Bullets or Ballots (1936) Movie Script

What time does the crime picture start?
Eight fifty-eight, in about three minutes.
Two loges.
This is William Kennedy, bringing you
the second of a series of short pictures...
...exposing the rackets of America:
The Syndicate of Crime.
A series of short pictures presented
to the American public as a warning.
To arouse them
against a growing national menace:
The modern racketeer.
Wait till you see the actor
that takes you off.
The total gold bullion in the United States
Treasury and Mints was $9.5 billion.
The crime combine of the racketeers...
...entrenched in 88 cities
of over 100,000 population...
...and reaching into thousands
of surrounding towns...
...robbed the American people
of $ 15 billion.
Huge sums extorted
from the businessman.
A steady flood of pennies,
nickels and dimes...
...drained from the purses
of the homeowner...
...the laborer and the housewife.
On the East Coast, perishable foods.
A quarter of a cent levied
on every head of lettuce.
A cent on artichokes.
A fraction of a cent
on every type of produce.
When wholesalers refuse to pay tribute...
...the racketeers prevent them
from moving shipments.
Hundreds of carloads of fresh vegetables
rot on sidings.
Across the street
from 100,000 American schools...
...attractive games are installed
in stores, shops and restaurants.
And in one city alone,
the racketeers harvest $80,000 a week.
How many kids are there
in that school?
- Thirty-five hundred.
- Do you get much of their trade?
- Quite a bit.
- How about building it up?
We'll install a nickel game for you.
So they can go hungry handing you
their lunch money. Get out of here.
Well, if that's the way you feel,
we'll only install three.
And you'll like it.
- A home run, there it goes.
- Home run, home run.
- I can beat that.
- You better not spend any more.
- Spare me a nickel, will you?
- Out of my way, kids.
The Pacific Coast.
A group of restaurants refuse
to buy meat through the racketeers.
They try to buy it direct.
- What's the big idea?
- Where are you taking the load?
- Paris Caf.
- All right, Joe.
- Why, you can't get away with...
- Sit down.
Nothing like a good kerosene flavor
on a steak.
You're next.
October, 1935.
Al Kruger, a notorious racketeer,
comes up for trial.
He has previously
been arrested 11 times...
...on charges ranging from grand larceny
to felonious assault.
Dismissed each time.
He finally faces a jury.
Be seated.
Have you reached a verdict?
- We have, Your Honor.
- You may state it to the court.
We find the defendant not guilty.
I wish to state that your verdict
is one that destroys the confidence...
...of law-abiding people in the integrity
and justice of the American court.
You can leave here knowing you have
rendered a blow at law enforcement...
...and encouraged those
who violate the law.
They will probably praise you.
I do not.
Jury discharged.
And so Kruger is again
given his freedom...
...and returns to collect his share
of the $ 200-million plunder...
...taken each year in his city.
So what?
Entrenched and protected...
...the crime combine strikes swiftly
at those who oppose it.
Ward Bryant, publisher and
leading crusader against the rackets...
...receives a telephone death threat
against himself and his family.
He makes a public reply.
I have been ordered to stop making
The Syndicate of Crime pictures.
The gentleman who phoned added,
"Or else. "
For his information,
I shall continue to make them.
And my papers will continue their present
policy of open attack on racketeers...
...and the directors of organized crime...
...who are the really dangerous enemies
of society.
His phone call is only further evidence...
...that the racketeers have the
American public pretty well whipped...
...when a citizen has to sacrifice
the safety of his family...
...to ask for security and decency.
These same racketeers laugh
at your laws.
They make a joke of your courts.
They rule by the fear of their bullets.
They must be smashed
by the power of your ballots.
Let's go.
- Who threatened Bryant?
- I don't know.
Somebody told him to pipe down.
He's been doing enough yelling
in his papers without making pictures.
He's just racing his motor.
He's racing it so loud the public's
liable to wake up one day.
They been played for a sucker
so long they'll never wake up.
That's where we think different.
If he keeps on bringing our names out,
he can make it plenty hot.
I'm gonna stop him before he stops us.
You stick to your milk-and-produce
business and leave Bryant alone.
I'm still running this show,
and I say let him yell.
He can't hurt us without any evidence,
and he isn't gonna get any.
Pick me up here at the office at 1:00.
- Go get yourself a drink and cool off.
- Okay.
And forget Bryant.
Hey, waiter.
Some bourbon and ginger ale.
- Hiya, Herman.
- Hello, Eddie.
Hello, Mr. Blake.
Hello, Herman.
- I see you got the bad news.
- Yeah.
- That ought to cause a lot of trouble.
- I shouldn't be surprised.
Probably blow the lid
right off the city hall.
Oh, I forgot, Miss Lee's waiting for me.
- Get a look at the crowd out there?
- I'll say. Boiled shirts all over the place.
- How's your routine, Mary?
- It's in the bag.
- Good. How about your number, Eddie?
- It'll knock Broadway for a loop.
Never mind Broadway,
concentrate on the customers out there.
This is the biggest play we've ever had
from downtown.
If our show gets over,
we'll pack them in.
- Go out there and give them everything.
- We'll have them on the floor.
We're having a tough enough time
keeping the seats filled. Go on out there.
Come on, kids...
Hello, girls. Excuse me, will you?
- Hello, Miss Lee.
- Hello, Herman.
- How were the collections?
- Just fine.
You really got something
in this numbers game.
Mr. Henrich says it's gonna catch on
in the Bronx even better than Harlem.
Form the looks of that money,
he's right.
If it keeps rolling in, you can quit the
cabaret and move right into Park Avenue.
- I drive a Rolls-Royce swell.
- We'll stick to the cabaret.
All right, but Rolls-Royces are better.
Let's see. Seems to me I had
something else I wanted to tell you.
Never mind. It'll come.
Oh, I remember.
I saw Mr. Blake when I came in.
- Where?
- In the bar.
In the bar? Was he drinking?
- Yes.
- What's happened downtown?
Who, to me? Nothing.
I wasn't even downtown.
No, not you.
What's happened on Broadway?
- Any extras out?
- Oh, yes.
That publisher was murdered.
The one named...
- That explains it.
- The name...
Never mind, Herman.
Just sit down and rest.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K...
Thank you.
- How are things, Lee?
- Fine, thank you.
- How is the show?
- Go in, see for yourself.
I will.
Hello, Johnny.
Wanna go in and see the show?
No, sit down a while.
- How have you been?
- Okay.
Why didn't you let me know
you were here?
I was busy reading this about Bryant.
- Did you know him?
- Yeah, a little. Swell fella.
He had a swell wife and kid too.
It'll be plenty tough on them.
- Wife and kid?
- Yeah.
You're a funny fella, Johnny.
When you come out of your shell,
you're really human.
I don't like to see
decent people pushed around.
When something breaks down there
in your old stamping ground...
...it gets under your skin, doesn't it?
What makes you think so?
- It's the only time I see you take a drink.
- Oh, no. This is just a celebration.
We found out
who stole Mrs. Blausmeyer's laundry.
- Oh, that must be something.
- It was.
- Are you on the level?
- Why, sure.
Well, that's a fine finish
to a great police career.
Looking for laundry in the Bronx.
Well, it's better than being pensioned off
with the fire horses.
Say, I'm not kidding myself.
I'm no use to them downtown anymore.
When things like this happen,
they need you.
You and your whole squad
ought to be back there in action.
They don't believe in kicking the rats
into line anymore.
Nowadays, you're supposed to kiss them
and tuck them in.
- Your friend McLaren thinks so too.
- Well, he's only a captain.
He takes orders too.
And you'll go on being loyal to McLaren
and the department.
- Yeah. That's it.
- And looking for laundry.
Nice, clean job.
Well, someday Mac will be back
up on top.
Then you won't have to worry
about me anymore.
Say, I thought you didn't let mugs
come into this place.
I don't when I know them. Who's he?
That's Crail.
I sent him up to Sing Sing
a couple of years ago.
Hello, Blake.
I see the parole board has let you loose
on the public again, huh?
Yeah, no thanks to you.
Well, I see where they cut
the bigshot detective down to size.
It must be tough not to be
able to kick the boys around...
...and make them tip their hats.
Yeah, but they still do.
To a Bronx flatfoot?
And as long as I'm part of the force,
they'll keep on tipping their hats.
Remember it next time.
I guess I'll go downtown
and see what's going on.
You haven't lost your gentle touch,
have you?
I'll see you soon.
Don't hurt your knuckles.
- What's the trouble?
- Arrest him for destroying property.
Yes, sir.
Come on, on your feet.
You're sure you saw Fenner
go inside the hotel?
Yes, I didn't pull away
until after he went in.
- What time did you leave him?
- Nine fifty-five.
Could he have had time
to get to Bryant's office by 10:15?
- I guess so.
- I'm not paying you to guess.
He could've if he grabbed a fast car
right away and got a break with traffic.
Detective Blake to see you.
Send him in.
- That's all. Wait for me.
- Yes, sir.
- Hello, Al.
- How are you, Johnny?
- Big night for you, huh?
- How?
Secretary and chauffeur
working overtime.
Oh, that happens a lot.
- Your rackets must be doing all right.
- About 5000 last week.
Five hundred thousand.
I can't count that high.
- Have a chair, Johnny.
- Thanks.
I thought you were homesteading
up in the Bronx.
What are you doing
in this neck of the woods?
Oh, just poking around the old hangouts.
- Cigar?
- No, thanks, I'll smoke a pipe.
What do you think of Bryant's death?
I was just reading about it.
- It's too bad. He was a nice fella.
- They'll probably try and hang it on you.
A couple of the boys from headquarters
were up here half an hour ago.
They were very nice about it, though.
That's the trouble with them.
They have to be.
You'd have taken me around the corner
and rolled up a newspaper.
Yeah, I suppose I would.
But I didn't get much out of you
the last time I gave you a going-over.
You came close to it.
I wish I'd known it then.
You'd have got some more.
I wanted to get you on that rap.
- Good old days, eh, Johnny?
- Yeah.
You've traveled a long way since then.
You'd have gone a long way
if you'd thrown in with me...
...the first time I asked you to.
- Yeah, I suppose I would.
You would have been a great help
in this business.
You know more about this town
than any bird that ever lived in it.
If I'd gone in, I'd have nailed you.
Oh, no, you wouldn't.
You never double-crossed anyone
in your life, not even a crook...
...if he told you something
in confidence.
Sure, you rode the pants off
of all of us.
But you always let us know
where you stood.
You've known what I thought of you.
And you're the only fella
I'd take it from too.
But I'd still like to have you
throw in with me, Johnny.
I'll stick with the department.
After all the kicking around
they've given you?
- Yeah.
- Well, you're a sucker.
All you'll ever get out of it
is a petty-larceny pension.
I could do more for you in a year than
you can earn in a lifetime on the force.
Maybe I like to make my money
the hard way.
Well, I'll probably still be asking you
10 years from now.
If you live that long.
Blake's the name.
- How about getting out?
- I asked Johnny in.
No Bronx detective's
gonna hang around this office.
- Listen, Fenner...
- Never mind, Al.
Fenner can't forget the week he spent at
the hospital after he took a swing at me.
I don't think much of him either.
- See you sometime.
- So long, Johnny.
Oh, I forgot to compliment you, Fenner.
Nice, clean job you did on Bryant.
What's he talking about?
You know what he's talking about,
you 10-cent thug.
- I told you to leave Bryant alone.
- Yeah? What's the matter with him?
Fenner, someday you're gonna
get wise to the fact that...
...that strong-arm gangster stuff
went out with Prohibition.
You're not running liquor anymore.
You're in big business.
I pulled you up out of the gutter.
And you take a chance on ruining
a $200-million gold mine...
...to satisfy a grudge.
Well, it's a fine way to pay me back
for all I've done for you.
Oh, I wouldn't pay you back
that way, Al.
Yes, Kruger talking.
Yes, sir, right away.
The bosses?
They're liable to knock the props
out from under me...
...on account of this Bryant mess.
If they do, it'll be the last thing
that'll ever happen to me.
You knew that.
Swell, having to cover you up
to save my own neck.
Who are they, Al?
If you knew,
you wouldn't sleep much tonight.
How are you, gentlemen?
Who did it, Kruger?
I had an idea that's why you called me.
Yes, but you haven't answered
the question.
I wished I knew myself.
- It wasn't anyone in the organization.
- Very interesting.
How did you arrive at that conclusion?
I checked on them.
Driscoll, Vinci, all of them.
Did you check on Fenner?
Why, yes.
What makes you pick him out?
Just that he's a little inclined
to that type of work.
No, not anymore.
He's getting too fat on the profits
to want trouble. He was at the hotel.
So you don't suspect him?
Why, certainly not.
He's been doing all right, hasn't he?
Getting that extra 2 million for you
out of the raise in milk.
Did it occur to you that Bryant's death
would cause an investigation?
Sure, but I'm not worrying.
Nothing like a good investigation
to make the public happy.
This one won't make you happy.
The mayor had a talk
with the governor tonight.
- He's convening a grand jury.
- What good will that do him?
Thanks to your letting things
get out of control...
...it'll cost us
an extra million dollars this time.
I think you're beginning to slip, Kruger.
I suggest that you locate the weak spots
in your organization now.
- There aren't any.
- I'd still look around if I were you...
...Mr. Kruger, because if you make
just one more mistake, you're through.
What do you mean, through?
There's just one way to interpret it.
That's all, Mr. Kruger.
You've been in the police department
for 30 years, Captain McLaren.
We find that you have
an excellent record...
...and a fine reputation
for honesty and integrity.
And yet you've been very outspoken
against the previous commissions...
...to solve the racket problem.
Why is that?
- Are you asking for a frank opinion?
- Yes.
I've had that attitude because half
the commissions were political sops...
...thrown to the public
to keep them quiet.
The other half did what
they were supposed to do.
They investigated, wrote a report...
...took a swing at the police department
and went home.
- Their work was of no help?
- No.
We don't need investigations
and reports.
Every policeman on the force
knows about the rackets.
We know what they are,
how they're worked.
And they'll keep on as long
as the penalty for running it...
...is no more than for breaking a bottle.
A misdemeanor, 30 to 90 days in jail.
What if stronger laws were passed?
You'll have to go further.
You'll have to wipe out the corruption.
Does this corruption reach
into the police department?
There have been rumors of its reaching
into the other grand juries.
- That's why they went home?
- It's possible.
This one's not going home, McLaren.
Then you'd better make it your job to
find out where the racket money goes.
Who the top men are
that buy protection.
The governor's taking a crime bill
before the legislature next week.
It gives this jury something
the others never had:
Complete power to fight the rackets.
To cut off their source of revenue
and discharge corrupt officials.
We recommend the appointment
of a police commissioner...
...who'll be given the same power.
- Will that help to wipe them out?
- Yes.
Would you accept the post?
- Police commissioner?
- With our complete backing.
- Yes, on one condition.
- What is it?
That I have your full support in all I do
without having to explain it...
...or answer to you for it.
- That's a large condition.
And a necessary one.
Plans are no good
when they leak ahead of time...
...and I've seen some leaks
in high places.
If those terms are satisfactory,
let me know.
Thank you for considering me.
We don't care to waste time.
We accept, and we'll recommend
your appointment at once.
- Will you be ready to take charge?
- Yes, I will.
Patrolmen Jack Owens,
Raymond Keeler...
...Alfred Quinn...
...Frank Raider, Richard Phillips...
...Edward Lynch...
Police-department cleanup.
Read all about it.
Police-department cleanup.
Extra. Paper, mister?
Extra. Paper?
- Hey, Garber.
- Yeah?
Didn't you forget something?
- Hi, boys.
- Hello.
Hello. Hi, Johnny.
- Hi, boys.
- Hi, Johnny.
Get these loafers working, Kelly,
or McLaren will swing his ax at them.
- Hey, Johnny.
- Yeah?
- What's on your mind?
- I've got some bad news for you.
- What?
- You were washed out this morning.
- What are you doing, framing up on me?
- No, I'm on the level, Johnny.
Well, where's the discharge?
They sent it up from headquarters.
"Inefficiency. "
It's a rotten deal for McLaren
to give a man with your record.
- I thought he was a friend of yours.
- Yeah.
Good news, Miss Lee.
Mr. Schlosser sold more numbers
yesterday than any day.
- How many?
- I forgot to ask him. Why?
Never mind.
How much have you got there?
Two thousand one hundred and eighty.
- Two thousand eight hundred and...
- Let me see the slip.
- Did Schlosser do this adding?
- No. I did.
That's just what I thought.
How much are seven and four?
Which ones? Ten.
Perfect. Now, suppose you just collect
and let Schlosser do the adding.
It would make it a lot easier that way.
How much did you make
in Harlem today?
I don't know yet. Nellie hasn't come in.
There was something
I wanted to tell you about Mr. Blake.
It was important too.
- So you forgot.
- Oh, I'll remember it.
I got so much on my mind.
Yes, I know. Well, before you forget,
put the money in the safe, will you?
I know it was something,
and I know it was about Mr. Blake.
I won't rest till I think what it is.
Come in.
- Hello, Nellie.
- Hello, Miss Lee. That's all.
If this keeps up, you gonna be rich.
Four thousand five hundred dollars
yesterday, Miss Lee...
...and the game is spreading
all over Harlem.
The boys all around the pool halls are
spending their money on the numbers...
...instead of dice, and when a colored boy
stops crap shooting, that's something.
Rose, how many times have I told you
not to use this on Miss Lee's hair?
You ain't putting the wave in right.
Give me that comb.
Get on out of here.
These no-account girls.
You can't learn them nothing.
Honestly, Miss Lee, you ought to let me
come back and take care of you.
No, Nellie. You've graduated.
You keep on managing the Harlem end.
You thought of this game,
and you deserve to get rich from it.
Sometimes I wish I hadn't thought of it.
Madame Nellie LaFleur.
...and four...
...and 18.
Who is it?
He isn't here.
- Who'd they want?
- McCloskey.
That's you.
He hung up.
How many had
the winning number yesterday?
- One.
- Who?
I've been riding my preacher's
auto-license number and it showed.
- People will think you're cheating.
- I didn't tell anyone.
Oh, Miss Lee.
- I remember what I had to tell you.
- What?
Mr. Blake got fired
from the police force last night.
- Somebody's kidding you.
- No, it's true.
Hello, Johnny.
How are you, Lee?
Say, I never thought
you'd get over this way.
What are we gonna do,
stand here and swing on the door?
Why, no. Come on in.
Say, what are you in an uproar about?
Herman said you got fired.
Yeah, that's right.
Sit down, make yourself comfortable.
Who did it?
You were always telling me,
when McLaren got to the top...
...everything would be
just fine and dandy.
Well, I was wrong.
Well, it's time you got wise to yourself.
The only reason friends
pat you on the back...
...is to find an easy place to break it.
You're a friend, aren't you?
Well, I guess you're dumb enough
to think so.
Oh, no. I'm not dumb.
You like me pretty well.
Well, that goes both ways.
If women and home life were my line,
I'd have fallen for you a long time ago.
That would have been kind of nice,
wouldn't it?
Until you went crazy being married
to a man who was never home.
Sort of wondering
if it was an optical illusion.
It isn't in the cards.
And you can't beat the cards, can you?
I suppose you didn't get
enough salary to save much, did you?
Oh, I'll get along.
I suppose you'll be looking
for another job.
I was wondering if you'd like
to come in with me...
...and help me run the numbers game.
- You've got all the help you need.
- I won't have.
It's getting bigger all the time.
Some weeks it takes in
from 10 to 12,000.
Twelve thousand?
In that penny-ante game?
Well, last time you told me,
you were getting nickels and dimes.
I know. But they're crazy about it
in Harlem...
...and now it's going over in the Bronx.
I wish you'd come in
and help me run it, Johnny.
You'd make a swell job of building it up.
You'd make a lot of money
for both of us.
Say, you're pretty regular, Lee.
- You'll do it?
- Oh, not a chance.
Say, any money I'd make
would be coming out of your pocket.
And I don't take any money
away from women.
Not me.
Well, I thought I'd tell you
about it anyway.
Well, thanks just the same.
I'm sorry you got kicked out, Johnny.
It'll be kind of tough to start
a new game after all these years.
Yeah, I suppose so.
What are you gonna do?
I'm gonna take in the fights.
They got a good card on tonight.
Don't hurt your knuckles.
Hello, Johnny.
I just want to thank you
for the kick in the teeth.
Will you prefer charges, commissioner?
- No, just throw him out in the street.
- Come on.
- See where Blake goes.
- Okay, boss.
This is it, boss.
Do you mind if I sit down
and have a drink?
It's waiting for you.
Oh, you knew I was coming.
I had a good idea from the way
your man out there was tagging me.
- You don't miss much, do you?
- It's a habit.
How was the main event?
They should have had you in the ring.
- That was a sweet punch, Johnny.
- Well, he had it coming to him.
- You're finally washed up, eh?
- Yeah, plenty.
A lot of thanks you got
from McLaren and the public.
Not even that petty-larceny pension
you were talking about.
From now on, I'm gonna see what
it's like looking out for number one.
Well, that offer is still good.
I'd like to have you in with me.
Doing what?
I got a hunch
we're gonna have some trouble...
...with McLaren and that jury on a tear.
If there are weak spots in the
organization, I've gotta find them now...
...and you'd be the first one
to spot them.
I want you to look over
the whole setup...
...and the only one
you'll have to answer to is me.
You've got a lot of confidence in me.
Why, I've heard guys
that you've sent to prison...
...say that if you ever made a deal...
...you'd see yourself dead
before you'd go back on it.
How about it?
All right, Al.
- Oh, where you been?
- I just heard about Blake.
- Yeah. I understand he's moving in on us.
- That's right.
You're having him check up on us, eh?
- Any objections?
- While I'm running the produce end...
...you keep him away from it.
- Why, you got something to cover up?
- No.
Good, because he's gonna check
your outfit along with all the rest.
Whether you like it or not.
If he okays it, all the cracking down
McLaren can do won't hurt us.
Suppose Mr. Blake double-crosses us.
- You've got him wrong, Nick.
- Yeah, well, he's still a cop to me.
Well, if it makes you happy,
you keep right on thinking so.
- Are you coming to the garage tonight?
- No.
I suppose you're gonna
take him there too.
That's the idea.
You know, that hat on the bed
might be bad luck.
For you or for me?
Blake gone yet?
- Yeah, he just went out with Al.
- He's got room 318 upstairs.
- Get going.
- Okay.
Go to the garage and tail him.
I wanna know every move he makes.
Check all the phone calls,
get as much dope as you can.
- Go on, snap to it.
- Right.
This place used to store
bootleg liquor. I raided it once.
I sat in the building across the street
and watched you.
Second-floor window.
I saw you.
You'll be surprised at the change.
No, this way.
- Hey.
- Hiya, Blake.
- How are you, Blake?
- Okay.
Threw away your club, eh?
I don't need one
working with you fellas, do I?
- Are you through?
- 167,812.
Oh, we don't let the banks
handle our records.
Yeah, I noticed that.
All the cash-business money
is handled right here.
And most of the business is cash.
Yeah, all except a few
of our regular corporations.
How much, Vinci?
Come on.
A hundred and twenty-two thousand
three hundred.
What's the matter,
aren't they collecting?
Fellas on the East Side
didn't do so good this week.
You better give Vinci's
loan sharks the once-over.
- Okay.
- He won't give my outfit the once-over.
- Keep him away from it.
- What are you afraid of?
I don't like the way your face
is fastened on.
I'll be down tomorrow morning
and give you a chance to change it.
That's calling him, Blake.
Cut out the squawking, Louie.
He's in here to help us.
How's this for good news?
Three hundred and ten thousand
one ninety-six.
Not bad for one week's take
on pinball games.
I wouldn't cry about it.
- Thinking of opening a bank account?
- That's right.
What do you think
I joined this outfit for?
I've been talking
to some of the other fellas about you.
Yeah? Well, what have you decided?
Al's sold on you and wants you in.
That's okay with us.
We're glad to have you around,
but we'd like proof.
We're expecting
some real help from you.
You're gonna get it.
If you failed us,
we'd be awfully disappointed.
I can imagine.
- Hello, Wires.
- Oh, hello, Mr. Blake.
- That kind of stuff is out from now on.
- Yeah. I'm sick of it myself.
- Have a cigarette?
- Thanks.
- What are you doing these days?
- Working for Fenner. Produce business.
Yeah? Gave up the old
wiretapping game, huh?
Oh, sure. There's no money in that.
Well, I'm glad to see you doing so well.
See you again.
Thanks, Mr. Blake.
He just came in.
He's whistling. It works great.
- What happened, mister?
- Anything wrong?
It just went off by accident.
What's the matter?
Did you hurt your ears?
All right, out of the way, kids.
Come on, boys.
Move them out.
All right, boys, push it in.
First there went my loan-shark racket,
and now $200,000 in jewelry.
You ain't getting it worse
than the others.
It's phony to me. The cops couldn't have
found the hideouts without a tip-off.
Yeah, and it all happened
since Blake got in.
Get that truck unloaded
and get it out of here.
- Hey, what's going on here?
- Glad you dropped in, Fenner.
- What are you trying to pull?
- We're changing things around...
...so the honest man
will have a chance to do business.
I'm running a legal wholesale business
here. You can't close this plant.
- Why not?
- You gonna call them off...
...or do I get a restraining order?
Go get your restraining orders,
injunctions and anything else you need.
The police used to waste a lot of time
getting them, trying to stop you.
From now on, we act first.
We'll let you waste your time
getting them. Maybe you can stop us.
And don't forget to tell Kruger.
That flatfoot.
If he wants trouble,
I'll give him plenty of it.
Get Chamberlain on the phone.
I don't care where he is,
get him on the phone.
- Better forget the lawyers and locate Al.
- Mr. Blake too.
I wanna ask him a few questions.
Hello, Chamberlain?
- You'll have to move that car.
- I'm waiting.
You've been here over an hour.
Move on.
Forget it.
This car belongs to Al Kruger.
Hello, Donlin.
Say, what's the idea of the ticket?
Afraid McLaren will fire you
if you don't get rid of them?
Nope. He's already weeded out
all the rats.
Leave him alone, Johnny.
Come on, get up and learn
to keep your mouth shut.
Stop it. Stop it.
Call the wagon.
Someday you'll learn
that you can't be pulling that stuff.
Well, someday I'll run into you when
you haven't got the cavalry around.
Call your lawyer, Al.
Oh, solitary, huh?
Yes, sir. Nice and private.
All for yourself.
- Hello, Mac.
- How are you, Johnny?
- How's the jaw?
- Okay.
How'd you get here ahead of me?
Oh, Donlin phoned
you were on the way over.
- Did he get hurt going off the horse?
- No, but your punches messed him up.
- You ought to learn to pull them.
- They'd look phony.
We've been watching Fenner's men.
They've had you covered every minute.
- Yes, one of them followed me here.
- Yeah?
Here's some more stuff to work on.
- Raids?
- Yeah, the sooner the better.
- You're getting them worried.
- Have you found out who bosses Kruger?
No. All I know is there is somebody
higher up, and he controls everything.
If we can nail that bird, the whole works
will fold up from the inside.
- Does Fenner know who it is?
- No. Nobody except Kruger.
- Think you'll be able to get it out of him?
- Oh, no.
- Then how...?
- Fenner is Kruger's number one man.
If anything happens to Kruger,
and I'm gonna see that it does...
...Fenner moves up.
But I'm not gonna let him...
...because I'm gonna step
into Mr. Fenner's shoes.
- How?
- Well, I don't know yet.
- Is that all you got to tell me?
- That's all for now.
Except keep on smashing them
as fast as you get my instructions.
When the break comes, I'll know.
In the meantime, you've gotta play
the cards the way I deal them, Mac.
Only one thing tough about it.
- What's that?
- Kruger.
He's a rat as much as the rest of them.
He'd knock me off in a minute if
he found out. But I'll hate to cross him.
Because you haven't
given him an even break.
- Yeah, that's right.
- I haven't given you one, Johnny.
We had another man on the force
that tried to smash that mob.
They didn't kill him.
They threw acid in his face.
His headlights don't burn anymore.
- I handed you a rotten job, Johnny.
- Oh, forget it, Mac.
I asked for it, didn't I?
Say, all I know is handling mugs.
I'd have taken the job if I had to ride
a horse or hand out traffic tickets.
Kruger's lawyer is in the office
with a writ for you.
All right.
- Take care of yourself, Johnny.
- Sure.
As soon as I'm set, I'll let you know.
In the meantime, keep hammering,
especially Fenner.
- Blake. Nobody else but Blake.
- Nobody touched us...
...till you brought Blake in. Now...
- Do you think I'm a sap?
- We're talking about Blake.
- So am I.
I gave the guy a break.
If he's double-crossing me...
- Yeah?
- Mr. Blake to see you.
Send him in.
Thanks for the fast legal service, Al.
Hello, stool pigeon.
Say, what is this, a wake?
It might be.
Nice picture of McLaren.
The boys think you're working for him.
- I'm wondering.
- I'm not.
I suppose your bird dog told you.
I mean that thing you've had trailing me
since I've been in the outfit.
What have you got to say?
Sure, Al. They're right.
I just sold you right down the river.
Yeah, the cops said they were sorry
they kicked me off the force.
McLaren sent me a basket of flowers
for hitting him in the jaw.
Said if I wanted to come back, he'd give
me the whole Bronx to wander around in.
I wouldn't clown, Johnny.
Finally got wise to you.
You're through.
Oh, no. I'm just starting.
I don't like guys
who put their hands on me.
- Let's keep this a business meeting.
- Start talking.
I went to work for you, Al,
because you wanted help.
I didn't come to you,
you came to me.
So you think I crossed you, huh?
Well, I couldn't get a dime a dozen
if I handed this whole mob...
...over to the coppers,
and you know it.
I can see now why you needed help.
- And you need lots of it.
- You gonna let him talk his way out?
Shut up. Keep talking.
Well, did any of these masterminds
have anything useful to offer?
- Keep on talking.
- I've never seen it fail.
Whenever mugs get into a jam...
...the first thing they do
is they start knifing each other.
Hey, I thought you were smart, Al.
Have you got anything to suggest?
Let McLaren have his fun.
You can't stop him.
As soon as he's made a showing,
the grand jury will fold up...
...and leave him without any backing.
They always do.
Meanwhile, we sit back
and wind up broke.
No, but go to work.
Stop playing cops and robbers.
Quit tapping telephone wires.
Spend your time building up
new rackets...
...so when McLaren comes up,
he'll find a dozen more going.
Just pull them right out of the hat, eh?
- I suppose you've got one.
- Yes, I've got one.
Just talking about a new racket.
What's the odds against picking the right
number out of one to 1000?
- Why, 1000-1.
- That's right.
And the payoff is 600-for-1.
If anybody picks the right number.
Now, here.
A lot of people would pick that every day
if 1 dollar would win them 600.
What are you trying to sell?
The penny-ante game
Lee Morgan's running?
It's so penny-ante
she's cleaning up 12,000 a week...
...just around
a few neighborhood stores...
...and most of the bets are dimes
and nickels.
Seven million people in this town,
all looking for easy money.
You just offer them 600-for-1, and this
thing will spread like a four-alarm fire.
They won't be buying one number,
but four or five.
To control the winning number,
pay off on racetrack bets...
...and manipulate the totals.
All it needs is organization.
Get a million people in this town
buying numbers...
...and this one racket will clean up
300 million a year.
Why, it's a cinch. It's easy.
You boys better beat it.
Mr. Blake and me wanna talk over
a little business.
Come on, Al.
Give it a chance,
and get this thing set up.
- Tell you all about it at the next meeting.
- Sure.
- See you later, boss.
- Everything is gonna be all right.
- Sit down, Johnny.
- Thanks.
Let's go to work.
- What makes you think we'll retire?
- There ain't room for you.
We're organizing
numbers games all over the city.
- And that lets you out.
- Lets us out, nothing.
I started this game here and I'm gonna
keep it going, and so is Miss Lee.
You and no other gunman's
gonna tell us what to do.
You have us wrong, sister.
We're businessmen.
We don't carry guns.
- Oh, you don't?
- No. We're just telling you.
Well, then I'm afraid
we'll have to ask Timothy about it.
Yes, ma'am.
Throw those gentlemen out
on their ears.
They took the money away.
The numbers money, the bag, everything.
- Who did?
- I don't know. Some men.
They told me to keep my face
out of there.
They said I couldn't collect anymore.
- They did, did they?
- What are you gonna do?
I'm gonna tell Johnny Blake about it. He'll
run those mugs off the 93rd Street dock.
Well, I guess I'll go upstairs and turn in.
You did all right tonight, Johnny.
- Hey, has Fenner come in yet?
- He's in the coffee shop.
- Where'd you get that shiner?
- An oversized bouncer up in the Bronx.
- What were you doing there?
- Taking the numbers game for Fenner.
We were doing all right
till we tangled with this Morgan dame.
Have a seat.
Where did you get the idea
to take over the numbers game?
I have taken it over.
By tomorrow it'll be in the bag.
You're gonna keep your hands off.
I'm gonna run that game.
Since when did you get to be a big shot
in this outfit?
- Tonight.
- You ain't got a crew to do organizing.
- Well, I will have, from now on.
- He's working for me, same as you are.
I didn't give you any orders to take over.
- He's to have it, eh?
- That's right.
I used to be number one man
around here, Al.
You're kind of kicking me downgrade,
ain't you?
You'll still be number one man
if you quit stepping out of line.
So you call this stepping out of line, eh?
This, and a publisher named Bryant.
- Thanks, Al.
- Okay.
There's another thing
we might just as well get straight.
Lee Morgan started this game.
She's gonna keep on getting
a smalltime rake-off out of it.
When this outfit takes anything over,
it takes it all.
If you're gonna run it,
you're gonna run it right.
Take it easy.
Louie, call it off.
I said, call it off.
I understand John Blake lives here.
- Correct.
- I'd like to see him.
- What's your name, please?
- Lee Morgan.
I'll try his room.
Mr. John Blake, please.
Right. I'm sorry, he doesn't answer.
- Are you looking for Johnny Blake?
- Yes, I am.
My name's Nick Fenner.
Maybe I can help.
Well, I've got to find him.
- You're Lee Morgan?
- Yes.
You run the numbers game
up in the Bronx.
So what?
- I hear they started running you out.
- They won't get away with it.
It's a dirty trick.
I don't blame you for gunning for Blake.
Gunning for him?
- He's the one that's taking it away.
- That's a lie.
He's grabbing it to put himself in strong
with Al Kruger.
Go and ask him.
He's in the coffee shop.
Oh, hello, Lee.
Johnny, are you taking
the numbers game?
- Why?
- Well, I can't tell you.
And I tried to take you in with me.
It sort of turned out better
to toss it to the wolves, didn't it?
I thought they'd let you
keep running your end of it.
I guess that wasn't poetry about friends
finding an easy place to break your back.
Hey, give me 742.
- I know I'm gonna win today.
- Yeah, sure.
I tell my wife this morning
I got luck today, all right.
- One buck on 777.
- Shooting the works, ain't you?
I just took three blonds
to the seventh floor. See you later.
Eight-eleven, 301 and 987.
Ten dollars on each of them.
I'll be around in the morning...
...with a clothes basket to collect.
- Okay.
- Oh, no such luck. Thanks.
- What is it?
- Five-zero-eight won.
- Oh, that's my number. I won.
- Really?
- Now I'll get that fur coat.
That's better than putting it
in bank accounts.
If the tax boys find out, they're liable
to wonder where it comes from.
It looks like I'll have to hire
another box.
Looks like you'll have to hire about 10,
the way the numbers keep paying off.
- You wanna send some of it to Canada.
- Is that what you do?
Yeah. It might be convenient sometime.
Well, you and the bosses
must have had to hire a vault.
Whatever they do with it,
they're not complaining.
- How about meeting them sometime?
- Not a chance.
I'm the only one who knows them,
I gather they want it to stay that way.
I guess you can't blame them for that.
Say, what would happen to them
if you got lost?
They'd just pick somebody else
and keep on going.
- Fenner, I suppose.
- No, I think it'd be you.
- Me?
- They think you're the best I've got.
- They do, huh?
- But you wouldn't want it, Johnny.
It's a top job, all right,
but it's the last one a guy ever holds.
There's only one way out.
Yeah, that's the payoff
for helping them, huh?
But you don't have to worry
about getting it.
- I'm not gonna get lost.
- Better keep your eyes open.
The boys are restless about
McLaren still hammering their rackets.
- He'll be washed up pretty soon.
- Oh, yeah.
How are you, Mr. Hollister?
Oh, Blake. I didn't recognize you.
- Well, I guess it's been about five years.
- All of that.
- Oh, Mr. Kruger, Mr. Hollister.
- Mr. Kruger.
- How do you do?
- I read you left the police.
You seem to be doing all right.
- Well, have you had any more holdups?
- No.
I lost some jewelry a few years ago.
It only took Blake
about six hours to recover it.
- Nobody was better on that job.
- I wish I'd known when you quit.
I'd have liked you in
the banking business.
Oh, there isn't enough money in it.
- I'm glad to have seen you again.
- Thank you.
- Goodbye, Mr. Kruger.
- Goodbye.
- Swell fella.
- Yeah.
Hello, Mac. I'm ready to go.
Grab Kruger right away.
I can't cover an arrest like that.
You've got him. Put him away.
- What are you gonna do, Johnny?
- I got no time to answer questions.
Wait a minute. That's not all.
Crack down on Fenner's milk outfit.
Break it up. Smash it.
This is the last move.
Okay, you'll hear more from me.
- What's up?
- They knocked over your milk outfit.
- Which plant?
- All of them.
They grabbed the trucks in Brooklyn,
all we've got left.
We've gotta do something
or be washed up.
- What's Al doing?
- Nothing.
- He'll let it ride like everything else.
- But the numbers pay big.
Sure. It's gonna keep on paying off,
as far as he's concerned.
- Where is he?
- Checking with the racetrack boys.
- Get out.
- Listen, I'm going with you.
Get out of that car.
Where's the protection
you were supposed to give us?
You're not coasting on the profits
from the numbers game, are you...
...letting the rest of us hold the bag?
I'm taking orders
just the same as you are.
When the right ones come,
I'll pass them along to you.
- Keep your noses out of this.
- We were just wondering.
- All right. See you a week from Thursday.
- Okay.
Hello, Nick. What's eating you?
I'm starting to take over
the numbers game.
- Are you at it again?
- It ain't a very big one.
If Mike catches you back there,
he'll crown you.
Yeah, but he isn't here.
Oh, look what happened.
- Hello, Lee.
- Hello.
Pretty soon you'll start coming
around here in the mornings.
- Beat it.
- Who, me?
I wouldn't stay.
- He's no good, Miss Lee.
- She knows it.
So do I.
A lot of news there.
- Who did it?
- We're trying to find out.
- I thought he was a friend of yours.
- He was.
You don't seem very upset about it.
There's no use crying
if the dice happen to fall that way.
Do you wanna go back
in the numbers game?
- What are you trying to do, kid me?
- You started this racket.
You ought to have a share in it.
- I suppose Blake will let me have it.
- He has nothing to say about it.
I'm running things from now on.
If you want the Bronx
and Harlem districts, they're yours.
If you need protection, you'll get it.
You don't trust me.
I don't trust anybody.
Neither do I.
We ought to work fine together.
How about it?
You're gonna take it away from Blake?
Go ahead and take it.
The numbers game.
We'll find out who got Al
sooner or later...
...but we ain't got any time
to start worrying about that now.
The question is, do I run this business
from now on, or don't I?
All right with us. The bosses
may have something to say...
...if we ever hear from them.
- I'll take care of that.
Why wasn't Blake
asked in on this meeting?
Because he ain't gonna have so much
to say from now on.
He's the one that sold Al on sitting back
and waiting for McLaren to run down.
Well, it didn't work out that way.
I'm putting the rackets back in full swing,
even if it means trouble with McLaren.
- Hiya, Mike.
- Hi, Johnny.
- Joe. Hello, Lambert.
- Hi.
- Driscoll.
- Hiya, Blake.
I'm sorry I'm late.
Say, what is this, an election?
- It's already been held.
- And you're it.
- Any objections?
- A few.
- Yeah, what's the first one?
- Job was given to me.
- When?
- The bosses called me in...
...two hours after the news broke.
- Do you expect us to believe that?
Well, I told them you might have
a few doubts...
...but I couldn't persuade them
to come down here and prove it.
Who are they?
- Did Kruger tell you?
- No.
So I think I'll keep on
sitting in the driver's seat...
...till I hear from them personally.
Sit anywhere you want to, but don't try
and stop me from carrying out orders.
Got orders and everything, eh?
I'm to take charge and have their money
to them by 10:00 tomorrow night.
Or keep it and no one
will know the difference.
Say, the numbers business
is doing all right, Lambert.
I don't have to chisel in on yours.
Half the money I take to them
will be mine anyway.
Well, what do you say?
Do I take charge of their split
or have you some other suggestion?
None that I can think of right now.
All right, then, we meet
in the garage tomorrow night at 6.
Okay, Johnny.
Hello. This is John Blake.
The Oceanic Bank, Mr. Blake.
Mr. Hollister is asking
if you could drop over...
...and have a little talk with him.
It's about your checking account.
What's the matter? Overdrawn?
I don't know, but Mr. Hollister
considered it important.
- He'd appreciate it very much.
- Tell him I'll be right over.
Mr. Blake.
Will you go right in.
Thank you.
Hello, Blake.
- Didn't expect to see you again so soon.
- Neither did I.
Mr. Thorndyke, Mr. Blake.
How do you do?
- How are you?
- Mr. Caldwell.
- How do you do?
- How are you?
Hey, did it take a board meeting
and an ex-government official...
...to go over my account?
- Nothing wrong with your account.
We wanna know why
you tried to take over Kruger's job.
You're the heads, huh?
Well, no wonder the organization
has been so well protected.
Why did you try to take over the job?
I didn't try and take it over,
I took it over.
Did you think we might object?
Well, why should you? I've proven
that I can run it better than anyone.
Fenner isn't any good.
Yes, you've given us
a nice bit of revenue.
I've given you more than
any four of them put together.
You'll keep on getting it,
just give me a few breaks.
You know, I'm not in this for fun.
- Satisfied?
- Right.
Blake, the job is yours.
You're not making any mistake.
Incidentally, Mr. Blake, you are
the only one who will know who we are.
I understand that.
And the first thing we want you to do
is to collect our royalties...
...in the garage tonight
and bring them here.
I've already made arrangements
about collecting them.
- Will it be all right if I'm here at 10?
- Yes, yes.
Before we go into detailed instructions,
I suggest we drink to Mr. Blake's success.
- Well, that's a good idea.
- How about it?
Well, it'll taste pretty good.
You're making a mistake not telling
the public what you're doing.
- The papers are blasting at you.
- Let them.
You haven't discovered a thing
on Kruger's death.
- Not so far.
- What are you doing to investigate it?
- I don't care to say.
- I'll be perfectly frank with you.
The jury is fed up the way
you've kept them in the dark.
Those were the terms
when I took the job.
You were to deliver,
but you're getting nowhere.
You've broken up a few rackets but
you haven't gotten the men we want.
If we don't get them, they'll get us.
A lot of pressure is being brought
to bear to have us discharged.
If that happens,
all our work will have gone for nothing.
- I think you'll have some action soon.
- I hope so.
If something doesn't break
within the next two weeks...
...you're going to be let out.
Thanks for telling me.
- Did you want to see me?
- Yes.
Have these 40 men here
at 3:00 this afternoon.
Tell them to be ready for 24-hour duty.
- Things are getting warm, eh?
- Plenty.
- Got your figures, Driscoll?
- Yeah, 28,400.
- Say, that's pretty bad.
- I'll say it is.
The first time I was here,
it was about 170,000.
- It won't stay this way very long.
- Yeah?
- Aren't you gonna wait for Nick?
- No, I'll get his figures later.
- Right.
- I'll see you at the hotel.
- All set to take them the money, eh?
- Yeah.
- Shall I give them your regards?
- That's a lot of dough to go south with.
If I ever find out you don't know them,
I'm gonna drop in on you.
Yeah, like you did on Kruger.
I'll be looking for you.
- Raid.
- Coppers!
Hey, you. Throw me that bag.
- Burn those papers.
- Okay.
Let that silver go.
Come on, let's get out of here.
Stick them up.
Stick them up. Stick them up.
Outside. Come on, get them outside.
- Yeah. Here it is.
- That's it.
- Everybody get out?
- None of them got away.
You mean Blake told them.
- Blake?
- I saw him signal the cops.
Don't kid yourself
he doesn't know the bosses.
He wouldn't have pulled this
unless he was ready to clamp down.
He's gonna see them at 10:00, and
I can't warn them, I don't know them.
That makes it great for him.
I've got to get him
before he gets to them.
Yeah, if you can find him.
I've got Wires tailing him.
I'll find him.
- Hear from Blake?
- No, and he's five minutes late.
I'd feel a lot better if we'd got Fenner.
- Are the men stationed?
- Yes.
Johnny? Where are you?
112418th Street.
Did you get everyone at the garage?
Except Fenner. Couldn't find him.
Well, that's fine. Well,
don't worry about Fenner finding me.
Did you get the serial numbers?
Yes, the job's
almost washed up, Johnny.
If we grab them with money
matching those numbers, it's airtight.
They'll get it at 10 sharp.
I'm leaving here at a quarter of.
Don't make a move till I come out.
One phony sign and you'll be out of luck.
I won't.
But I'm still worried about Fenner.
Oh, forget it, Mac.
We'll be having a beer at 10:30.
So he says, "Don't worry,
the warden's betrayed you. "
Pardon me.
You're wanted on the telephone.
- Excuse me.
- Surely.
- Yes?
- Has Mr. Fenner been there this evening?
This is Mr. Kagel speaking.
When he comes in, will you please
tell him Mr. Blake phoned?
He wants to see him.
It's very important.
He's at 1124 East 18th Street.
Yes, I'll tell him. Thanks.
Pardon me, Mr. Fenner wants to see you.
- Where is he?
- In the office.
What's the idea,
coming in the back way?
The cops are after me.
Do you know any places
that Blake might be using for a hideout?
Yes. He's at 1124 East 18th Street.
He says he wants to see you.
Yeah, how do you know?
Well, someone
by the name of Kagel phoned.
- Why? What's happened?
- Nothing.
Blake's done what I said he'd do.
Put the crowd in a spot for McLaren.
- They're under arrest.
- He's working with the police?
Been working with them all the way,
and I'm gonna pay him off.
There's no telephone listed
at 1124 East 18th.
There's a phone there.
I've got to find the number.
There's no number listed at that address.
It must be a confidential number.
I'm sorry.
- Are you all right, Johnny?
- Yeah.
- Has Fenner been here?
- He's in there, on the floor.
Say, drive me over to Wall and 24th.
- Don't you wanna go uptown?
- No, I've got some business.
I was afraid he was gonna kill you.
- Well, how did you know about it?
- I told him where you were.
I didn't know what he was gonna do...
...till he told me you were
with the police again.
- You know that, huh?
- Oh, I feel like such a heel, Johnny.
After how I talked to you
that night in the hotel.
Well, you didn't know. Forget it.
I tried to be sore, but it seemed
so funny not seeing you around.
You're all through with that now,
aren't you, Johnny?
I'm so glad.
Now you can go back on the force...
...maybe in the Broadway district.
Here's where I get off.
Are you all right, Johnny?
Oh, sure, I'm all right.
Go back that way, Lee.
- I'll wait for you.
- You'll have to wait too long.
Thanks for the lift.
You're aces, Lee.
I'll remember that, Johnny.
- Good night.
- Good night, Johnny.
- Something's happened to him.
- We can't break it up now.
Hello, Blake.
- How are you, gentlemen?
- All right.
Ten o'clock on the dot.
You keep your appointments.
- I wanted to make my first job perfect.
- Good. You can open it, Hunter.
Did you have any trouble with Fenner?
We got along fine.
How does it feel
to be head of the organization?
I've been waiting for a night like this
for 15 years.
- You deserve it.
- Thank you.
Will you gentlemen need me any longer?
No, we'll get in touch with you
next week.
- Good night.
- Good night.
Good night.
Go ahead in, boys.
- What's that?
- Lock the door.
Hold it, Hollister.
I think McLaren can use that.
- Get that box, boys.
- Okay, cap.
- Put the bracelets on them.
- Yes, sir.
Have a look in that vault.
Hello, Mac.
- Did you nail them?
- Yes.
- Well, that's that.
- Who got you, Fenner?
- Yeah.
- Where is he?
He's washed up.
You check the bullets he put into me
with those...
...that killed Bryant and Kruger.
- They're all from his gun.
- You didn't miss a bet, did you?
I was wrong about that glass of beer.
But we've had lots of them.
We'll be having more, Johnny.
I'm taking you to the hospital.
It won't do any good.
- Keep kicking them into line, Mac.
- I will, Johnny.
I'd like to think that when those mugs
pass a policeman...
...they'll keep on tipping their hats.