New Orleans Uncensored (1955) Movie Script

(dynamic orchestral music)
[Narrator] This is New Orleans today.
For more than 200 years
mistress of the Mississippi,
queen of the gulf.
Traditionally known the world over
as a sleepy land of dreams and Mardi Gras,
blues and beignets, jazz and jambalaya.
The Vieux Carre, the French quarter,
practically deserted by day,
crowded with thrill-seekers
and tourists by night.
But in the last dozen years,
New Orleans has come wide
awake, full of ambition.
It made itself the second largest port
in the United States, next to New York.
Annually, 3,000 ships use
the fine harbor facilities,
handling nearly $2 billion worth of cargo.
Fortunately, so far, the
port of the legendary
Jean Lafitte has been
free of the dock pirates
and racketeers who had been
stealing $250 million a year
in New York Harbor alone.
Has New Orleans been
painstakingly vigilant
or just plain lucky?
Senator Ellender of
Louisiana has this to say.
A $2 billion bonanza is
an inevitable temptation
to criminals.
This picture shows how waterfront felons
might attempt to infiltrate even a fine,
carefully policed port like New Orleans.
Once they get a foothold, it
requires the most earnest,
unflagging effort by
public spirited citizens
to root them out, as you can
see in this motion picture.
[Narrator] The modern
port of New Orleans
still employs the shape-up,
a day-to-day casual hiring system.
The shape-up has been called
an open invitation to
waterfront criminals.
But in New Orleans, this hiring system
seems to be working out.
All right, take your lift tractor
and start with that pile over there.
Hi, Peterson, Mr. Temple.
Running a tour service, Reilly?
No, just bringing my boys on the job.
Dewey, take two men and put
'em on that crane back there
and see how many lifts you need.
This is not Pacific
Street Wharf, Reilly.
What do you think you're doing?
Did Mr. Temple tell you?
I was hoping this wouldn't happen.
Zero Saxon just contracted
to unload all Golden Gulf ships.
Here, take a look.
You have the Golden
Gulf contract, Mr. Temple.
Hey, bud, can you
tell me where I can find
the Delta surplus and salvage yard?
Apparently I had the contract.
Looks like Zero underbid me.
You gonna let Zero take over this wharf
and put our guys out of work?
They ain't gonna be in no
condition to work tonight!
[Shouting Man] That's what you think!
(dramatic music)
[Narrator] In the
administration building
of the Port of New Orleans
shortly after the riot,
a committee from the Stevedores
Contractors Association
entered a complaint.
Wayne Brandon, an executive
of the Port Commission,
presided at the special hearing.
Frank Bauer, President of
Cheney Steamship Lines,
were seated next to Howard
Temple, the complainant.
Jack Petty, business agent
for the longshoremen,
and Al Chittenden, President
of ILA, were invited.
Also Robert Chambers,
representing the cargo
insurance companies.
Gentlemen, we all regret the
occasion that brings us here.
I can assure you that the committee
is going to do everything it possibly can
to get to the bottom of this transaction.
I'm assuming of course, Mr. Saxon,
that you are paying fair rates.
We check Mr. Saxons wharves regularly.
Every man gets every
penny he's entitled to.
The committee finds no
evidence of malpractice.
The committee cannot act.
Mr. Saxon could be investigated.
Oh, no, not again!
Our ships have been using Zero Saxon's
stevedore operations for
years, and we're satisfied.
However, we've paid
more insurance claims
for pilfered cargo on Mr. Saxon's docks
than on all the rest of the harbor.
An investigation--
Just one minute, Mr. Chambers!
That ain't exactly accurate.
I've been investigated so much...
Let's talk facts.
Did anybody report any stealing?
But the loss claims.
Lost cargo, Mr. Chambers, ain't pilferage.
Check the drivers that
pick up the wrong loads,
or check the stuff that's
supposed to be loaded
on ships in foreign ports and ain't.
Any of my workers are caught stealing,
I'd crack down harder
than any of you would.
And the union will back
me up on this, right Al?
Sure thing.
[Al] Under the
circumstances, I'm afraid that
there's nothing that we
can do or say, Mr. Temple.
That'll be all, Mr. Saxon.
Are you Mack?
What can I do for you?
I'm Dan Corbett.
I wrote you from Los Angeles about this.
Oh, you're that ex-sailor.
I thought maybe you were
a crackpot or something.
Say, you mean to tell me you came
all the way down here to buy an ISM?
Your ad says $4,500
practically buys this ship.
I'll take care of the balance later.
I got the $4,500.
There she is.
And this is the stack go up over.
I use it from my office.
But I guess I can change offices.
You want to go take a look at her?
Come on, let's go.
I'm sure I can fix her up.
You want cash, or will
a check be all right?
Take it easy, kid.
What do you want with this old scrap heap?
I figured a surplus
ISM can haul yellow pine
from places other boats can't get to,
and I'll sell the lumber up
and down the Mississippi.
Might work at that.
Back in California, a couple of guys
out of San Pedro picked up a surplus ISM.
They hauled timber down from
the Northwest, down to L.A.
You know how much business
they did in their first year?
Million bucks.
You know that personally,
or did you read it?
The money I'm gonna give
you is gonna clean me out.
I gotta have more to fit
her out and shape her up.
Yeah, and for the rest of the payments.
Let's call the deal off.
No, I can raise the money!
How soon can I have the ownership papers?
Just as soon as I can get some ink
for this old fountain pen of mine.
You sure you want to go
through with this deal?
(steam whistle blowing)
Yep, I'm sure.
She's yours.
It's a deal.
Now I gotta get myself a job.
I'm gonna stay near my boat,
work on her whenever I get a chance.
Ever try the docks?
The docks?
You call that work?
What I've seen, all they
do down there is fight.
Oh, you haven't seen 'em
in their better moments,
when they're relaxing.
Do I have to?
Wait a minute!
I've got something.
Yeah, here it is.
One of the longshoremen gave me a ticket
to their picnic outta
Pontchartrain Beach tomorrow.
- Oh, no, no, no.
- Here, take it.
Come on, take it and go.
They'll all be there.
And there's no cooler spot in town
than Pontchartrain Beach
on a Sunday afternoon.
(cheerful music)
(upbeat jazz music)
How many times can you ring the bell?
(bell dinging)
Just call me big nothing.
(woman laughing)
Want to try this one?
(cranks lever)
Say, uh...
Who do I thank for this date
anyway, you or the boyfriend?
Somebody brought you to this shindig.
There it is.
(coins jangling)
Is he blind?
Well thanks!
You in his local?
What local?
Say, you're really a
stranger in paradise.
Jake Petty is the business agent
for the Longshoremen's Union.
Uh-oh, leave it to me to
pick on the boss's girl.
(chuckling) Don't let it throw you.
What are you doing here?
Well I bought a boat yesterday
from a character by the
name of Mack McCabe.
So today here I am.
So you're the one!
(chuckles) And you call him a character?
You know about the boat?
Well everybody knows Mack.
And anything Mack knows, everybody knows.
Am I doing this right?
Here, I'll check you out.
Well, you're different.
So are you, in all the right places.
Don't skid going around the curves.
Got a penny?
Oh, baby, you're gonna break me.
You know, it isn't every day
somebody lays out good
cash for a busted-up ISM.
I'm gonna need a lot of cash.
That boat's gonna take a
lot of money for repairs.
(machine jingling)
Hey, Alma, you promised me--
Oh no, take it easy now.
- Come on.
- Cut it out!
You're hurting me!
You heard the lady!
Mister, you can hit!
You know what he is?
He's the light heavyweight champ
of the longshoreman's Union.
He's still drunk.
Who are you, kid?
Dan Corbett, president of a boat line.
Who are you?
Let me handle this, Jack.
Get his weight.
Every bit of it.
been eating good.
Navy chow, three times a day.
(casual jazz music)
Hello, Pete.
Hi, Ulna.
Coffee and doughnuts.
I wouldn't kid you.
Everyone at one time or another
comes here to the cafe Du Monde.
It's a way of saying good night.
Oh no, wait a minute.
I've got my own way of saying good night.
After coffee and doughnuts here,
the boy goes to his home,
and the girl goes to hers.
It's an old New Orleans custom.
A very lovely custom for two strangers,
but by this time we're
no longer strangers.
Thanks, Pete.
From where I'm sitting, you're still
the same fellow I met at the beach today.
You should get to bed early
and get up early get yourself a job.
You're very lovely and romantic,
and I didn't hear a word you said.
(both chuckling)
You still need a job.
Like I told you, Jack Petty
takes good care of his boys,
and a smart boy can get ahead.
All right.
I'd better stay close to
you, or you might forget.
About the job, I mean.
Let's not make like
I'm a sparring partner.
When do I see you again?
I'll be around.
I always am.
Drop by the stevedores office tomorrow.
I'll try to have some news for you.
Well look, after coffee and doughnuts,
aren't you gonna show me any more
old Louisiana customs tonight?
After coffee and doughnuts,
no more customs...
Okay, Charlie, hire your crews.
You're Ronnie?
I'm Danny Corbett.
I've heard about you.
You're an ex-Navy man, huh?
Jack Petty called about you.
He likes to see a good fighter in action.
Alma Mae called Petty.
What's her interest?
I wouldn't know.
So you own half of a ship, hm?
Why do you want to work here on the docks?
Eat, learn the ropes,
might come in handy
when I get set up.
Got a big operation in mind?
No, I just want to
get ahead, stay there.
Say, how come all these guys
wear cigarettes behind their ears?
That means they want to
invest in a steady job.
Come again?
Look, there's 77 wharves in this port,
and the only way that Zero
Saxon can get enough contracts
to keep his men busy is to
underbid the other companies.
It's just one of the
tricks of the business.
How can they underbid
if they pay union rates?
Unless they kick back.
Kick back?
You make it sound like a dirty word.
A kick back's a kick
back in any language.
Let's say they invested their money.
Every man wants to work for
Zero Saxon because they know
when they work for Saxon
they work every day.
It pays off in the long run.
(upbeat jazz music)
Wives, they're all the same.
They always like to keep you waiting.
Music sounds good.
Just wait until you taste
these famous pork chops of Diamond Jim's.
They're really something.
Later on we'll take you around town
and show you the real New Orleans.
Sounds great.
I still don't know anything
about the date you've got for me.
Ah, something special,
someone you'll really like to meet,
someone that's right up your alley.
It's about time.
Hi, Sweetie!
I'm sorry we're late, but
we just couldn't help it.
Danny, this is my wife, Marie.
Danny Corbett.
So you're the fellow
with the strong right arm.
And somebody better introduce me.
I'm sorry!
This is my brother, Scrappy Durant.
Good to know you, Scrappy.
Scrappy used to be quite a fighter.
My boss, Zero, managed
him until he retired.
Now I coach the union boxing team.
That's why Joe wanted me to meet you.
Word's got around that you
got a good solid punch.
I'm glad to meet you.
(pats back)
This is my date?
Oh, Joe!
How could you?
I'm sure Mr. Corbett was expecting a...
What were you expecting?
He's lovely.
Shall we join the ladies?
Hi, Joe!
I've been looking all over town for you.
I'm sorry, honey.
I know.
Zero Saxon wants to see you.
Danny, Scrappy, take
care of Marie, will you?
If I'm too late, I'll see you at home.
I won't be too long, honey.
So long.
Come on, tourist.
We've still got a lot
of sights to show you!
(lively music)
(horse clopping)
Keep the change.
Now I can really say
I've seen New Orleans.
I've delivered you're
safe and sound tonight.
Guess I'd better be going.
No, you must come on up.
(chuckling) Excuse me.
When Joe called us at the Wits End,
he said he'd definitely made us at home.
Come on.
Okay, if that's what Joe said, but...
I've heard about guys who
had to go out the window
when the husband came home.
(chuckling) Come on.
Maybe he's asleep on the balcony.
I've got a sneaking
suspicion he's not home.
Sorry you were saddled
with my brother and me.
I guess it wasn't much fun.
I had a swell time.
For being polite.
No, honestly.
You've got a beautiful layout here.
Must've cost a lot.
I'm gonna have one like it soon.
When your ship comes in?
Oh, you heard about it too?
My boat?
She'll be all mine in about a year.
Doesn't that cost a lot of money?
It does.
But I'll get it somehow.
Don't let it cost too much, Dan.
What do you mean?
You seem like a nice fellow.
Stay that way.
You sound like you
expect something to happen.
Why not?
We're living on top of the waterfront.
Anything can happen.
Like what?
I don't know any of the
answers, only questions.
But if you're a nice
guy like I think, well,
nice guys get hurt...
Nice girls get hurt too.
So take care of yourself,
and Joe and Scrappy.
You're the kind of people I like.
So stay that way.
Sure, we'll make a deal.
We'll all watch over each other.
Did I say something wrong?
Let's have dinner
together, all of us sometime.
So long, Marie.
I said so long.
I was thinking.
Thanks for everything.
I'll see you to the door.
No, no, don't bother.
I can find my way out.
Say good morning to Joe for me.
How you doing?
That's the last of this lot.
Give me the list.
I'll check it off on the cargo boat.
No, I want to do it!
I still want to learn all the angles.
Hey, you guys!
We just unloaded this stuff!
It hasn't been checked!
What are you doing?
Confidentially, we're loading a truck!
Confidentially, let's see
how fast you can unload it!
You guys are picking up the wrong cargo.
Let's see your papers.
Go build your papers, bud.
Look, I just checked the manifest.
This stuff goes by train, not truck!
Come on, come on!
(metal door slamming)
Come on, Charlie!
All right, all right, break it up!
Come on, break it up!
What gives?
You tell me!
We're loading our truck,
and this guy comes up
starts blowing up a storm!
They're loading the wrong cargo.
I tried to tell 'em and
then this joker slugged me.
It's all right.
He's a new boy on the docks.
He won't pull a trick like that again.
Who's crazy here, you or me?
All right, boys, let's move cargo.
Come on, you men up there too,
let's go, before I dock your time.
What's the idea pulling a
grandstand trick like that?
I told you, Joe.
They were moving the wrong cargo!
Who's running this Wharf, you or me?
Look, if there's a mistake,
whose responsibility is it, yours or mine?
Okay, Joe, 1...
guess I was over-anxious.
Go on, get back to work.
Well she doesn't look like much yet,
but wait'll I finish working on her.
Just like a woman.
Enough paint, she'll look as good as new.
All you're life, you've
had to figure the angles.
Then one day along comes
an old, rusty, beat-up ISM,
and you know you've got this
whole living deal licked.
It's funny.
I've never yet found anything
that could mean that much to me.
Maybe I'm figuring the wrong angles.
You're a lonely girl, Alma, baby.
Somebody told you.
No, I saw it on your face
the first day I met you.
You're no fun when you're serious.
Look, what's the pitch?
So far I don't know a thing about you.
Every time I start talking about you,
you clam up like I was a
one-man investigating committee!
Nothing to know.
Nobody lives in a vacuum.
Hey, that's real deep stuff.
Another guy on the hook?
One you can't talk about?
Can't talk about?
Just a guy.
Let's, let's talk about the boat, hm?
Look, I'm not the marrying type either.
I figured as much.
What are you doing tonight?
My turn to share the
town from top to bottom.
I've saved up some dough.
You and your boat both
both know where you're going.
Save your money for that.
(metal clanging)
Hello, Danny.
Hiya, Scrappy!
Danny, I want you meet a
friend of mine, Pete Herman.
Pete's the ex-bantamweight
champ of the world.
Pete, this is Danny Corbett.
Any friend of Scrappy
is a friend of mine.
Glad to now you, Pete.
Hi Pete, hi Scrappy.
- Hello, Ralph.
- Hello, Ralph.
Ralph, do you know Danny Corbett?
No, I don't believe I do.
Danny, this is Ralph Dupas.
Hi, Danny.
Glad to know you Ralph.
My pleasure.
Pete, could I see you for a second.
Changed your mind, huh?
Decided to fight after all.
I need the training
to be a longshoreman.
Mind if I use the gym?
No, go ahead, it's all yours.
Thanks a lot.
Say, Scrappy?
[Scrappy] Yeah, Danny.
You're a friend of Joe's, aren't you?
Joe and Marie both, and my whole family.
Oh, nothing.
I'm just wondering how he does it
on what he makes as a dock boss.
That apartment.
Joe's all right, Danny.
I didn't say he wasn't,
just said they live very well.
Now look, if you think that...
Joe's all right, you hear?
Stop shadowboxing with me.
I like Joe too, and Marie.
Yeah, I kinda think you do, Danny.
Well Dan, it's like...
Ah, I shouldn't talk it over with you.
If not to a friend, who then?
Well it's got me worried, Dan.
They're not as happy as they used to be.
I thought that was one marriage
that'd really work out,
but now...
Well now I just don't know.
I'm having dinner with them tonight.
Some sort of celebration, Joe said.
Marie's making jamba, jamba...
Jambalaya. (chuckles)
Yeah, that's it!
I always thought it
was the name of a song.
What are they celebrating, do you know?
I know you've got a
good right hand, Danny.
Mike, you better find
out when the Artenia's Due.
That makes five, about
all we're set to handle.
Then that's it.
We mustn't be greedy, we're young yet.
(doorbell buzzing)
You smell nice.
Even during business hours?
Sure, honey.
You're important business.
Hello, Zero.
Hi, Joe.
You suppose we could
have a little talk now?
Well there's something
I've been wanting to do
for a long time, and now
I've finally got the chance.
How do you mean, Joe?
A fella's offered to set me up
on my own stevedoring outfit,
so I'd like to step on.
You really think you could pull it off?
Big job, big headache?
Big chance might mean a big flop.
Well I learned a few of
the tricks from you, Zero.
I can get the Franklin Line
contract to start with.
I'll bet you can at that.
That is, naturally,
if you're not interested
in the contract yourself.
(chuckles) You know I'm not, Joe.
I never was.
Okay, everybody, let's wish the
best of luck to boss Reilly.
- Congratulations!
- Thanks, Zero!
Thanks, everybody!
How 'bout a drink, Joe?
No, I've gotta run along.
Marie's waiting for me.
Thanks, Zero.
He's a nice guy.
Say goodnight, honey.
Go powder your nose and straighten
your seams or something.
Be a good girl, baby.
Oh, sure.
You know something?
He'll go far.
(cabinet door sliding)
(handgun clinking)
You gonna let him
walk out just like that?
Any time he decides to
talk he'll close us up.
No kidding.
Take care of that.
I want it back.
We don't get rid of it?
Not yet.
Come on!
Bye, Zero.
(suspenseful music)
(trolley bell ringing)
(car horn honking)
Hey, Joe!
Hiya, Joe!
How about a drink?
Look, it's like I told
you upstairs, fellas.
Marie's waiting for me with dinner.
So she'll wait a little longer.
What's the rush?
Oh, it's really getting late.
I gotta get going.
(tense music)
Looks like your hand's
kinda stuck to my arm.
Let's go some place.
And talk.
(tense music)
You've just seen the
Court of Two Sister--
(diners chattering)
(horn honking)
(horn honking)
(gate rattling)
(gun firing)
Joe's been working hard lately.
Later and later every night.
He says he's got something big planned.
Maybe it'll give him a lot of spare time.
I hope it's a good deal for both of you.
How can it be?
Well that's a funny approach.
Joe is working hard, isn't he?
Too hard.
You can't condemn him for trying.
I don't.
I don't have to like what he's after.
All right, I give up.
What's he after?
The brass ring on a merry-go-round
that doesn't have a brass ring.
I see.
Now I know absolutely nothing.
Good drink.
(chuckles) Thanks.
It's my own recipe.
Don't ask me what's in it.
It's never the same twice.
Joe's trying hard to get on top.
Is that wrong?
He was a stevedore when I met him.
I fell in love with Joe the stevedore,
not Joe the big man on top.
I married Joe the stevedore.
I was happy.
I don't want success or
power or big money, just...
Just Joe.
A man's got a right to dream.
You're part of that dream,
just like my boat's part of my dream.
And I want the big money someday too.
Is that a crime?
When it's a crime against one's self.
Spell that out.
He's changed too much.
People grow up.
Can't he grow up
without hurting himself?
That's the gamble a man takes
if he wants to get somewhere.
You mean that he'll never be satisfied;
the more he has, the more he wants?
I'm wasting my time.
Joe won't be happy till
he makes the big move.
And now the time has come.
Is this something you know,
or did you just dream it up?
The big deal is being made tonight.
Joe wanted it to be a surprise.
But when I found out he was
talking to Zero Saxon, well,
I wouldn't be much of a wife
if I couldn't take it from there.
Here's to you, Joe, and the big deal.
You don't know any reason why
somebody would want to kill him?
Like I said, superintendent,
everybody liked Joe Reilly.
Your best friend is found
floating in the Mississippi
with four slugs in him, and
you don't want to talk to us?
Are you afraid?
I just don't know anything
about it, that's all.
I'd help you out if I could.
Okay, go ahead, Charlie.
You can go.
I'm sorry, superintendent.
Well, what are you
making superintendent?
He may be telling the truth.
Then again, he may be afraid to talk.
What's he afraid of?
If this one New York
and a docker was murdered,
I'd guess he was mixed up in a racket,
but not in New Orleans.
No, we don't have
rackets in New Orleans.
[Narrator] All at once the
three men had the same thought.
How sure were they that the rackets
hadn't moved into New Orleans?
Wayne Brandon said he knew that racketeers
had cost New York $150 million
in pilfered cargo alone.
He was scared.
Al Chittenden explained what
this would mean to his union:
an all-out battle to keep criminals
and racketeers from exploiting his men.
And police superintendent Scheuering said
if rackets took over
the 42-mile waterfront,
he'd need not a police force but an army.
(emotional string music)
Anything I can do?
Are they...
Are they sure that it's Joe?
You know, you're...
You're wonderful taking it like this.
Am I?
I've cried for days.
I don't think I can cry anymore.
I knew he wasn't coming back.
I knew they'd kill him.
How could you know?
I know that Joe wanted to quit.
When he didn't come home,
I knew right away what had happened.
Just because he wanted to go
into business for himself...
Marie, it doesn't add up.
I wish I knew.
I wish I knew!
I know.
The man I'm married didn't just disappear.
I lost him.
A long time ago.
When he started working for Zero Saxton.
How are you, Mr. Saxon?
Is there anything I can
do for you, Mr. Saxon?
This is Mr. Chambers.
He's chief investigator for
the Maritime Insurance Group.
He's checking into some lost cargoes.
I want you to give him full cooperation,
all the help you can.
Well, what shipment was it?
Here's a signed receipt for
cargo delivered to this dock.
It never arrived in Europe.
Who's this F.A. Wilson,
the guy that signed it?
Why, the checker.
Never been a checker by the
name Wilson on this wharf.
Ever heard of him?
You know what I think?
Mr. Chambers, somebody
forged that signature.
Why, I'll bet that cargo was hijacked
before it ever reached this dock.
Mind if I look around,
watch your handling procedure?
Help yourself.
I'll get the door.
Yes, Mr. Saxon.
Look, Mack, I said
nobody opened these crates!
All right, then I won't move 'em.
You pick up that load.
Get you rig outta here.
Or we call the union.
Go ahead, call 'em.
Read the rules.
Driver's got a right to examine any cargo.
He can we refuse to pick it up.
What's the trouble, driver?
The last time I picked up a load here,
I got a hold of the wrong stuff.
This time I want to see what I'm getting,
or I don't move it.
Why don't you check the crate markings?
I checked 'em last time;
I still got the wrong cargo.
I don't understand.
Can't we open a couple of
crates just to satisfy him?
No, you like one driver open the crates,
they'd all want to do it.
We'd have pilferage and
losses all over the docks.
You have plenty of losses right now.
What are you doing?
Writing an order impounding the cargo.
I have the authority.
Impounding it!
Maybe there's nothing wrong.
But we've paid too many losses
lately to take a chance.
Mr. Chambers, I think
you're putting yourselves
through a lot of trouble for nothing.
We'll see.
But you'd better warn your men, Saxon.
I'm posting a guard on this wharf.
And if anybody touches one of these crates
before my investigation, he goes to jail.
That's the deal you stepped into, Ed.
We can't touch it without going to jail.
Once Chambers opens the
crates, were through.
A hiring boss has gotta know something
about handling delicate cargo.
How 'bout it?
What do you think I got sent up for?
The reason I asked, Dura Chemical's got
a big shipment going out of
Julia Street Wharf tonight.
Here, take a look.
Those solvents are tricky.
Juggle 'em wrong, and
it'll blow up in your face.
That's what I thought.
It's kind of a tough deal
for somebody new on a job.
But you pull this off, Ed,
you got a three-year
contract with clear sailing.
How 'bout it?
[Danny] Keep that guard up.
When are you gonna work out?
Not tonight.
In a few minutes I go on the night shift.
You don't overdo that
working department, you know.
Got to.
The boat?
How are you doing in
the dough department, Dan?
That must cost a lot of scratch.
Not too good.
Costs too much just to live.
You ever think of fighting, Danny?
Oh, I don't mean amateur.
I mean pro.
That's big money and quick.
Can't be so great if you quit.
Had a great record, right on top.
All of a sudden, boom, you retire.
Can't be such a great career.
You're gonna be late for work, Danny.
You know, you're right.
(barrel clanging)
What are you, soft in the head?
(cap twisting)
(cap tinging)
(liquid sloshing)
(strikes match)
(dramatic music)
What are you trying to do?
(engine starting)
He'll louse up the whole deal!
Don't you call me that!
He's gonna pull it off for us.
It's rotten, Jack.
That's what it is.
It's rotten!
I still don't see what you mean, Al.
All right.
Then I'll lay it on a line.
I've been around this union a long time.
I can smell a rotten setup a mile away.
And I've been telling you for three hours
you've got one in your local.
- If you just let me explain--
- What's to explain?
A foreman murdered?
An insurance investigator
ties up cargo for examination?
Go on.
Explain why it just happens
to be destroyed in a dock fire
on one of your wharves.
Those things happen, Al.
You know the waterfront.
One of my boys stopped what
could have been a big fire.
Is that rotten?
That doesn't explain
why the men won't talk.
About the murder or the fire.
They're afraid to talk.
They're scared.
Of what, Jack?
How should I know?
If they're scared, why don't they come
to their business agent for help?
I'll tell you why.
They don't trust you!
Well, if there is a
mess, which I don't admit,
don't I at least deserve a
chance to clean it up myself?
All right, Jack.
I'll give you one last chance.
Clean up this mess, or you're through
as business agent of your local.
I don't understand!
Don't anybody ever bring me any good news?
I can't help it.
Things are getting tough.
You know what Chambers
thinks about that fire.
And making an ex-con your new hiring boss
didn't help either.
You gotta do something, Zero.
You mean beside paying
you all that grease?
If Al cans me, I'm no good
to you, grease or no grease.
If Al knew the local was solid
for you, had confidence in,
trusted you, he wouldn't
dare kick you out, would he?
No, but how's he gonna think that?
Supposing the boys threw
you a testimonial dinner,
sort of a spontaneous tribute
to their business agent.
1 ain't heard anything about a spon...
taneous tribute.
That's because we didn't
tell him about it yet, stupid!
You're stupid.
Don't worry.
They'll kick in.
They'll show up too.
You better get your tux clean.
That ought to do it, Zero.
It just ought to do it.
You know something that would really
put the nuts on the cake with Al?
Give him a hero.
For instance?
For instance, a nice clean boy
who Jack Petty gave a
break to on the docks,
a boy who repaid his trust and confidence
by putting out a fire that
could have cost the city
a million bucks.
Yeah, I already told Al
about that young smoke eater.
I might even do
something for him myself.
What was his name again?
Yeah, what was his name again?
Dan Corbett.
(doorbell buzzing)
(soft music)
My protege.
They gave me your message
that you want me to stop by.
I hope you like martinis.
Thank you.
Zero thinks I'm quite a talent scout.
What's the gag?
No gang.
You've got a bonafide invitation,
and I've got to deliver you.
What difference does it make to Zero
whether I get to Jack
Petty's dinner or not?
You'll find out.
You know, you're quite a guy.
Putting out fires.
You're better at starting them.
I thought you were Zero's friend.
I'm my own friend.
Do as I please.
And so, ladies and gentlemen,
it isn't very often that
a man will risk his life
over and above the call of his job.
You know about the
incident of which I speak.
You've read it in your newspapers.
I wonder what would have happened
if this fire had gotten away.
It probably would have
meant a lot of docks burnt,
millions of dollars of
property loss, and lives,
and been a disaster in our community.
And it was all prevented by this one man.
And so, tonight, it gives
me a great deal of pleasure
to have an honor performed here.
And I'm going to call on the chief
of the New Orleans Fire
Department, Howard I. Dey,
to present a certificate of merit
to this courageous young man.
Chief Dey.
(crowd applauding)
Thank you councilman Schiro.
Ladies and gentlemen, on
behalf of the citizens
of New Orleans, it gives me great pleasure
in presenting this certificate of merit
to an outstanding hero,
Mr. Daniel Corbett.
(crowd applauding)
What was that?
Go on!
Go on up.
Go on!
Just a minute, Dan.
Now I've got something to say.
Starting tomorrow, if he wants to,
Dan can go to work for me
as assistant hiring boss
on Congress Street Wharf.
How about it, Danny?
The pay is good.
You want the job?
Do I.
(sporadic applause)
And who do you suppose
picked our young hero,
gave him his brake on the docks?
That's right, our guest
of honor, Jack Petty.
Oh, you know Jack, he
hates to make speeches.
But even without speeches,
Jack knows how we all feel about him.
But in case he should ever forget,
the boys in his local all chipped in
and got him a little reminder.
And I think it only proper
that President Al of the union
should make a presentation.
How about it?
(crowd cheering)
Danny, you've just hit the jackpot.
This is a beautiful
solid gold cigarette case.
And it's engraved to Jack Petty,
a real guy, from his boys.
(crowd cheering)
Congratulations, Jack.
Thanks, Al.
And just so everybody will
go home with something,
there are souvenirs for the ladies.
Come on, pass them all out.
Compliments of Zero Saxon.
Thank you.
Expensive stuff, huh?
Zero always thinks things
are okay if they smell pretty.
Compliments of Zero Saxon.
Cost every man on the dock a day's pay.
I can't stay, Charlie.
I came to a memorial tribute
to Joe and nothing else.
Yeah, I had enough laughs.
Hi, everybody!
Looks like my night to by the drinks, huh?
Congratulations on your new job, Danny.
I'm sure you'll make a
lot of money with Zero.
You make it sound like that's bad.
That's just fine.
Get it any way you can.
That's what they always say.
Goodnight, Dan.
Miss Worth.
We were just leaving.
I think I'll stick
around a while, Marie.
You go home with Sue and Charlie.
Goodnight, Sue.
Dan, can I talk to you a while alone?
Go ahead.
I'll dance with Zero.
A little while, okay?
I don't know why, but I sure laid an egg
with Marie and Charlie.
There's a lot of things
you don't know, Dan.
One of them's how much you hurt Marie.
Hurt Marie?
Dan, look, we both like you.
She doesn't want to see you get
all mixed up the way Joe did.
You're gonna give me a line about Zero?
Look, I've been keeping my mouth shut.
But my ears and eyes are working overtime.
That stevedore corporation of Zero's,
that's just a coverup
for his real operation,
big-time smuggling and
pilfering on the docks.
And that dame you're with tonight,
she's the one that fingers
that cargoes for him.
Why, she only works in the
stevedore contracting office
to get information for Zero.
Your crazy.
I've worked on Zero's docks.
He couldn't possibly get away with it.
Oh yeah?
Did you ever hear of the old shell game?
Find under which walnut is the pea.
Where do you think he's doing it?
(dishes clanging) (hollers)
I'll explain it to you some other time.
Maybe you're right, maybe not.
But why pick on me?
I told you, Danny.
We like you.
Do you think I'd be sticking
my neck out like this
if I didn't think you were
being played for a sucker?
Suppose I work for Zero
and I tell him how you feel.
I don't think you're a squealer, Danny.
It's like you scratch
my back and so forth.
You saved us a bundle by
putting out that fire.
Now we want to do you a turn.
So we'll pay a $200 week to start.
And that's only to start.
Later on, you make good,
you get a cut of the
business, like Joe did.
I never thought I'd make that much money.
Without stealing it.
What are you getting at, kid?
From all I've heard, you operate
just like everybody else, only smarter.
Why, sure, kid!
You gotta be smart unless you want
to work in a bargain basement!
All I want us to own my own boat
and head up the river to the tall timber.
Up the river.
Tall timber.
I like poetry.
So get some sleep.
We'll see you later.
No, we'll see she gets home all right.
Don't think we blame you,
Danny boy, for being careful.
As a matter of fact, we appreciate it.
We don't want to hire
the wrong guy, either.
I like poetry too.
We'll see ya.
See ya.
Who got to him?
How do you mean?
He didn't hear nothing on the docks.
I could tell.
Somebody got to him after I offered him
the job at the banquet.
I saw him talking to Scrappy.
They was yappin' like two old maids.
I noticed how Scrappy's changed
ever since Joe Reilly was killed.
He just might talk too much.
Marie's his sister,
and he's her brother.
You know what I mean?
We can't stand the
heat of another killing!
Unless maybe we got
Scrappy one more fight.
This guy's just a plain
squealer, an A1 stooly.
That's why you gotta be
a little more careful
who you talk to.
The little punk went to the boss
and told him everything you said.
Do yourself a favor.
From now on, keep your lip buttoned up.
Let him go, stupid!
All right, that's enough!
Okay, double-crosser.
I'm gonna teach you a
lesson you'll never forget.
Come on, fight!
(breathing heavily)
What's the matter?
I hit you too hard?
You want to run and tell Zero about it?
[Dan] Scrappy!
Come on, get your hands up.
(dramatic music)
[Boxer] Dead.
I couldn't.
I didn't hit him that hard.
[Boxer] That may work out with you.
He never worked out with anyone.
He wasn't sparring.
He came in the ring like a wild man.
Just a couple minutes ago,
he was talking to Deuce and Big Mike.
Take it easy, kid. (Dan sobbing)
Accidents happen.
Nobody can explain 'em.
You didn't kill him.
He had no right to fight.
I tell you, I killed him.
I don't know.
He seemed sore about something.
I don't know why...
but he kept hitting me and hitting me.
Then I hit him.
Just once.
It wasn't hard.
I've hit a lot of guys harder.
And Scrappy was a fighter.
He went down.
And he never moved.
I've been trying to figure it.
Why, why?
His heart.
What about his heart?
He had a bad heart.
A doctor told him
another fight'd kill him.
Who know about this?
Just a few.
Scrappy was too proud to let on.
That's why he quit the fight ring.
Zero knew; he used to manage him.
Deuce and Big Mike were there.
They'd been talking to him.
Oh my God.
Let me have the Port
Commission office, please.
Brandon, please. Mr. Brandon.
Mr. Brandon, this is Dan Corbett.
[Narrator] The secret
meeting between Dan Corbett
and Wayne Brandon took place
in the private quarters
of the Hampshire, an
exclusive business man's club.
Brandon invited police
superintendent Scheuering
and Al Chittendon to sit in with him.
Dan began by telling them his idea
of the reason for Scrappy's death.
Somehow, through Mike and Deuce,
Zero managed to get Scrappy
in the ring with me.
The rest you know.
Just what is Zero's set up?
Big time pilfering mainly.
But with sidelines: smuggling, kickbacks,
special collections, short games.
Now you see why I wanted you two here.
I just don't see how Zero
can get away with pilfering.
It has to be a big operation with contacts
to finger the cargo.
Zero has got a girl planted
in the Stevedores Contracting Association.
The checkers and dock bosses are in on it.
He even operates the new
Dixie truck line as a blind.
But with label crates, ships manifest,
signed receipts, how can he manage it?
Well, the way she Scrappy explained it,
it's like the old shell game.
Here, I'll try to show you what I mean.
Al, would you pass me a
couple of those matches.
A couple of them.
The shells.
But instead of using shells,
Zero uses a ship, a
warehouse, and a truck.
Oh, yes.
Instead of one pea, he uses two,
just to make it more complicated.
Now let's say that this is
the valuable cargo Zero wants.
It's on the ship, and it's unloaded
on, say, Pointer Street Wharf.
Now, Zero sends down one of his trucks,
brings in a load of crates marked
exactly the same way
as the valuable cargo.
Pea number two.
In the dock warehouse, the papers
are switched from the original cargo,
the legitimate cargo, to the phony crates.
The truck comes in,
picks up the phony crates
instead of the cargo it should have.
And what if the insurance
companies were late,
try to trace that transaction
back months later?
Afterward, when things are quiet,
Zero sends back his truck to
pick up the valuable cargo.
What about shipments going abroad?
They just reverse the process,
load the phony crates on the ship.
By law, Zero has to
keep exact dock records.
They have been inspected,
so he'd have to doctor
the cargo book and keep
a file of phony invoices.
And Jean Lafitte
thought he was a pirate.
All we have to do now is to tail
Zero's new dixie trucks
whenever one leaves the docks.
No, that's no good.
Because that cargo may be reloaded
two or three times, maybe even recreated.
Even so, if we stop
the trucks, we stop Zero.
Until we find out where
the trucks finally end up.
What about radio?
The Navy used radio oscillators
and directional antennae as locators.
Now, if we could plant one of those small
transmitting oscillators in
the stolen cargo on the docks,
why your radio cars would
have no trouble following
that cargo, no matter how many
times it was transshipped.
Our radio section could rig
up the oscillators, but then--
But what?
But there's still the matter
of planting them in the right cargoes.
I think I could take care of that.
Zero just made me assistant dock boss.
I could keep that job until
the oscillators are planted.
I guess I don't have to warn you
if Zero should find out you talked to us.
No, you don't.
I remember what happened
to Joe Reilly and Scrappy.
Brandon will notify you when
the oscillators are ready.
Then it'll be up to you.
You'll be on your own.
Be careful.
Good luck.
It'll be worth a try.
Thank you gentlemen.
(anxious music)
[Narrator] Not long after the meeting,
Dan got his chance to place
one of the oscillators.
What do you think you're doing?
Oh, the corner of the case was smashed.
I was just nailing it up.
Anybody catch you
doing that kind of work,
you'll have the union on your neck.
Thanks a lot.
See, I don't know all the union rules yet.
[Narrator] As soon as
Zero Saxon's new Dixie truck
pulled out with the shipment
containing the oscillator,
the police car's antenna
was quick to spot it,
and it was easy to follow the shipment.
(anxious music)
(bell clanging)
All right, men, let's
get this stuff moving!
(tense music)
(high-pitched tone)
Target stopped, tranship once,
seems to have settled down for the night.
Bearing 137.
137, Pointer Street Wharf.
[Officer] It's a Europe
30 Lafayette and Delta,
final bearing 286.
286, Lafayette and Delta.
Well, there it is.
That's where our transmitter ended up.
You know that location, superintendent!
Do I?
One of the biggest
warehouses in the city,
Challenge Distributors.
Big firm, important,
respectable so to speak.
Doesn't seem possible they
could be handling stolen goods.
We'll know for sure when we raid 'em.
But first, we must find out
how many more outlets Zero has.
[Narrator] Only a short time later,
after following through
the same procedures,
police superintendent
Scheuering had his information.
Besides Challenge Distributors,
Zero had two more outlets:
General Wholesale, and last, Ace Storage.
Now they were ready to move in on Zero.
Hey, Frank, what's this all about?
I thought I'd better bring it.
It was in one of the
crates from the docks.
(flips switch)
(soft string music)
(high-pitched tone)
Somebody's getting too smart!
I don't like clever people!
What is it, Zero?
It's a small transmitter to
trace those crates by radio.
The police?
Better pack all this stuff
back into crates like it was.
Get it back on the docks pronto!
What about the dock records?
They check those receipts
against the cargo book.
We'll fix the records!
Get going!
What are you doing?
Thought I'd call up
and get the boys started.
If they planted oscillators,
they bugged the phone too!
Do as I told you!
Okay, Zero.
This thing didn't crawl
in that crate by itself.
Somebody helped it.
Somebody who's a little too
clever to be around, anywhere.
(horn honking)
(horn blaring)
(dialing phone)
[Man] Hello.
Hello, Jim?
- Yeah.
- This is Mike.
Look, I think there's
an undercover police car
across the street, so I can't come in.
The boss wants you to
pack all those crates.
- All of 'em.
- Yeah.
Boss wants you to pack all those crates
just like they were and
get 'em back to the docks.
(muffled speech)
- What?
[Joe] What about the record?
Zero will take care of that.
You just get those crates
bat to the dock quick.
If that cargo gets back on the docks,
our evidence is gone.
If we stop the trucks, they'll know
we're monitoring their warehouse calls.
1 think we can fix that.
(dialing phone)
Al speaking.
Yeah, I want all the men
pulled off Zero Saxon's stops.
Right now.
Yeah, it's a strike.
Too many accidents.
Whatever signs you got.
And get this.
Tell the pickets to let no
one on or off the docks.
Zero will never put that
stolen cargo back now,
not through our picket lines.
See you later.
Who could it be?
We checked on everybody
that had a chance to do it.
Could it be Alma May?
Chance to do what?
Plant a...
An oscalator, or you know what I mean.
Something you'd put in a
crate or something like that.
A what?
She didn't do it.
It had to be planted on the docks.
Whoever did it knew what we were after,
opened the crates, stuck it
in, then nailed it up again.
Have you checked Dan Corbett?
I caught him nailing
up one of those crates.
He said it was smashed.
Nah, he's too new.
He could never figure
out the setup this fast.
Wait a minute!
He's clever, he's smart!
And he talked to Scrappy
a little too much.
Ed, you better bring him up here, quick.
Zero, I think you're right.
(truck rattling)
This is special unit A
outside the Challenge warehouse.
Loaded truck just came out of the building
and turned down toward the docks.
Okay, we've got it.
Just sit tight where you are.
This is superintendent Scheuering.
Dispatch the three special
details to the warehouse.
I'll be with the dock detail.
[Intercom] Yes, sir.
What are we doing, playing catch?
We were wondering if you
had ever seen it before,
that's all.
What is it?
How would I have seen it before?
When you planted it in that smashed
cargo crate on the docks!
(tense music)
You're very clever and smart, Danny boy.
Now don't start acting dumb.
(tense music)
(horn honking)
Sorry, pal.
President Al's orders.
Nobody gets on this dock
till the strike's over.
What do you want me to do?
Beat it.
Okay, okay.
(phone ringing)
Hold it.
What, a picket line on all my docks?
No, you sit tight.
We'll handle it.
The union boss has pulled all his men
out for contract violations.
The truck can't get
through the picket line!
That does it.
Ed, you and Deuce get down
to Mully's and the fat Frenchman's.
Pay the boys anything you have to.
Tell 'em they're gonna
bust the picket line.
Start enough trouble to draw
any guards away from the office
so I can get rid of the cargo records.
Get going!
(cabinet door sliding)
[Big Mike] Why give him a gun?
Because it's the one that
killed Joe Reilly, that's why.
If he has talked, a nice murder charge,
complete with a beautiful
set of fingerprints
might make him change his testimony.
I'll leave you to watch him.
(tense music)
Out on strike, Charlie?
That's what the signs say.
Better get your boys out of the way.
We're unloading a ship for Zero.
And if your men try to stop
us, they're gonna get hurt.
Nobody crosses that line.
(dramatic music)
Talk to the cops.
They'll give you a break.
Suppose they won't.
It'd be worth a chance.
If they picked up with Zero,
it'll be nothing short of murder.
Trust me, I'll go to bat for you.
Shut up, you punk!
(tense music)
All right, Danny boy.
Now you can tell the police I helped you.
(dramatic music)
(gun firing)
(guns firing)
(police siren wailing)
(upbeat music)
Well there she is.
Still in awful shape,
but she's almost mine.
What do you think of that?
You know, I never quite
believed that boat story.
That's a fine attitude!
(Marie chuckling)
Don't blame me, lady.
I tried to talk him out of it.
[Radio Reporter] We
interrupt this program
for a special news bulletin
on the Zero Saxon case.
On the basis of additional evidence
from the New Orleans
Police Crime Laboratory,
the grand jury this morning indicted
Floyd Zero Saxon for the
murder of Joe Reilly.
Ballistic tests proved conclusively
that the bullets taken
from a young longshoreman
named Corbett were fired from the same gun
as those found-- (dial clicks)
You know, it's lucky
Zero was such a good shot.
Just suppose he missed you.
Say, if you two are gonna
start painting the boat,
you'd better get going.
Okay, captain.
(sentimental music)
[Narrator] So a young
California ex-sailor,
trying to buy a boat,
happened to be the key
to breaking the waterfront
dictatorship of Zero Saxon,
which had threatened the
position of historic New Orleans
as the second greatest
port of the United States.
(emphatic orchestral music)