over him, has a long scar across
his neck. He has a rasping voice:
So what? I had my nose broke once.
I already paid Leo's men.
Bert, another enforcer, is down at the end of the bar with
You still pay Leo for protection? Is he protec-
As he kicks at the little round man:
We's protectin' you. Johnny Caspar's runnin'
things or maybe you ain't heard.
In the background Whisper continues to hector and kick at
the round man as Bert and Tom talk in the foreground.
So Bluepoint hasn't got a line on Leo yet?
Not that I know about. He's been lookin', but I
guess Leo's been movin' around and--hoist this
over the bar, will ya?--and thingslve been kinda
He is handing Tom a briefcase. As Tom leans over the bar
to drop it behind:
Do me a favor--let me know if he finds anything.
Bert is pouring himself a drink.
Whisper, gun drawn, calls from the back of the bar:
I'm gonna put this one to sleep, wuddya think
Bert shrugs into his overcoat.
If you kill him he won't be able to think things
He don't seem like such a hot thinker.
You'll think about what you've learned here,
won't you Louie?
You bet, Tom, I'll think plenty!
Ah, what the hell. . .
The round man scrambles to his feet and runs out the back
door. Whisper puts away his gun and saunters over to Tom
As the three men head for the front door:
. . . If we can't trust a dago, the whole thing's
47. EXT SPEAKEASY
As the three men emerge into the afternoon sun.
So, are we winning?
Bert gives a so-so flutter of his hand.
It's tough. Leo's still got some teeth left.
His men bushwhacked Tony Campisi last night, slit
Yeah? He die?
I said, they slit his throat.
So what, genius? I had my t'roat slit once.
Sure Whisper, but normal people's brains need
BOOM!--Behind the three men the front of the speakeasy
blows--glass flying, flame licking out.
Though there is commotion among the passers-by, Tom, Bert
and Whisper don't even turn around to look.
Get the car, will ya Whisper?
As Whisper trots out into the street:
Don't tell Bluepoint I was asking about him.
Caspar just wanted me to check up, make sure he's
doing everything he can--
There is a faint but distinct popping sound.
Tom looks into the street.
Whisper is staggering around, as if drunk. He turns to
face Tom and Bert.
He lurches toward them. A red stain is blossoming on his
The ambient hubbub fades to total silence; we hear only the
crisp staggering scuffle of Whisper's shoes as he stumbles
into the foreground, looking stunned.
A woman screams.
Noise wells up.
Bert is unhoistering his gun, looking up.
Tom looks where Bert is looking.
A man with a distinctive shock of white hair--Dead Terry
McGill. He puts up his gun and starts running along the
Starts running along the street to keep pace, firing up at
the facing roof.
A POLICE CAR
Siren wailing, up on two wheels, taking a speeding turn
onto the street.
It is speeding towards Bert.
Running, he is pointing, and bellowing at the car:
Leo's man! Up there!
Cops with guns hang out every window. They start firing.
TRACKING TOWARDS BERT
. . . Up there! Leo's--
A hail of bullets cuts him to pieces. A limp rag, he hits
The police car squeals to a halt in front of his corpse. A
sergeant and his men pile out.
Tom is sauntering over, smoking a cigarette.
'Lo, Tom. Chalk one up for the good guys, huh?
Yeah, Caspar'll be thrilled. You just shot one
of his apes.
Tom's attention is drawn by something down the street.
About a block away, a man with white hair is crossing the
street, from the side where the sniper's shot came from.
I'm tellin' you that's Two-Toe Jackson! He's
BACK TO TOM
As he starts to leave.
It's Bert Sachetti, Caspar's bang-man.
Behind him the Sergeant bellows at another cop:
Bullshit! Take his shoes off. Count his goddamn
48. INT DINER
Dead Terry McGill sits at a stool looking angrily down at a
cup of coffee. Tom enters to sit next to him.
Through the windows behind them, we can see people running
back and forth on the street, a fire engine racing past--
furious activity, its noise muted inside the diner.
'Lo, Terry. You weren't aiming at me, were you?
Terry does not even look over at him. Sullenly:
In the first place, I don't know what you're
talking about. In the second place, if I had
been aiming at you I'd've hit you. In the third
place, I don't know what you're talking about in
the first place.
He tosses some coins onto the counter and gets up. We hold
on Tom as Terry talks to Tom's back:
. . . I'd like to have, believe me. Leo won't
let me--yet. But I'll bring him around.
He puts a hand on Tom's stoulder and swivels him around.
Terry clenches a fist and draws it back to throw a punch.
Tom and Terry look at each other, Tom making no movement to
After a long beat, Terry uncldnches his fist and sneers:
. . . I won't give you the satisfaction.
49. CUT TO:
As--CRASH--a foot enters to kick it and the door in.
INT VERNA'S APARTMENT
Verna is backing away from the door--behind us--into the
apartment. Bluepoint strides into frame.
Know who I am?
Verna continues to back away; Bluepoint continues to
Yeah, Johnny Caspar's shadow. Did he stay in bed
Jesus. I open my mouth, the whole world turns
smart. . .
He glances around the room. Verna is backing around the
couch. Bluepoint continues to follow her.
. . . What business d'you have with Tom Duchaisne?
She continues to back away; Bluepoint continues to follow.
You're Leo's twist, right?
Me and Leo are through.
She picks up her purse from the sill behind the couch and
rummages. Bluepoint doesn't seem to mind.
Yeah? So you're sluttin' around with Tom now,
Verna has taken a gun from her purse; she levels it at
Get outta here.
As he continues to stride towards her:
Okay, see ya later. . .
His hand shoots out in a flash--he has grabbed the gun with
one hand, her arm with the other.
. . . Before I go, what's your boyfriend up to?
Verna is stuggling in his grasp to no effect.
Nothing I know about.
Bluepoint drags her close, nose to nose:
Yeah? It doesn't figure for me, your dumping
Leo for the guy who put a bullet in your brother.
Verna stops resisting and stares at him.
Bluepoint stares back at her, thinking.
. . . Didn't tell you, huh?
We hear a footstep offscreen.
Facing the door, from behind Bluepoint and Verna.
Bluepoint wheels, swinging her body in front of his as two
topcoated men enter, guns drawn.
Both intruders hold fire, their shot blocked by Verna. The
gun in Bluepoint's hand barks once.
The lead man pitches forward, his gun clattering away.
His partner is ducking back out the door.
Verna still struggles futilely; Bluepoint keeps his gun,
peeking out from behind Verna, trained on the empty
The man an the floor, still alive, has started clawing
himself towards his gun, a few paces away.
Bluepoint ignores him. He stares at the open door.
After a silent beat, from the hall:
Man In Hall
. . . Let her go, Bluepoint, there's nothing you
can do. Leave by the fire escape. There's more
of us on the way--
Wood splinters in the door, which shudders back a few more
inches towards the wall. The voice from the hall has
After a short silent beat, we hear a gun clattering to the
floor outside in the hall.
We hear fabric drag across wall, and then see the dead man
drop to the floor just outside the door.
Bluepoint tosses Verna away and saunters unhurriedly over
to the first man, who has almost reached his gun.
Just as the man's hand closes over it Bluepoint, in stride,
steps onto the hand and gun. Most of his weight is on it.
Head cocked, he looks down at the man in front of him.
. . . You Leo's?
Yeah. He wanted her looked out for.
Well you did a bang-up job; I'll be sure to tell
him. Where is Leo?
. . . If I tell you, how do know you won't kill
Because if you told me, and I killed you, and you
were lying, then I wouldn't get to kill you then.
The man is sweating.
. . . He's--he's moving around. But tomorrow
night he's getting his mob together at Whiskey
Bluepoint points his gun at the man's head.
Check it. It's gold.
You know something, yegg? I believe you.
Bluepoint straightens up from the body and turns.
LOW AND WIDE ON BLUEPOINT
One corpse an the floor beside him, the other corpse in the
doorway behind him.
He absently wraps one hand around the warm barrel of the
gun, then brings the hand up to blow against its open palm.
Go ahead and run, sweetie . . .
HIS POV THE WINDOW
The main zoom is now empty. Sheers billow at the window,
now open, that let's out on the fire escape. Off:
. . . I'll track down all a you whores.
50. DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:
Sheers billow in the breeze.
Sitting up in bed, smoking a cigarette, thinking. The
bedroom is dark.
There is a knock at the apartment's front door. Tom
reacts, but does not immediately rise.
The knock is repeated.
Tom finally throws the covers off and swings his feet
around to the floor.
But the knocking stops and another sound brings him up
short: The person at the door is now playing with the
Tom sits motionless, listening.
After some rattling we hear the lock spring, then the door
swinging open, then shut again. We hear footsteps cross
the main room, and then the squeak of chair springs.
Tom rises and walks to the living room doorway. He leans
against the jamb.
51. HIS POV
The windows throw moonlit squares onto the floor. We can
see only the legs of someone sitting in the armchair.
'Lo, Bernie. Come on in, make yourself at home.
Bernie turns on the lamn on the table at his elbow. He
holds a gun casually in his lap.
'Lo, Tom. Thought I'd do that, since you didn't
seem to be in. Figured it was a bad idea to wait
in the hall, seeing as I'm supposed to be dead.
How'd you know it was me?
You're the only person I know'd knock and break
Your other friends wouldn't break in, huh?
Tom shakes his head.
My other friends wanna kill me, so they wouldn't
He crosses to the chair facing Bernie's.
. . . What's on your mind, Bernie?
Things. . . I guess you must be kind of angry.
I'm supposed to be gone, far away. I guess it
seems sort of irresponsible, my being here. . .
Bernie leaves room for a response but Tom is only listen-
. . . And I was gonna leave. Honest I was. But
then I started thinking. If I stuck around, that
would not be good for you. And then I started
thinking that. . . that might not be bad for me.
Tom still doesn't answer.
. . . I guess you didn't see the play you gave
me. I mean what'm I gonna do? If I leave, I got
nothing--no money, no friends, nothing. If I
stay, I got you. Anyone finds out I'm alive--
you're dead, so. . . I got you, Tommy.
Tom is silent.
. . . What's the matter, you got nothin' to crack
wise about? Bernie ain't so funny anymore?
Bernie's lip is quivering. His voice is softer:
. . . I guess I made kinda a fool a myself out
there. . . I was shittin' myself, Tommy. . .
you didn't tell anyone about that.
'Course you know about it. . . its . . . It's a
painful memory. And I can't help remembering
that you put the finger on me, and you took me
out there to whack me. . . I know you didn't. .
. I know you didn't shoot me. . . but. . . but--
But what have I done for you lately?
Don't smart me.
He stares hard at Tom for a moment.
. . . See, I wanna watch you squirm. I wanna see
you sweat a little. And when you smart me, it
Bernie gets to his feet, keeping the gun trained on Tom.
. . . There's one other thing I want. I wanna
see Johnny Caspar cold and stiff. That's what
you'll do for your friend Bernie. . .
He has opened the door to the flat.
. . . In the meantime I'll stay outa sight. But
if Caspar ain't stiff in a couple of days I start
eating in restaurants.
The door shuts behind him.
Tom, heretofore very still, springs from the chair, goes to
the bedroom and reemerges with a gun.
He bolts for the door, instinctively grabbing his hat off a
hook. He is wearing only his boxer shorts, a sleeveless
tee-shirt, and the hat jammed onto his head.
He throws open the door.
Tom runs to the bannister and looks down.
A flight down, a hand slides down along the railing.
Bernie's trotting footsteps echo in the stairwell.
He runs back to his apartment.
Tom runs across to the open window and clambers out.
54. FIRE ESCAPE
Tom trots down. His bare feet ring dully against the steel
of the fire escape.
He reaches the bottom landing, swings over the railing,
hangs by his hands for one brief moment and then drops.
As his bare feet hit the pavement. Tom is a silhouette in
the lamplight from the end of the alley.
He straightens from his crouch and runs.
Of his apartment building--over Tom's shoulder as he enters
frame. The empty, brightly lit hall inside runs straight
the length of the building to the front door, which is just
Tom throws open the back door.
As Tom runs through toward the front.
Before reaching the door, he falls violently forward.
His gun skates away from him across the floor.
He starts to roll over to look behind him and a crunching
blow catches him on the chin, snapping his head the rest of
the way around and sending him flat onto his back.
Bernie, who has emerged from under the staircase, towers
You make me laugh, Tommy. You're gonna catch
cold, then you're no good to me. . .
He is walking over to Tom's gun, which he picks up and
unloads into his hand.
. . . What were you gonna do if you caught me,
I'd just squirt a few and then you'd let me go
He tosses Tom the empty gun and walks out.
Tom, white-faced and shivering, pulls himself up to sit
leaning against the wall.
A first-floor apartment door opens and a sixty-year-old
woman emerges, pulling a housecoat tight. She goggles at
Why Mr. Duchaisne! What on earth. . .
Tom tries a smile that looks idiotic.
They took everything. . .
LONG SHOT THE HALL
Clucking sympathetically, the old woman is leaning down to
help Tom up. As he drapes an arm over her shoulder:
. . . I fought like hell but there were too many
of 'em . . .
56. CUT TO:
CLOSE SHOT PLAQUE
Set into an exterior wall, identifying the SHENANDOAH CLUB.
57. INT CLUB
Tom, in his overcoat and hat, is walking up to the bar.
'Lo, Tony. How's the club holding up?
Behind the bar, Tony looks sour.
We're managing to squeak by without you. Got
Well, you're not supposed to be here since you
Relax, Tony, Leo's not around, is he?
Maybe Leo's not the only one doesn't care for you
Tom works to keep his smile.
. . . Fickle, huh Tony? You could almost be a
Pal, you read my mind, you sneak my thoughts.
Jesus, I hope you know what you're doing.
No more than usual. The last couple days, you
booked any heavy bets on a long shot at Satur-
Why the hell should I tell you?
The truth is Tony, there's no reason on earth.
Staring at Tom, Tony blows air through his teeth. He sets
up a drink for Tom.
. . . Saturday's fights. Yeah. Drop Johnson
parked two yards on one yesterday. On Sailor
Reese, an undercard bum.
Tom downs the drink in a gulp.
Drop Johnson? He play your book much?
You kidding? I didn't even know he could count.
From offscreen there is a loud CRASH and, with that, many
of the club patrons start screaming. Tony looks off and
Tom swivels to look.
Oh Jesus. . . You bring them with you?
As he shoves off from the bar:
Uniformed policemen are pouring into the club, wielding
axes. They destroy everything in their path, sweeping the
elegantly dressed patrons before them.
Tom wades into the sea of blue and nods at Delahanty, the
policeman we know from the raid on Caspar's.
'Lo, Brian. Still fighting the good fight?
'Lo, Tom. Neither wind nor rain nor snow. . .
That's just the mailmen. Is O'Gar here?
Just look for the long face.
58. EXT THE CLUB
It is just cracking dawn.
O'Gar is leaning against a car, facing the club, taking in
the scene as he glumly chews on a toothpick. The street is
clogged with police vehicles.
'Lo, O'Gar. You don't look happy.
Look at this mess. Gutting the golden calf
He shakes his head.
. . . I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Yeah, it's awful confusing. You know a yegg
named Drop Johnson?
We've spanked him a couple times.
Where does he flop?
The Terminal Hotel on Bay Street, whenever he's
broke--which is one hundred percent of always.
Jesus . . .
He reacts to gunfire from the second story of the club.
. . . Don't nobody ask me, since I'm only the
chief around here, but I'll tell you my opinion:
Caspar's just as crazy as Leo. And an eye-tie
into the bargain.
As he heads off:
What's the matter, O'Gar, doesn't anything ever
59. PULLING TOM
As he walks along a nearby street; we can still faintly
hear the sirens and police activity back at the club.
A black touring car is tooling up alongside of him. Tic-
Tac leans out the driver's window. He has welts around his
mouth and looks like he has been a little roughed up.
Hop in, Tom, we been lookin' for you.
Still briskly walking:
Hop in anyway, as in you ain't got no choice.
You can't hijack me, Tic-Tac, we're on the same
side now--or didn't you get that far in school?
The car screeches over to put a wheel on the sidewalk and
block Tom's way. The back door swings open and Frankie
emerges to help Tom in. Like Tic-Tac, Frankie looks a
little worked over.
Tom quickly sizes up the situation and decides to comply.
60. INT CAR
As Tom sits into the back, next to Bluepoint. Frankie
slides in after him.
How'd you get the fat lip?
The car starts moving.
Old war wound. Acts up around morons.
Very smart. What were you doing at the club?
Talking things over with Leo?
Don't think so hard, Bluepoint, you might sprain
You're so goddamn smart. Except you ain't. I
get you, smart guy, I know what you are.
Straight as a corkscrew. Mr. Inside-Outsky.
Like a goddamn bolshevik, picking up your orders
from Yegg Central. You think you're so goddamn
You joined up with Caspar. You bumped Bernie
Bernheim. Down is up. Black is white. Well I
think you're half-smart. I think you were
straight with your frail and queer with Johnny
Caspar. And I think you'd sooner join the
Ladies' League then gun a guy down.
His eyes narrow at Tom.
. . . Then I hear that these two geniuses never
even saw this rub-out take place.
The boss just said have him do it, he didn't say
Shutup, or maybe you still got too many teeth.
Tic-Tac sulks. Bluepoint turns and gazes out the window of
. . . Everyone's so goddamn smart. Well, we'll
go to Miller's Crossing. And we'll see who's
61. EXT WOODS
It is morning; the sun is now fully up. Bluepoint and Tom
walk side-by-side through the woods. Frankie and Tic-Tac
walk several steps ahead of them, each off to one side,
searching. Frankie is singing an old Neapolitan song.
Y'understand if we don't find a stiff out here,
we leave a fresh one.
Tom walks a little unsteadily. His shoulders are hunched
and his hands are jammed into his overcoat packets. He
stares woodenly forward. Bluepoint laughs softly.
. . . Where're your friends when you need 'em,
huh? Where's Leo now?
Tom tramps mechanically on. His eyes drift up.
Tracking. A canopy of leaves, sprinkled by sunlight.
The boughs of the trees sough quietly in the wind.
We hear the unearthly groaning of the tree limbs.
Bluepoint calls out:
Hey Tic-Tac, ever notice how the snappy dialogue
dries up once a guy starts soiling his union
Tom tramps on.
The backs of Frankie and Tic-Tac as they walk on ahead.
Frankie is still singing.
He looks stupidly at Bluepoint. He looks ahead.
He stops abruptly.
Tom is still for a moment, then with jerky movements gets
down on his knees, hugs a tree with one arm for support,
Bluepoint watches him, then calls out to Frankie and Tic-
. . . Okay, there's nothing out here.
He grabs Tom's hat off his head and flings it away. Then
he plants a foot against Tom's side and shoves him to the
CLOSE ON TOM
As his face hits the ground.
Bluepoint's foot enters; he plants it an the side of Tom's
neck to keep him pinned.
Skewed angle, from the ground.
Frankie is ambling back, singing.
Checking the open chamber of his gun. He snaps it shut.
As he levels the gun at Tom:
Think about this, smart guy.
Closing his eyes.
Uh-oh, hankie time!
He stops singing and turns to look.
The foot comes off his neck.
Looking towards Tic-Tac.
Taking a handkerchief out of his breast pocket and bringing
it to his face as he looks at something on the ground in
front of him.
He hauls Tom to his feet and pushes him towards Tic-Tac.
We track behind the two men as they approach Tic-Tac and
Frankie enters from the side.
We cannot yet see what is on the ground in front of him.
Birds been at him.
Frankie is taking out his hankie as he draws near.
Jesus Christ. . .
He looks up at Tom as Tom approaches.
Over Tom and Bluepoint's shoulders, stretching away from
us, face-up, is a body. We cannot see much of its face;
what we do see is pulp.
Tic-Tac is laughing, incredulously.
. . . I said put one in his brain, not in his
stinking face. . .
EXTREME LONG SHOT
Four very small men in overcoats and fedoras, looking down
at the ground; they are dwarfed by the surrounding trees.
Very faintly we can hear:
I told you, Bluepoint, we heard two shots. . .
QUICK FADE OUT
62. CUT TO:
APARTMENT BUILDING DOOR BUZZER
A beat-up panel in the building's entryway, listing
tenants' names and apartments opposite a row of buttons.
A hand coasts along the names and stops at CLARENCE
JOHNSON/4C, then moves away and presses two other buzzers
on the fifth floor.
After a beat, we hear the front door buzz open.
63. FOURTH-FLOOR HALLWAY
Tom walks up to 4C, unpocketing a gun. He gently tries the
knob, which turns, and enters.
64. DROP'S APARTMENT
As Tom enters.
Drop Johnson is sitting at a table in the living room,
which also serves as kitchen and dining room. He is a
large man with a thick neck, a low forehead, and rather
He is looking up at Tom, a spoonful of cereal frozen
halfway to his mouth, a folded-back newspaper in his other
hand, opened to the funnies.
'Lo, Drop. How're the Katzenjammers?
'Lo, Tom. What's the rumpus?
As he talks, Tom walks casually around the apartment,
bumping open doors, sticking his head in each room.
Had any visitors?
Drop's head swivels to follow Tom around the room; aside
from that he does not move. He speaks cautiously:
Not ever, Drop?
. . . Not lately.
Then you must be happy to see me.
Drop doesn't respond.
. . . So you didn't see Bernie Bernheim, before
he was shown across?
. . . Seen him since?
Drop maintains a sullen silence.
Tom is picking up a hat from a clutter on top of a bureau.
One last question, Drop. I hear you've got a lot
of money on tomorrow's fight. Is that your bet,
or did you place it for a friend?
No, uh. . . it's my bet. I just. . . I have a
good feeling about that fight. . .
Tom's stroll through the apartment has brought him behind
where Drop sits.
A good feeling, huh. When did the feeling return
to your head?
. . . Huh?
Tom puts the hat on top of Drop's head. Drop's eyes roll
up to look at it, but otherwise he still doesn't move.
The hat, too small, sits ludicrously atop his head.
Tom starts toward the door.
You've outgrown that one. Must be all the
thinking you've been doing. . .
He pauses with his hand on the knob.
. . . Tell Bernie something's come up. He has to
get in touch. There'll be nothing stirring til I
talk to him.
He slams the door.
65. CUT TO:
A LARGE WINDOW
We are looking at the ground-floor window from the street.
Letters stencilled on the glass identify the SONS OF ERIN
A topcoated man scurries into frame, knocks out a pane with
the grip of a gun, and tosses a small pipelike device
inside. He scurries away and we pan with him across the
street to reveal a line of cars, police and civilian,
parked along the far curb. No men are visible except the
scurrying man, who takes cover behind one of the parked
A beat. From inside we hear a pair of trotting footsteps--
BOOM! The window blows out, spitting glass into the
street, along with a large dark form.
Glass showers the pavement and a charred rag-doll of a body
hits hard, face down, and skids a couple feet. Smoke wisps
A lick of flame from the bomb is already dying and heavy
grey smoke is billowing out.
Men start cautiously rising from behind the cars. A lot of
men. Some wear police uniforms; some are civilians. All
The men have straightened up. A policeman calls through a
All right. Anyone left in there, come on out,
grabbing air. You know the drill.
After a beat, the front door swings open. A man emerges,
one hand in the air, one holding a handkerchief over his
He walks into the middle of the street.
One of the civilians behind the cars fires.
The man takes the bullet in the chest and drops to the
ground, where he twitches.
The man who fired, in the foreground, grins. A ripple of
laughter runs down the line of men.
THE CLUB WINDOW
Smoke still pouring out.
With a RAT-A-TAT-TAT muzzle flashes from inside illuminate
Bullet hits chew up the cars and a few of the men; the
others drop back down behind the cars and start returning
A forbidding black hole in the exterior wall. A second
tommy has joined the first to pour lead out into the
66. CUT TO:
Tracking in an a youngish secretary in a severe dress,
sitting behind a desk.
Faintly, from a distance, we can still hear gunfire.
'Lo, Tom, where've you been hiding?
Hither and yon. The mayor in?
With Mr. Caspar.
Tom is already heading for the door.
That's who I'm looking for. Scare up some
hootch, will you honey?
Surely. I'll announce you.
As he opens the door:
Don't bother, I'm well liked.
67. INT MAYOR'S OFFICE
A grand, high-ceilinged place. Mayor Levander sits behind
his desk sputtering, his face turning purple. Caspar,
sitting across from him, is also turning purple. Sitting
to one side are two identical thirty-year-old men, appar-
ently twins, mustachiced, silent, respectful, mournful,
their hands clasped over the hats in their laps, wearing
stiff new-looking suits with old-fashioned collars.
I can't do it, Johnny! I'll look ridiculous!
Why, it simply isn't done! Assistants, maybe--
For a mayor, you don't hear so hot! I said head!
Head of the assessor's office!
But there's two of 'em!
I can count! Co-heads!
Johnny, needless to say, this office will do
anything in its power to assist you and your
cousins. We did it for Leo, of course, on
Damn right--had every potato eater from County
Cork an the public tit--
But there's a way we do things, hallowed by usage
and consecrated by time! When we put people on
the pad, when Leo was running things, we--
Caspar is furious:
Leo ain't running things! I ain't innarested in
ancient history! I'm running things now!
Johnny, no one appreciates that more than I! I
can give them jobs! I can give them good jobs!
I can even give them jobs where thev won't have
to perform any work, where their lack of English
will be no impediment! But I cant--
What is this, the high hat?!
The mayor mops his face with a handkerchief and looks
beseechingly at Tom.
Tom, can you explain it to him? I can put them
in public works but I can't--
You can do whatever the hell Caspar tells you. I
don't remember all this double-talk when Leo gave
you an order.
The mayor looks flabbergasted.
Stop whimpering and do as you're told.
You can start by gettin' outta here.
But Johnny, it's my office!
Get outta here! Take it on the heel and toe,
before I whack you one!. . .
The mayor retreats and Casmar stares at the two men sitting
to the side.
. . . You too, beat it!
The two men look at each other, then back at Caspar.
. . . Partiamo?
Yeah, go keep the mayor company. I'll take care
of ya's later.
The immigrants rise and leave the room. Caspar takes out a
handkerchief and wipes his brow.
. . . Runnin' things. It ain't all gravy.
The secretary enters the office with a bottle of whiskey, a
soda siphon and ice. She places it an the mayor's desk and
We can still hear faint gunfire and an occasional booming
explosion that rattles the windows of the office.
What's the fireworks?
Knockin' over one of Leo's clubs. Sonofabitch
just won't go belly-up. . . I'm sorry, kid. I
heard about your little ride this morning.
Tom is walking over to pour himself a drink.
Yeah, well sorry don't fix things. We could just
as easily've missed Bernie's corpse as stumbled
over it, and I'd be dead now.
I know, I know. But it don't mean Bluepoint's up
to anything. So he heard some rumor Bernie ain't
dead, those stories pop up, people seen Dillinger
in eight states last week. So he hears a story,
and he don't like you much anyway, so he decides
to check it out--
Any stories about Bernie being alive, Bluepoint's
made up himself.
Aw, you don't know that. It don't even make
sense--why would he?
Tom stares at Caspar for a beat.
. . . There could be a damn good reason. . .
Caspar squints at Tom.
. . . If you've got a fixed fight coming up. Do
. . . Maybe. Okay, yeah, sure. Tomorrow night,
the fix is in. What of it?
Bluepoint knows about it?
Yeah. . .
He gazes off.
. . . Okay, I get it.
If Bluepoint's been selling you out on these
fights, and means to again, he'll have to be able
to point the finger at someone else--
Yeah, yeah, I get it.
--but with Bernie dead there ain't a hell of a
lot of people he can point to.
Yeah. Bluepoint sells me out. Makes pretend
Bernie's still doin' it. Ats real pretty.
Bernie leaked the fix, and you take the fall for
supposedly not killing him. . . .
He leans back in the mayor's chair and gazes off, sucking
his lips in and out as he thinks. Finally:
. . . But I dunno, why would Bluepoint cross me
like that? Money, okay, everybody likes money.
But somehow it don't seem like him. And I know
Nobody knows anybody. Not that well.
Caspar shakes his head.
Money don't mean that much to him.
Then it's not just money he's after. He's got a
wart on his fanny.
. . . Huh?
A wart. On his fanny. Giving him the fidgets.
Maybe he's sick of sitting on the couch and maybe
behind your desk don't look like a bad place to
move to. Maybe he figures the money can help
move him there.
Caspar studies Tom.
. . . Kid, you got a lip on ya.
He looks off again.
. . . I don't generally care for it. But you're
honest, and that's something we can't get enough
of in this business. . . I'll admit, since last
we jawed, my stomach's been seazin' up on me.
Bluepoint saying we should double-cross you; you
double-cross once, where's it all end? An
innaresting ethical question. I'll find Blue-
point, talk to him, straighten it out--
Tom laughs bitterly.
Sure, talk to him. Have a chat. Ask him whether
he's selling you out. Don't take care of him
before he makes his next move, just sit back and
let him make it. You're swimmin' in it.
Caspars eyes flash. Tom's tone softens:
. . . Johnny, my chin's hanging out right along
Caspar goes slack.
Tom stands up.
. . . I'd worry a lot less if I thought you were
Caspar, miserable, rubs his face. From the distant street,
we hear another booming explosion.
. . . But I am, kid. . . Christ. . . running
things. . .
68. CUT TO:
The phone is ringing at the cut.
We are looking at the window sill upon which the phone
sits, with an empty chair facing.
Footsteps approach and Tom sits into frame and takes the
Through the phone:
I got your message.
'Lo, Bernie, I had a dream about you the other
We hear Bernie laugh.
. . . Yeah? A nightmare?
On the contrary; very sweet. I dreamt you were
lying out at Miller's Crossing with your face
. . . You get a kick out of that?
I was in stitches. It's Mink, isn't it?
I came back and he wasn't happy to see me. Can
you beat that, Tom? All he could taik about was
how he had to skip, and how much trouble he'd be
in if anyone found me at his place.
Yeah. And you know what a nervous boy he was. I
figured, hell, you're a friend. Maybe you could
use some insurance.
That's you to the gills, Bernie: thoughtful. You
didn't happen to keep his gun, did you?
After a moment's hesitation:
. . . Didn't Mink have a .22?
Held already ditched it. Why?
. . . After Rug?
Yeah. . . How did you know?
Down to business:
Doesn't matter. Listen, Bernie, I've been
thinking about our little deal and I've decided
you can stick it in your ear.
. . . Huh?
I figure you don't have anything on me that I
don't have on you. As a matter of fact, less,
since I've decided to leave town. So I'm calling
Wait a minute--
Shutup and let me talk. I'm pulling out of here,
tomorrow morning. The only thing for you to
decide is whether or not I leave behind a message
for Caspar that you're still around. If you want
me to keep my mouth shut, it'll cost you some
I figure a thousand bucks is reasonable. So I
want two thousand.
In a pig's eye--
This isn't a debate, it's instructions. I'm
going out for a while; I'll be back here at four
this morning. Bring me the money. If you're not
at my place, four o'clock, with the dough,
Caspar'll be looking for you tomorrow.
He hangs up.
69. CUT TO:
We are close on Tom as, in overcoat and hat, he emerges
from his apartment and looks down at the keys in his hand.
WHAP--A fist swings into frame to connect with Tom's cheek.
He falls back.
Three topcoated men loom over him.
Got any money?
Tom is massaging his face.
. . . No.
The first man nods at the other two.
The two men pick Tom off the floor and start to work him
over. He doesn't resist.
The first man watches dispassionately.
. . . Third race tonight. By the finish, Tailor
Maid had a view of the field.
He lights himself a cigarette.
. . . You oughta lay off the ponies, Tom.
The two men work in silence for a while. Tom too is
. . . Okay.
The two men back away from Tom, breathing heavily. He
slides down the wall to the floor.
. . . Lazarre said he's sorry about this. It's
just getting out of hand.
Tom speaks thickly, his head propped against the baseboard:
. . . Yeah.
He likes you, Tom. He said we didn't have to
Yeah. Okay. . . Tell him no hard feelings.
Christ, Tom, he knows that.
With a jerk of the head the first man signals the other two
and the trio turns to leave.
. . . Take care now.
70. CUT TO:
We are looking over Tom's shoulder as he waits in the rain
in front of a large oak doorway with wrought-iron fretwork.
At the cut we hear chimes dying, and the door swings open.
There is a grand foyer with a parquet floor, unsittable
furniture and a large chandelier. A liveried butler looks
inquiringly out at Tom.
Yes sir . . .
He steps back.
. . . Mr. Caspar is in the great room.
Tom is handing the butler his hat.
Swell. Can you take this?
As Tom starts to shrug out of his coat, Caspar is crossing
Kid, what's the rumpus?
Caspar seems as unhappy as last time we saw him.
I got news.
Yeah, news at this end too. My stomach's been
seazin' up on me.
Mink just told me that he--
This has woken Caspar up:
You talked to Mink?!
Yeah, on the phone. Bluepoint wants you to think
he's dissappeared, so you can't talk to him, but
he's been right here in town.
You're sure it was Mink?
See for yourself; he's coming to my place, four
o'clock this morning.
Having handed the butler his coat and hat, Tom lets Caspar
lead him towards a pair of double doors.
. . . He's afraid of a cross from Bluepoint. He
told me about the fix. Says he'll sing for a
couple grand skip money, tell us everyone
involved. . .
71. Caspar opens one of the double doors, and we continue
tracking behind the two men as they enter the trophy room.
The room has the low warm light of a men's club. Outside
the dark windows the rain sheets down.
Caspar sits in behind his desk and swivels away to poke
morosely with a fire shovel at the blaze in the fireplace.
In the foreground, back to us, Tom rests his knuckles an
the desk to lean towards Caspar.
. . . But you better take care of Bluepoint right
away. Mink says if he comes after us its going
to be tonight.
As he looks into the fire:
Leo's holed up at Whiskey Nick's dump.
Tom is momentarily taken aback.
. . . How d'you know?
A chuckle comes from behind
On Tom. In the background, Bluepoint is walking over to
the door to the room to close it.
That ain't all we know, smart guy.
He points with a nod towards the couch.
. . . Recognize your playmate?
On the couch sits Drop Johnson. Drop's face looks worked
on, and is beaded over with sweat.
Having shut the door, Bluepoint is sauntering over to Tom.
. . . Yeah. You thought I'd quit.
He shakes his head.
Huh-uh. I followed you this afternoon. And I
wondered why Einstein would want to talk to a
gorilla. . .
He is nose to nose with Tom, smiling at him.
. . . So I grabbed the gorilla. . . And I beat it
out of him.
. . . Give me a big guy, every time. They crack
easy. Not like you.
Tom holds Bluepoint's look.
Is there a point? Or are you just brushing up on
your small talk?
I like that. Cool under fire. I'm impressed.
Very quickly he delivers two slaps--forehand and backhand.
Tom's head rocks but he recovers to stare back at Blue-
. . . The gorilla didn't know whose stiff we
found, but I can fill that in. You killed Mink,
He grabs Tom by the lapels, swings him away from the desk,
and lands a punch on his chin.
Tom stumbles backs.
Caspar has turned from the fireplace, watching the doings
across the room.
Bluepoint moves towards Tom, breathing hard with antici-
. . . Come here, bum. I'm gonna send you to a
deep dark place. And I'm gonna have fun doing
Bluepoint's hand snakes out and grabs Tom by the front of
the coat, hauling him close. He slaps him savagely.
. . . It was Mink, and by God I'll hear you say
Is this how you taught Drop his story?
In one motion Bluepoint's hands wrap around Tom's throat
choking him off. As the pressure increases, Tom, purpling,
sinks to his knees.
I like the way you think. Maybe when you're dead
I'll cut your head off, put it on my mantle--
WHANG--a shovel blade swings into frame to smash Bluepoint
in the face.
From somewhere in the room, a scream.
Bluepoint is on his hands and knees, one hand pressed over
his ruined face, blood pouring from between the fingers.
Sonafabitch. . .
He stands over Bluepoint with the fireplace shovel.
. . . If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a
double-cross artist. I had a feeling 'bout this
He swings the shovel back and delivers an overhand blow to
the top of Bluepoint's head.
Bluepoint drops to the floor, instantly motionless.
The scream, however, continues.
Drop Johnson, on the couch, his eyes wide, his hands
spastically squeezing his knees, is looking down at
Bluepoint. Drop's mouth is stretched wide. He is scream-
Tom gets slowly to his feet.
Cascar looks at Drop.
. . . Shut it, you sonofabitch!
He is striding over to him with the shovel.
. . . I'll give you something to holler about!
Tom intercepts him.
Johnny. It's okay. Bluepoint made him. It's
okay. It's not important.
Caspar is panting.
Then have him shut it!
There is a beat.
Incongruously, Caspar's bellow breaks the silence:
. . . And we do the same to Mink! This very same
Another silence. The rain. The crackle of the fire.
Tom's tone is soothing:
. . . Johnny. We can't double-cross him. He
wants to spill the whole set-up--
Caspar stares at him through glazed eyes.
I've never let a sonofabitch walk!
You've never crossed anyone . . .
Caspar is staring at him. His eyes have lost some of their
. . . Four o'clock, my place. Mink's coming in
on his own hook so I promised him the money.
Don't make me out a liar--
Drop is suddenly screaming again.
Caspar looks where Drop is looking:
Bluepoint is raising his head, moaning. His face is a mask
of blood. One hand gropes in his overcoat pocket for his
Caspar shouts over Drop's howl as he pulls something from
his desk drawer:
. . . Lookit this, kid.
He strides over to Bluepoint.
. . . Something I try and teach all my boys. . .
With the gun point blank against the back of Bluepoint's
head, he fires.
. . . Always put one inna brain!
72. A CLOCK
A large wall clock. It is 3:30.
We are pulling back and down to reveal that we are inside a
diner; we are isolating on a section of counter on which
sits a half-empty cup of coffee and an ashtray half-filled
with butts. A hand puts some change on the counter and
73. EXT DINER
As Tom pushes the door open and exits. He tucks his
overcoat collar up as he walks; it is pouring rain.
Tom turns at the sound of approaching heels and recognizes
Verna with some surprise. He glances up and down the
street, but it is deserted. Verna doesn't seem to much
notice the rain.
'Lo, Verna. What's the rumpus.
Coldly, as they walk on together:
I was just in the neighborhood, feeling a little
daffy. What're you doing?
. . . Walking.
Don't let on more than you have to.
In the rain.
Tom glances at her.
. . . What're you doing out?
Bernie's dead, isn't he?
They walk on for a beat, Tom looking down at the sidewalk.
. . . What makes you think that?
That's no answer.
Tom again glances around, and escorts Verna into a dark
doorway alcove. It is very small; they have to crowd into
each other to stay out of the rain. Water drops from the
brim of Tom's fedora. He studies her for a beat.
I can't tell you anything yet.
Nobody cares, do they? His friends didn't really
He didn't like his friends.
You're a sonofabitch, Tom. You're someone to
talk. You got me to tell you where he was and
then you killed him.
She is raising a gun into frame: She presses it into his
Tom stiffens but continues to stare at her calmly.
. . . Tell me why. What was in it for you?
Nothing for me.
. . . Giving up Bernie was the only way I could
see to straighten things out for Leo.
You said you didn't care about Leo.
I said we were through. It's not the same thing.
Verna looks at him.
I don't understand. I don't care. I don't
care what reason you had or thought you had.
She raises the gun and presses its barrel into the under-
side of Tom's chin. Tom stiffens but remains calm.
. . . He's still alive.
Verna stares at him.
You expect me to believe you?
. . . No.
That's you all over, Tom. A lie and no heart.
Verna pulls back the hammer. There is a long beat.
Verna's eves widen, locked an Tom's.
Tom returns her look; his is sympathetic.
Verna starts trembling.
Tom's tone is soft, understanding. It's the first time we
have ever seen compassion from him.
. . . It isn't easy, is it Verna?
She abruptly lurches away and staggers a couple of paces
onto the sidewalk in the rain. She hugs a lamppost for
support. She is staring down at the street, still trem-
Tom walks up behind her and rests a hand an her shoulder.
. . . Are you all right?
She doesn't look around. After a moment:
. . . I don't know how you did it.
She shrugs off his hand and stumbles off down the street.
Tom watches her dissappear into the rain.
74. CUT TO:
Night, but sometime later--it has stopped raining. The
branches groan in the wind. As they sway, streetlight
glitters off the leaves, still wet with rain..
We are booming down to reveal that we are in front of Tom's
building, its windows dark. During the boom we hear the
rumble of an approaching car and the hiss of its tires on
The boom down ends as the car pulls into frame to stop at
the curb with the camera framed on the driver's window.
The driver has a small bandage on his left cheek. We hear
Caspar's voice as we hear him getting out the back:
Ya put the razor in cold water, not hot--'cause
metal does what in cold?
I dunno, Johnny.
We hear the back door slam and Caspar appears in the front
. . . 'Ats what I'm tellin' ya. It contracts.
'At way you get a first class shave.
As Caspar walks off the driver slouches back, pulls his
fedora over his eyes and folds his arms across his chest.
A back enters frame in the foreground.
'Lo, Sal. You can dangle.
The driver looks up, startled.
'Lo, Tom. You sure? You don't look so hot.
We still don't see Tom's face.
I'm okay. Go ahead, I'll drive him home.
The driver shrugs.
Wider, from the other side of the car, as the car pulls
Tom walks into the foreground, toward his house; we tilt up
to hold him.
The low-angle shows us the tree behind Tom, its branches
still creaking in the wind.
Crack crack--we hear two gunshots from inside the house.
Tom stops momentarily in close shot, looking up, and then
continues on out of frame.
75. OVER TOM'S SHOULDER
We follow him as he walks into the building and slowly down
the first-floor hall.
The hallway is quiet excent for a light moaning wind.
Beyond Tom we see the door to the first-floor apartment
crack open a slit. Hissing:
Mr. Duchaisne. . .
The door opens wider. Mrs. Zarpmas, wearing a housecoat,
her gray hair down in braids, sticks her head out.
. . . There were shots.
Tom looks up towards the staircase, then back at Mrs.
Go down to the drugstore. Call the police.
She stares at him, nods. As she drapes on a raincoat:
Yes, Mr. Duchaisne.
You better stay there til the officers arrive.
Yes . . .
. . . Will the cats be all right here?
Tom stares at her.
Finally, he nods.
. . . They'll be fine.
Mrs. Zarpas returns his dazed nod, and shuffles away.
So far, upstairs, all is quiet.
As he starts slowly towards the staircase.
TOM'S POV TRACKING FORWARD
A small black object on the staircase--an upside-down
fedora. Blood drips with a hollow rattle down onto a step,
a couple steps above the hat.
He looks up.
A head sticks through the balusters of the second story
landing return. The body is on its back; the head lolls
back over the tip of the landing down towards the stair-
Our climbing low angle shows us mostly the back of the
head. The body's far shoulder has knocked out a baluster
whose splintered bottom juts down towards the stairs.
Still climbing, looking at the body.
Climbing and panning as we draw even with the head.
It is Caspar. Blood has been expelled through his nostrils
over his mouth and chin. His face is deep red. His eyes
stare glassily at Tom.
As he reaches the top of the stairs and swings around to
face along the landing. We hear a chuckle, close by. Wind
is groaning through the hallway.
In the middle foreground Caspar lies an the floor; beyond
him, Bernie leans against the doorframe in Tom's open
doorway, smiling, his arms folded over his chest.
The balusters stretch away in a regular line, throwing
vertical shadows upwards against the opposite wall.
I get it. You set me up.
Tom leans against the wall and looks morosely down at
. . . Anything to avoid a little dirty work
Tom doesn't answer.
. . . How'd you know held get it and not me? Or
didn't you care?
Tom shrugs, still staring down at Caspar.
I figured you'd come early, and be looking for
blood. He wouldn't, so you'd likely have the
drop on him.
Bernie takes his gun out of his overcoat packet and
You're a sonofabitch, Tom. I like the way you
think. You're right, the bonehead never knew
what hit him.
He looks down at Caspar, unable to supress a smile.
. . . But if you knew I'd come looking to kill
you, how do you know I won't still?
Tom shrugs again.
Nothing in it for you, now. With him dead we got
nothing on each other. Let me have the gun.
Tom jerks his head towards Caspar.
Pin this on Bluepoint. Neither of us wants him
walking around after this.
Bernie shakes his head.
The cops'll be Leo's now. They won't care what
they hang Bluepoint for.
Tom shrugs again.
I guess that's so. If you don't mind keeping the
gun that killed Caspar. And Mink.
He stoops down over Caspar's body and starts feeling
through Caspar's pockets, looking for something.
. . . Why did Mink shoot Rug, anyway?
Bernie is walking towards him, emptying the bullets from
I dunno, it was just a mix-up. Here.
Tom looks back over his shoulder. Bernie hands him the
gun, which Tom slips into his overcoat packet.
. . . So you're gonna say Bluepoint did this?
As he goes back to the body:
Mink thought Rug was tailing him?
He finds Caspar's gun and sets it on the floor, but keeps
Yeah yeah, you know Mink. Hysterical. Skin full
of hop, head full of bogeymen. Comes home crying
one day, said he had to pop a guy, one of
Rug was following Verna, not Mink. Mink just
happened to be with her.
He has found a wallet and is thumbing through it.
Yeah. Funny, ain't it? But you know, Mink was
terrified Bluepoint'd find out me and him were
jungled up together.
Tom has taken out the money, rifles it, and replaces the
And I'll bet you'd kept him plenty worried about
that, to keep him under your thumb.
Yeah, so what . . .
Bernie is peering over Tom's shoulder at the monev.
. . . Scratch, huh? A little bonus?
Tom straightens up, Caspar's gun in hand.
Why did Mink take Rug's hair?
Beats me, the kid was dizzy. Fifty-fifty on the
dough? Or maybe I should get a little more,
since I did the deed.
Tom is stuffing the money into his pocket.
. . . Okay, you keep it. I want you to have it.
Bernie. . .
He nods towards Caspar's body.
. . . We can't hang this on Bluepoint.
Huh? Why not?
Bluepoint's already dead, halfway 'cross town.
Bernie's smile is fading.
What the hell are you talking about?
Bluepoint's dead. It's gotta be you. I mean
hell, it's your gun.
Alarm is beginning to rise:
What is this! What the hell are you talking
about! . . .
He looks down at Caspar and then back at Tom.
. . . You took my gun! Just your word against
Tom pops the chamber of Caspar's gun, glances in, and snaps
Bernie's eyes widen.
Are you crazy! We're square! You said it
yourself! We got nothing on each other!
Bernie fights against hysteria:
So what's in it for you?! There's no angle! You
can't just shoot me, like that!
He sinks to his knees, his voice rising.
. . . Jesus Christ! It don't make sense! Tommy!
Look in your heart!
BANG--Bernie splays backwards from the knees, a bullet
drilled neatly through his forehead.
Tom drops the gun by Caspar's body.
Unpocketing Bernie's gun, Tom goes over to his corpse and
drops it there.
We pan with Tom's legs to bring his doorway into view as he
walks into his apartment, to the window chair in the
background, and sits with his back to us.
The windows show daylight breaking. Far away a clock
strikes the quarter hour.
Tom is picking up the phone and dialing. Waiting for an
answer, he reaches over to turn off the feeble yellow lamp
As we start to FADE OUT, we can hear Tom talking into the
. . . Tony? Tom. Tell Lazarre I've got his
money. . . Yeah, all of it. And I want to place
a bet on tonight's fight. . .
A BEAT OF BLACK
76. CUT TO:
Of Leo's club, leading to his office.
We are tracking over Tom's shoulder as he walks down the
hall, led by Dead Terry.
They set you up downstairs?
Tom gestures with the drink he is carrying. Its ice cubes
. . . Well thanks for coming, Tom. Leo's real
anxious to see you. . .
Yeah. I happened to be near.
We can hear muffled bellowing coming from Leo's office,
growing louder as we approach.
Terry seems embarassed:
Actually. . . this might not be the best time. . .
They have pulled up in front of the closed door to Leo's
Leo's bellowing, inside, abates for a moment. We can hear
another voice, muffled so that we don't hear words, but
only the voice's plaintive quality.
Leo's bellowing cuts it short.
. . . Who's he got in there?
O'Gar and the mayor.
As he leaves frame:
I'll try again.
Terry calls after him:
I'll tell him you stopped by.
Pulling Tom as he walks across the gambling floor, drink
still in hand.
Behind him we can see workmen busily repairing the damage
done to the club in the police raid.
Halfway across the floor Tom stiffens and slows, seeing
Verna is entering the club.
The two meet.
They both lean against a counterstop and look out at the
He was busy.
You should see him. He has something to tell
Maybe I'll run into him.
Bernie's funeral is tomorrow. You could stop by.
. . . Leo has something to tell you.
So you said.
There is a silent beat. Verna scowls.
. . . Tell me something, Tom. Why didn't you
tell me what was going on? I thought he was
dead, and you never--
There was no point in telling you. It could only
have queered things if it had gotten out--
Jesus, Tom! You don't just talk to people for
the play it gives you or doesn't give you! I
suffered, you no-heart son of a bitch!
Tom lets this drift.
Verna tries to compose herself.
. . . I'm sorry. It's just that things might've
been different. With us. If I'd known that you
hadn't. . . done anything to him. . .
You know now.
Verna looks at him intently.
What happened that night?
Tom still looks at her evenly.
I went to a bar. Passed out. When I got back to
my place they were both dead.
Verna studies him.
. . . Passed out, huh?
She looks at him a beat more, then out at the floor.
It's funny. . . I've never even seen you sleep--
though you told me once about a dream you had.
Maybe I lied.
WHAP! Verna slaps him hard. His head rocks under the
You've never been straight with me about any-
thing! You are a sonofabitch!
She stalks off.
Tom watches her go.
He raises the drink and rolls it across his slapped cheek.
The ice cubes clink.
An small old marble orchard set on a hilltop cleared
against the woods. Stars of David adorn the headstones; in
the foreground Bernie's funeral is ending. Present is a
rabbi, just finishing the chanting of the liturgy, Verna,
In the background, on the road at the foot of the hill, Tom
is emerging from a taxi. It rolls away as he starts up the
Just as he arrives, Leo and Verna turn to leave.
Tom takes in the scene.
She stalks off, leaving Leo and Tom alone. Leo takes off
his yarmulke and fiddles with it uncomfortably. The two
men start walking.
. . . She's under a lot of strain.
Well, at least she didn't hit me.
They walk on.
Tommy, I'm glad you came. . .
She's taking the car.
Leo looks up.
Verna is getting into the elegant black touring-car that
waits at the bottom of the hill. It pulls away.
Leo looks at Tom.
. . . I guess we're walking.
I guess we are.
They walk in silence for a beat.
. . . We're getting married.
Tom stiffens. He brings out:
. . . Congratulations, Leo.
Leo too is uncomfortable.
The funny thing is. . . She asked me. To tie the
knot. I guess you're not supposed to say that.
It doesn't matter. Congratulations.
Thanks. . . Hell, Tom! Why didn't you tell me
what you were up to?! I thought you'd really
gone over--not that I didn't deserve it. But you
could have told me.
Telling you could only've queered things if it
had. . .
Tom cuts himself off and walks in silence for a moment.
. . . There just wasn't any point.
Leo wants to be encouraging. He nods.
I can see that. Well. It was a smart play, all
around. I guess you know I'm grateful.
Leo is grinning again.
I guess you picked that fight with me just to
tuck yourself in with Caspar.
I dunno. Do you always know why you do things,
Leo greets this with a puzzled Smile.
Course I do.
He nods to himself.
. . . It was a smart play.
They walk on.
You'll do fine.
Leo stops, grabs Tom's arm, and the words come cut in a
. . . Jesus, Tom! I'd give anything if you'd
work for me again! I know I've made some
bonehead plays! I know I can be pig-headed but,
damnit, so can you! I need your help, and things
can be like they were, I know it! I just know
it! As for you and Verna--well I understand,
you're both young, and--well, damnit, Tom, I
Tom instantly bristles. For the first time, his tone is
I didn't ask for that and I don't want it.
The two men stare at each other--Tom's look angry; Leo's,
Tom's look softens.
. . . Goodbye, Leo.
Leo still stares at him, waiting for something else.
When nothing is forthcoming he turns and walks away.
Tom watches him go. He unpockets a flask and raises it to
Behind him a tree soughs in the wind.