Miller's Crossing (1990) Script

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CASPAR: I'm talking about friendship.

I'm talking about character. I'm talking about...

Hell, Leo, I ain't embarrassed to use the word. I'm talking about ethics.

You know I'm a sporting man. I like to lay the occasional bet.

But I ain't that sporting.

When I fix a fight, say I pay a 3-to-1 favorite to throw a fight, I got the right to expect that fight to go off at 3-to-1 .

But when I bet with this son of a bitch Bernie Bernbaum, before I know it, the odds even up.

Or, I'm betting on the short money. The sheeny knows I like sure things.

He's selling the information I fixed the fight.

Out-of-town money pours in. The odds go straight to hell.

I don't know who he's selling to, maybe the Los Angeles combine.

Bernie ain't satisfied with the honest dollar he can make off the vig, or the business I do on his book. He is selling tips on how I bet.

So part of the payoff that should ride on my hip rides on someone else's.

So back we go to these questions.




So it's clear what I'm saying?

As mud.

It's getting so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight.

Now if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?

For a good return, you gotta bet on chance.

Then you're back with anarchy. Right back in the jungle.

That's why ethics is important. What separates us from the animals, the beasts of burden, beasts of prey, ethics.

Whereas Bernie Bernbaum is a horse of a different color, ethics-wise.

As in, he ain't got any.

-You sure it's Bernie selling you out? -It ain't elves.

-No one else knows about the fix? -No one without ethics.

LEO: What about the fighters that tank out? -We only pick those we can threaten.

Any other bookies know? You play anyone else's book?

-I sometimes bet with Mink Larouie. -It ain't Mink.

LEO: How do you know? -It ain't Mink. He's Eddie Dane's boy.

Of course. The Dane always knows about the fix.

What the hell does that mean?

Let it drift. It means a lot of people know.

I guess you ain't been listening. Sure, other people know.

That's why we question character to determine who's chiseling in on my fix.

And that's how we know it's Bernie Bernbaum, the Shmatte Kid.

Because ethically, he's kind of shaky.

So you wanna kill him.

For starters.

Sorry, Caspar. Bernie pays for protection.

Leo, I ain't asking for permission. I'm telling you as a courtesy.

-It's gonna get done. -You'll have trouble.

You came to see if I'd kick if you killed Bernie. There's your answer.

I pay off to you every month like a greengrocer, more than the Shmatte, and I'm getting the high-hat!

LEO: You pay off for protection, like everyone else.

Far as I know, the cops haven't closed your dives, and the DA hasn't touched any of your rackets.

You haven't bought a license to kill bookies. I ain't selling any.

So take your flunky and dangle.

I'm not some guinea fresh off the boat you can kick.

I'm too big now. I'm sick of taking the strap from you.

I'm sick of marching in here to kiss your Irish ass!

And I'm sick of the high-hat!

You's fancy-pants, all of youse.

Johnny, you're exactly as big as I let you be and no bigger, and don't forget it. Ever.

That's right, Leo. You're the big shot around here.

And I'm just some schnook likes to get slapped around.

Twist a pig's ear, watch him squeal.

Bad play, Leo.

-You got up the wrong side, huh? -Same side as always.

That's what I mean. Still owe Lazarre money?

-I could put it right for you. -I don't need it.

You haven't played a winner in weeks. People'll talk if he breaks your legs.

-People'll say I had it coming. -They'll be right.

Call me a big-hearted slob, but I'll square it.

I think I'll do that this very same night.

Looking at you moping around takes away my... What do you call it?

-Joy de veever? -Joie de vivre.

-If you laugh at me, the hell with you. -The hell with you.

I'll square myself with Lazarre. That's why God invented cards.

-There's one thing you can do. -Name it.

Think about what protecting Bernie gets us and what offending Caspar loses us.

-You know I don't like to think. -Yeah.

Well, think about whether you should start.

TAD: Wake up, Tommy.

I am awake.

TAD: Your eyes are shut. -Who you gonna believe?

-How'd I do? -What do you think?

You are a millionaire. You gonna remember your friends?

-Where's me hat? -You bet it, mug.

Good thing the game broke up before you bet your trousers.

-Who made off with me hat? -Verna. Verna and Mink.

-Who? -Mink and Verna.

-Is Thunderclap running tonight? -Thunderclap?

-Yeah. -What's she leaving at?

3-to-1 , more than likely.

Lay off, Tom. You shouldn't go deeper in the hole.

Tell Lazarre I want 500 on the nose.

You would have it.

TOM: I want me hat.

Is that all you came for?

Yeah. I want me hat.

It's mine. I won it.

-What are you gonna do with it? -Drop dead.

TOM: I need a drink.

Why didn't you say so?


Hello, Tommy. Sorry about the hour.

I'll live. What's the rumpus?

Can I come in?


TOM: Drink? LEO: I wouldn't mind.

-I tried calling earlier. -I got home late.

-Well, I'm sorry about the hour. -Uh-huh.

Not bad.

-Better than the paint we sell. -That it is. That it is.

-You thought about cutting Bernie loose? -Can't do it, Tommy.

That's sort of why I'm...

-Tommy, I don't know where Verna is. -Uh-huh.

I know you're thinking, "What's new?"

-But the situation now, I'm worried. -She can take care of herself.

-Maybe better than you can. -What does that mean?

Want another one?

LEO: No.

What does that mean?

-How far has she got her hooks into you? -That's a hell of a question.

It's a grift. If she didn't need you to protect her brother from Caspar, you think she'd take slow carriage rides with you?

That's the deal, isn't it? You protect Bernie till Caspar cools down?

You're a prickly pear.

-What's wrong with that? -Nothing. I don't blame her.

She sees the angle, you, she plays it. She's a grifter, just like her brother.

From grifter parents and grandparents. They'll spawn grifter kids.

Stop it. I don't like to hear my friends run down.

-Friendship has nothing to do with it. -You'd do anything to help friends.

Wrong, Leo. You do things for a reason.

You know all the angles. Christ, better than anybody.

Maybe you're wrong about this. You don't know what's in her heart.

If she's such an angel, why are you looking for her at 4:00 a.m.?

-I put a tail on her this afternoon. -Uh-huh.

I asked Rug Daniels to follow her around.

To keep her out of trouble. Wasn't to spy.

I was worried. With Caspar, you can't be too careful.

What did Rug say?

That's just it. Nothing. He's disappeared.

So you've lost your lady friend and her tail?

I guess it sounds pretty sorry.

Help me out. I don't know where to look.

You know Rug's crowd and Verna's.

I'm worried, with the way things are with Caspar.

You shouldn't be confronting Caspar. You can't trade body blows with him.

I reckon I can still trade body blows with any man in this town.

Except you, Tom.

And Verna.

Okay, give me the needle.

I am a sap.

I deserve it.

Thanks for the drink.

Let me know if you hear anything.

Who was that?


He's looking for you.

Did you tell him I was here?


Did you put in a good word for my brother?


-You said you would. -I said I'd think about it.

What did you tell him?

-Did you see Rug Daniels last night? -No.

What did you tell Leo?

I told him you were a tramp and he should dump you.

You're a son of a bitch, Tom.

-What's the rumpus? -Mink.

-You got your hat back. -What of it?

Nothing. It ain't my business. Bernie wants to see you.

-I'm not made of glass. -He's nervous in public.

He's nervous. In the spot he's in, who wouldn't be?

He wants you to ask Leo to watch him. Leo listens to you.

Not that Leo wouldn't help the Shmatte anyway.

-I don't get it. -What's to get?

-You're Dane's sycophant. -I can have more than one friend.

I don't want Dane to know, but a guy like Bernie?

For a sheeny, he has good qualities.

What's going on with you and Bernie?

Nothing. We're friends. You know, amigos.

You're a fickle boy, Mink.

If Eddie Dane finds out you got another amigo, -I doubt he's the understanding type. -How's he gonna find out?

Damn it, Tom. You and me ain't even been talking! Jesus!


LEO: Hello, Tommy.

You know O'Doole and the mayor.

I ought to. I voted for him six times last May.

And that ain't the record either.

Verna turned up. She's downstairs.

-She say where she been? -No. I didn't press her.

-You hear about Rug? -Yeah, R.I.P.

They took his hair. Jesus, that's strange. Why would they do that?

Maybe it was Injuns.

Eyties, more like it.

Giovanni Casparro.

So you figure Caspar bumped Rug?

-It's pretty obvious, ain't it? -Yeah? So, what's the plan?

Jump on the guinea with both feet. Give him the lowdown.

Leo just reminded us that Mr. Caspar operates several clubs in our city, wherein the patrons imbibe rum and play games of chance.

-We're to stop the party. -They don't look happy about it.

-It ain't that. -We do as we're told.

Stirring this up won't be good for anyone. It'll mean killing.

-I can't just lay down to Caspar. TOM: You could do worse.

Bernie is a small price to pay for peace.

It's business. A war will hurt everybody.

Bernie plays with fire, he must deal with the consequences.

That ain't even the point anymore.

He pooped Rug. The day I back down, Caspar's welcome to this town and my place.

-I didn't start this... -You did. You and Verna.

-We can dangle, if you'd prefer. -Sit down! We're all friends!

Caspar hasn't broken the rules. Bernie and you have.

If you call a war, you have more to lose than Caspar.

But more to beat him with! We have faced worse odds!

Never without reason. It helps to have one.

It's your call. My opinion used to count for something around here.

-It's always yours to take or leave. -Come on, it's not like that.

Goddamn it!

Goddamned kids just like a twist.

Give me a stiff one.

No small talk, huh?

-They shoot your horse? -If there's any justice.

-Verna around? -In the ladies' room.

You got Lazarre's 500?

-He'll have to carry me. -He won't like that.

-Couldn't you get it from Leo? -It's not Leo's debt.

-I'll pay in me own way. -I admire a man of principle.

Does this go on the tab?

Close your eyes, ladies, I'm coming through.

-Who's the war paint for? -Go home and dry out.

You don't need it for Leo. He already thinks you're Miss Jesus.

-What's wrong with you? -Afraid people may get the right idea?

Leo has the right idea. I like him. He's honest and has a heart.

-So opposites attract. -Mind your own business.

-This is. I intimidate helpless women. -Then find one and intimidate her.

Leo's gonna shoot himself in the foot for you.

-I don't know what you mean. -He's fighting for Bernie.

-Leo's a big boy. -He used to be.

You want me to pretend I don't care what happens to Bernie?

He's my brother. I don't want him to get hurt.

If Leo wants to help, I'll show him a good time. There's no harm.

-There's a name for that arrangement. -I'll do what I have to for Bernie.

Regardless of what you think of me, Bernie's a decent guy.

-A straight shooter, huh? A square gee? -Sneer at him like everyone else.

Just because he's different, people think he's a degenerate, scum.

-Well, he's not. -Poor, misunderstood Bernie.

What is this about, Tom?

You want me to stop seeing Leo? Why don't you just say so?

-Quit pointing Leo where to go. -I forgot. That's yourjob, right?

I'll do what I must to protect Leo. I'm asking you to leave him alone.

If I told him about us, your pull would dry up.

-Yours too. Don't threaten me. -Don't play me for a sucker.

-That kind of game won't work with me. -You think last night was campaigning?

I can see the angles.

If old ladies were wanted, you'd have your grandma in line.

-You're a rumhead. -And I love you, angel.

I suppose you think you raised hell.

Sister, when I've raised hell, you'll know it.



MAN: Lazarre wants his money now. -I need a few days.

-Why's that? -Because I don't have it.

-How do l know you ain't got it? -Because I say so.

That ain't gonna convince us.

-What would be good enough? -Lazarre won't like it.

Tell Lazarre he can send someone over to break me legs. I won't squawk.

-Hello, Bernie. -Hello, Tom. What's the rumpus?

TOM: Come on in. Make yourself at home. -You weren't here, so I did that.

I didn't answer the phone, though. Figured it wasn't for me.

I get it. Get to the point, huh? The point is, I'm a good guy.

-I've heard that a lot. -Good guy, lots of friends.

If you appreciated me more, you wouldn't make waves with Leo.

It's a bad time to do that. We're both in a jam.

You're on a bad streak, short of funds.

I've got that crazy dago mad at me. Don't ask me why.

I'm a small timer getting by, like everyone else.

I need help from friends. Like Leo and you.

-Leo gets Verna. What's for me? -Come on.

It wasn't my idea. You know she'll sleep with anyone.

She even tried to teach me something about bed artistry. You believe that?

My own sister.

Some crackpot idea about saving me from my friends.

-She's a sick twist all right. -She speaks highly of you.

You stick by your family.

I can pay your debt if that would make us friends. A guy can't have too many.

Big payday Saturday. You could be in on it.

Another fix? Which fight?

That's confidential now. But it needn't stay that way.

How come you know about it? Caspar isn't laying any more bets with you.

You must have Mink jumping through hoops.

Like I say, you can't have too many.

We got a deal?

I'll think about it.

I wouldn't want it any other way.

TOM: Hey, Adolph.

-My credit still good with you? -Mm.

-Give me 1 00 across on Tailor Maid. -Lazarre won't like it.

-Try 50 across. -I'll try.

-You'll owe another 1 50. -Only if I lose.

The way you're going...

-Horses got knees? -I don't know. Fetlocks.

If I was a horse, I'd be on my fetlocks praying you don't pick me.

-Drift, small guy. ADOLPH: Drop dead, ape.

Boss wants you. He didn't have time to engrave nothing formal.


CASPAR: What do you mean he's eating too much? What's the goddamn doctor know?

-What you eat for lunch? -A hot dog.

-Just a hot dog? -A hot dog and mustard.

A hot dog and mustard?

A hot dog...

A hot dog and mustard!

You hear that, Dane? My kid is as smart as a whip!

Even Uncle Eddie thinks that's funny.


Go ahead. Which hand is the penny in?

Choose again.

Okay. Here you go. Take the shiny new penny.

Take the kid and wait in the car. Give him a penny, boys!

-I ain't got a penny, boss. -That's a penny you owe him.

Hello, Tom. What's the rumpus? You like kids?


Have a seat. Go ahead.

You're missing out on a complete life. I know, kids, big deal.

But still, I'm telling you...

Anyways, thanks for coming by.

I just wrote this check to Lazarre.

For 1 500. More than you owe, but you could use some money on credit, a high roller like you. What do you say?


Always the yapper, huh? Well, you're welcome.

Wanna know why I'm squaring you with Lazarre?

Not particularly.

I want everyone to be friends. I do this, you're friends with Lazarre, you're friends with me.

All you gotta do to show you're a friend is give me Bernie.

You know it's right.

The Shmatte steals from me. I can't have Leo giving him a shiny new penny.

So I give you Bernie, smooth over Leo, and you pay Lazarre.

Yeah, then we're all friends again. You, me, Leo, the Dane.

We can maybe have tea sometime.

Come on, Eddie. Friends is a mental state. What do you say, kid?

-I'll think about it. -He'll think about it.

Hear that? He's a thinker. That's terrific.

-Does he want a pillow for his head? CASPAR: Think about it.

It's a mental state.

If it'll help you think, you should know if you don't do this, you won't be in any shape to walk out of here.

Would that be physically orjust a mental state?

CASPAR: That ain't friendly, kid.

I make you a nice offer, you give me the high-hat.

Hold it.

Jesus, Tom.



TOM: Just in the nick of time, huh?

Well, no harm done. Unless your friend broke his foot.

-Where am I? -Johnny Caspar's pleasure dome.

Same as when you left us 1 0 seconds ago.

How are you? Care to scrape a knuckle on your playmate here?

No, thanks, Delahanty.

If you change your mind, we'll be interrogating for a while.

-What was that party about? -We do it every week.

-What is the matter with you people? -They said make it hurt, so we do.


Drink, O'Doole?

I'm on duty.

To Volstead.


-Any news about Rug? -Still dead, far as I know.

-Get a slug out of him? -Yeah, a .22.

I'm just the chief around here, so don't tell me if you don't wanna, but what's Leo doing?

Make him listen. It ain't right, this fuss over one sheeny.

Let Caspar have Bernie. We're burning our meal ticket here.

Leo'll do what suits him, you'll obey. He still runs this town.

He won't be for long if this keeps up. It's no good for anyone. You said so.

First off, I can say what I please to Leo and about him. You can't.

Second, once Leo decides, that's that.

There are plenty of other coppers who wouldn't mind being chief.

Jesus, Tom, I was just speculating about a hypothesis.

I know I don't know nothing.

It's just a... It's just a damn mess is all.


O'DOOLE: A goddamn mess!


Hello, officer. I'd like to report an intruder at 346 West Louis...

Who's this? Hello, Shad.

Tom Reagan here.

No, we won't be needing any today.

My mother didn't recognize me. I want Mulvaney.

-Miss me? -Drop dead.

Sean? Tell O'Doole to get a car to Leo's tonight.

If we're banging away at Caspar, let's be ready for him to bang back.

-What do you want? -I was in the area, feeling daffy.

So I thought I'd drop in for an aperitif.

-Rug Daniels is dead. -Gee, that's tough.

Don't get hysterical.

I've had enough excitement without a dame going weepy on me.

-I barely knew the man. -Bit of a shakedown artist.

Not above the occasional grift. You'd understand that.

All in all not a bad guy. If looks, brains and personality don't count.

-You better hope they don't. -We're not the saint your brother is.

-Who killed him? -Leo thinks Caspar.

-But you know better. -I do now.

Caspar wants to fix his tiff with Leo, which he'd hardly do if he was warring.

So I figure you killed him, angel. You or "Saint Bernard."

Why would I, or my brother, kill Rug or anybody else?

Rug was following you. He knew about you and me.

That wouldn't help your play with Leo.

You think I murdered someone? Come on, Tom. You know me a little.

-Nobody knows anybody. Not well. -You know or you wouldn't be here.

Not at all. I came to hear your side of the story.

How horrible Rug was, how he goaded you, shook you down.

-That's not why you came. -Why?

-The oldest reason. -I know friendlier places.

-Why can't you admit it? -What?

You don't like me seeing Leo because you're jealous.

Admit you've got a heart, even though it may be small, and you can't recall when you last used it.

If we were casting feelings into words, I'd have memorized the Song ofSolomon.

Maybe that's why I like you, Tom.

I never met anyone made being a son of a bitch such a point of pride.

Though one day you'll pay the price for it.

Okay, Verna. But until then, let's get stinko.

Let's do something else first.

TOM: Yeah. Let's do plenty.




From glen to glen And down the mountain side The summer's gone And all the roses falling

'Tis you, 'tis you must go And l must bide But come ye back When summer's in the meadow Or when the valley's hushed And white with snow

'Tis I'll be here in sunshine Or in shadow

Oh, Danny boy I love you so

But come ye come


And all the flowers are dying If I am dead As dead I well may be You'll come and find the place Where I am lying


And I shall hear Tho' soft you tread above me

Will warm and sweeter be

For you will...

And tell me that you love me And I will sleep in peace Until you come To me

-Who's winning? -We are, for the nonce.

-What's the disposition? -4-to-1 . Dana burned in the house.

-And theirs? -One burned.

-The other three? -Lead.

-Whose? -Leo's.

-He's still an artist with a Thompson. LEO: Yeah, do that.

Well, find him, goddamn it!

Go and see if he fell in the john.

Son of a bitch. No chief. Who's manning the goddamned store?

TOM: Can't raise O'Doole? -No, nor the mayor either.

That's not good. They're running.

-They wouldn't dare. -I told you not to hit Caspar's club.

-I'm still here. -He hurt you anyway.

That son of a bitch slit his own throat.

Last night made you look vulnerable.

You run this town because people think you do.

They stop thinking it, you stop running it.

Sounds like a bad break for me I wasn't killed.

Start taking Caspar seriously.

Retreat to win. Give up Bernie. That'll solve our problems.

Not anymore. Fighting with a psychopath gets you nowhere.

It makes people choose sides when you look shaky.

The hell I do.

Where's the mayor? Why aren't the police here?

-Why weren't cops at your place? -I didn't ask for any.

I did.

Mother hen, eh? What's the matter?

-Think I can't take care of myself? -You can't.

The smart play. Give Bernie up. Let Caspar think he's made his point.

-Wait for him to show a weakness. -Please.

You're risking your neck for a guy who'd chop you off at the heels for two bits.

Tom, things aren't as clear-cut as you make it.

Bernie's... Hell, you know about me and Verna.

Things now are...

Not that I haven't been a gentleman, but...

I plan to ask her to marry me, Tom.

I guess you think that's a bonehead play.

-You think she wants you to? -How the hell do I know?

I think she does. Of course she does.

I know you think different, but, well, we just differ on that.

-Leo, Caspar didn't kill Rug. -Of course he did.

No. Think about it just this once. Who was Rug following?


It's not that sinister. A strange man follows her down a dark alley at night.

Verna wouldn't panic, shoot someone for following her.

No, it didn't happen like that, she'd have told me.

They pulled a .22 slug out of him. A woman's gun.

I know you don't like it, Tom, but I trust Verna as much as I trust you.

Okay, Leo. Maybe it wasn't that innocent.

Maybe Rug knew something she didn't want you to know.

Maybe he knew where she was sleeping, and who with.

Maybes don't make it so.

There's more than maybes.

You've never lost anything before by trusting me. Trust me on this.

This is too important.

I don't ask much and I don't ask often. Trust me on this.

-Tommy... -Trust me on this or to hell with you.

You don't mean that.

She was with me, the night Rug was following her, the night you dropped by.




Okay, Leo. Okay. I'll throw him out.

Yeah, do that.

It's the kiss-off.

If I never see him again, it'll be soon enough.


TOM: Hello, Frankie, it's Tom. How's the flunky business?

I've had worse. Your ventilator mending?


Tell Caspar it's forgotten. I'd like to see him.

All right, let me know.

It worked, whatever you did.

Leo says we're quits.

-You know I had nothing to do with Rug. -Maybe not.

-That isn't what soured him on you. -Oh, you and me, huh?

You always take the long way around to get what you want.

You could've just asked.

What did I want?




Yeah, yeah.



You still up?


What are you chewing over?

A dream I had once.

I was walking in the woods, I don't know why.

Wind kept moving, blew me hat off.

And you chased it, right?

You ran and ran, and finally you caught up to it.

And you picked it up, but it wasn't a hat anymore.

It had changed into something else, something wonderful.

No, it stayed a hat. And, no, I didn't chase it.

Nothing more foolish than a man chasing his hat.

-Where are you going? -Just have to do a few things.

-You might be able to patch things up. -Me and Leo are finished.

You never know. He's got a big heart.

We're quits as far as I'm concerned.

If Leo did want me back, he's a bigger sap than I thought.

VERNA: Then why don't we just leave town?

There's nothing keeping you here. There's nothing keeping me.

-What about Bernie? -He could go with us.

You, me and Bernie. Where would we go, Verna? Niagara Falls?

-Why do you hate him? -I don't hate anyone.

VERNA: Or like anyone.

Where is Bernie?

-Why? -Leo can't protect him anymore.

I ought to tell him to skip.

The Royale, room 302.

I guess we both double-crossed Leo. There's no getting around that.

I guess he's well rid of both of us.

The two of us, we're about bad enough to deserve each other.

Are we?

We're a couple of heels, Tom. Yes, we are.

CASPAR: So he says, "Give him a dollar. This swell lunch was my idea."


Hello, Tom. You know O'Doole and the mayor.

-Hello, boys. -Tom's a big booster.

That's fine. Tom and I got the proverbial fat to chew.

MAYOR: Let us know if you need anything. -Yeah, happy days. Have a seat.

Yeah, that's it.

-So you had time to think about things? -Yeah, circumstances have changed.

I know. The Dane was disappointed the bulls showed up before they could pin your ears back.

But I said, "Relax, Eddie, I got a feeling about this kid.

"The kid and Leo are gonna go bust-o. Matter of time.

"The kid's too smart for Leo." I'm like a psychic.

Ask the Dane if I did. Like a psychic.

-You vouch for this psychic business? -Right.

I know you knew protecting the Shmatte was dumb.

I know you've been wise to all of Leo's dumb ideas.

Only a matter of time. That's why we didn't put the arm on you, only Leo.

Since you botched that hit, I can only be so grateful.

That's brave, little Miss Punching Bag.

-Okay, Eddie. Friends now, huh? -Nuts.

-I guess you'll be looking for a job? -I might be.

Got references? Been to college?

We only take yeggs what's been to college. Ain't that right, Dane?

I'm joking, of course. We know you can be useful to us, a smart kid like you.

The man who walks behind the man and whispers in his ear could be useful.

I can do plenty for you. Can you get Leo off me?

Don't worry about Leo, we got plans for him.

-Like what? -Not so fast, Kaputnik.

He's trying to say there will be time to talk about that.

We can table that for a later day.

See, the last time we jawed, you gave me the high-hat.

I guess I'm saying you gotta put something on the table first. Ante up.

-Where do we start? -Hear that? All business.

I told you he was a good kid. All business.

We could start with the Shmatte. Where's the Shmatte?

-You could tell us that. -The Royale, room 302.

-You might find Mink with him. DANE: The hell you say.

Bernie and Mink are cozy as lice. And it ain't just business.

-He's lying. -Why would I?

This guy is all wrong.

Mink is clean and this clown is a smart guy!

It's easy enough to find out, eh?

You find Mink, you bring him back here.

You go with Frankie and Tic-Tac to the Royale.

If Bernie's there, Frankie and Tic-Tac will take care of him.

And if he's not there?

I'll sit facing the corner in a funny hat.

FRANKIE: Get your little Hebe ass in the car! TIC-TAC: Let's go.

BERNIE: What are you doing? TIC-TAC: You're going to Miller's Crossing.

BERNIE: Tom! Tom! Jesus, are you part of this?

You can't be part of this! I think these guys are gonna whack me!

FRANKIE: Giving me a headache, you little sheeny. Let's go!

BERNIE: Get me out of here! Tom! Tommy!

-Get me out of here! TIC-TAC: Get him out of here! Come on!

-All right! BERNIE: Frankie, get me out of here!

-Tic-Tac! TIC-TAC: Quiet him down!

FRANKIE: Get up, you skell!

BERNIE: Frankie, no! No! FRANKIE: Get up, you skell!

-Frankie! -Get up!

TIC-TAC: Okay, take him in the woods and whack him.

-What? -The boss wants you to do it.

Make sure you're with the good guys. You know how to do this?

Your first shot puts him down, then you put one in his brain.

Then he's dead, then we go home.

FRANKIE: Get up and walk. BERNIE: I can't, Frankie. I can't get up.

-Get up and walk! -I can't.

TIC-TAC: All right, let's go!

You can't do this! You don't bump guys!

You're not like those animals back there.

It's not right, Tom! They can't make us do this.

They can't make us change. We're not muscle, Tom. I never killed anybody.

I used a little information for a chisel, that's all. It's my nature.

I get an angle, I play it. I don't deserve to die. Do you think I do?

I'm just a grifter, Tom. I'm a nobody!

But I tell you what, I never crossed a friend.

I never crossed a friend, nor you, I'll bet. We're not like those animals.

This is not us. This is some hop dream!

It's a dream, Tommy! I'm praying to you!

I can't die! I can't die out here in the woods, like a dumb animal.

In the woods like a dumb animal! Like a dumb animal! I can't...

I can't die out here in the woods like a dumb animal! I can't die!

I'm praying to you.

Look in your heart. I'm praying to you.

Look in your heart I'm praying to you.

Look in your heart. I'm praying to you.

Look in your heart.

I'm praying to you, look in your heart.

I'm praying to you.

Look in your heart, look in your heart.


-Tommy... -Shut up! You're dead, get me?

I understand. I'm dead. God bless you.

Shut up! You have to disappear for good.

-No one can see you, no one can know. -Bless you.

Anyone sees you, you really are dead. You're not my problem.

Of course not, you've done your share.

-Shut up! -I understand. Thank you.

Just get out of here before I change my mind.



FRANKIE: Did you put one in his brain?

TOM: Yeah. FRANKIE: Thattaboy.

TOM: Mink? Tom Reagan. Where you been?

TOM: You're lucky. Dane's been looking for you. Bernie's dead.

TOM: Stop wailing. Caspar knows you were in on selling out his fix.

MINK: Who gave him that idea? -I did.

Sorry, we were chatting, it slipped out.

Lay low until Caspar cools off. Tell him the Dane put you up to it.

Tell him that, and I'll make Caspar go easy on you.

-You got me into this. -That's right.

-I'm the only one who can get you out. -Wait, Tom...

Hello, Terry. Getting out the vote?

Message from Leo.

Leo says if you're smart, you'll sit this one out, not that he cares.

If you're on the wrong side, you take your chances.

Leo says he gives no special favors.

Tell Leo he's not God on the throne.

He's just a cheap political boss with more hair tonic than brains.

-Leo say that as well? -No, I said that.

Cross Leo and next time I'll say plenty.

When you're right, you're right, but you never say, "I told you so."

TOM: So what am I right about?

I'll tell you. But first, you gotta promise not to say, "I told you so."

I never say that, and I don't like people who do.

-Mink was robbing me with the Shmatte. -What convinced you?

Mink took a powder. We can't find him. Dane's making excuses for him, but I think you was right. Mink and Bernie was in it together.

I think Mink heard that you bumped the Shmatte and lit out. Son of a bitch!

-I told you so. -What?

You got a lip on you. That's all right.

I don't generally care for it, but that's all right.

You was a good sport to bump the Shmatte.

-How do you know Mink skipped? -Dane can't find him.

-So he says. -Meaning what, exactly?

I didn't give it much thought until now, since a guy will say anything when his number's up.

But before I bumped Bernie, he swore that Dane and Mink set him up.

That they were the ones who sold out your fix.

Well, like you say, a guy will say anything.

So why isn't Eddie Dane here?

Well, he don't care for you, kid. Maybe it's only fair to tell you.

After you left, he tried to sell me on a double-cross.

He says why don't we give you the bump after we get the Shmatte?

But I figure a deal is a deal. You're square with me, you bump the Shmatte, I hold up my end.

It's ethics. Everything above-board, so everybody knows who's a friend, who's an enemy.

So the Dane doesn't like you, but he wouldn't cross me. We go back.

Of course, there's always that wild card when love is involved.

I know Mink is Eddie Dane's boy, but still I...

I don't make it that way.

-Then there's nothing to worry about. -Yeah.

Papa! Papa! I got a prize from the Sisters!

-I got a prize from the Sisters! -Just a minute. Of course, there's no...

Shut up! You take a page out of this guy's book!

A little less you talk, a little more you think!

Kids. You gotta be firm.

Anyways, there's no reason not to check things out.

Find Mink. He can tell us what's what.

What's the matter, somebody hit you?

What's the matter, aren't we friends anymore?

I wanna talk to him alone. That's how you get the straight dope.

Just me, Mink and my friend, Roscoe. You understand what I'm saying?

It ain't complicated.

TOM: Leave town for a few days. Things are gonna heat up around here.

Go to the Palisades. I'll join you soon.

I can't find Bernie. Did you find him?


-Is he leaving? -He...

He left.

-He say where to? -He didn't say. You...


DANE: What's that potato-eater up to? MAN: Beats me.

-Is that Bernie's sister? -Beats me.

-What's he seeing her for? -Beats...

Shut up. Get lost.

I'll see where the twist flops.

-You know who I am? -Yeah, Johnny Caspar's shadow.

Jesus, I open my mouth, the whole world turns smart.

-You're Leo's twist, right? -Me and Leo are through.

You're slutting around with Tom now?

-Get out of here! -Okay, see you later.

-What's your boyfriend up to? -Nothing I know about.

That doesn't figure.

You dumping Leo for the guy who put a bullet in your brother?

Didn't tell you?

MAN: Spin her, Eddie!

-You Leo's? -Yeah. He wanted her looked out for.

Well, you did a bang-up job. I'll be sure to tell him. Where's Leo?

How do I know you won't kill me?

Because if I killed you and you were lying, I couldn't kill you then. Where's Leo?

He's getting his mob together tomorrow night at Whiskey Nick's.

-You sure? -Check it. It's gold!

You know what, yegg? I believe you.

Go ahead and run, sweetie. I'll track down all of you whores.






Hello, Bernie. Come on in. Make yourself at home.

Hello, Tom. Thought I'd do that since you didn't seem to be in.

Figured it was a bad idea to wait outside since I'm supposed to be dead.

-How'd you know it was me? -Only you would knock, then break in.

-Your friends wouldn't break in? -They wanna kill me. They wouldn't knock.

What's on your mind, Bernie?


I guess you must be kind of angry. I'm supposed to be gone.

I guess it seems sort of irresponsible, my being here.

And I was gonna leave, honest I was. But then I started thinking.

If I stayed, it wouldn't be good for you.

Then I started thinking, that might not be bad for me.

I guess you didn't see the play you gave me. What am I gonna do?

If I leave, I got nothing. No money, no friends, nothing.

I stay, I got you. Anyone finds out I'm alive, you're dead.

So I got you, Tommy.

What, you got nothing to crack wise about?

Bernie ain't so funny anymore?

I guess I made kind of a fool of myself out there.

Bawling away like a twist.

I guess... I guess I turned yellow.

-You didn't tell anyone about that? -No.

Of course, you know about it.

It's a painful memory.

And I can't help remembering that you put the finger on me.

You took me out there to whack me.

I know you didn't. I know. You didn't shoot me, but...

-But what have I done for you lately? -Don't smart me!

See, I wanna watch you squirm.

I wanna see you sweat a little.

And when you smart me, it ruins it.

There's one other thing I want.

I wanna see Johnny Caspar cold and stiff.

That's what you'll do for your friend Bernie.

In the meantime, I'll stay out of sight.

But if Caspar ain't stiff in a couple of days, I start eating in restaurants.

You make me laugh, Tom.

You're gonna catch cold, then you're no good to me.

What were you gonna do?

I'd just squirt a few, and then you'd let me go again.


Hello, Tad. How's the club holding up?

We're managing without you.

-Got Lazarre's money? -No.

-You're not supposed to be here. -Relax, Tad. Leo isn't around, is he?

Booked any heavy bets on a long shot at Saturday's fights?

Why the hell should I tell you?

Truth is, Tad, no reason on earth.

Saturday's fights. Drop Johnson put two grand on one yesterday.

On Sailor Reese, an undercard bum.

Drop Johnson? He play your book much?

You kidding? I didn't know he could count.


TAD: Jesus! You bring them with you?

-Still fighting the good fight? -Neither rain nor wind nor snow.

That's the mailman. O'Doole here?

Hello, O'Doole. You don't look happy.

Gutting the golden calf again! I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

It's confusing. You know a yegg named Drop Johnson?

-We've busted him. -Where does he flop?

Terminal Hotel, Bay Street.


O'DOOLE: Jesus!

Nobody asked me, since I'm just the chief, but in my opinion, Caspar is as crazy as Leo. And an Eytie into the bargain!

What's the matter, doesn't anything ever suit you?


Hop in. We've been looking for you.

-I'm busy. -Hop in anyway!

You can't hijack me, we're on the same side, or didn't you get that far in school?

-How'd you get the fat lip? -War wound. Acts up around morons.

Very smart. What were you doing at the club? Talking with Leo?

Don't think, you might sprain something.

You are so goddamn smart. Except you ain't.

I get you, smart guy. I know what you are.

Straight as a corkscrew. Mr. Inside-outsky, like some goddamn Bolshevik picking up his orders from Yegg Central.

You think you're so smart. You joined up with Caspar, you bumped Bernie Bernbaum.

Up is down. Black is white.

Well, I think you're half-smart.

You were straight with your frail. You were queer with Johnny Caspar.

I think you'd soonerjoin a ladies' league than gun a guy down.

Then I hear from these two, they never even saw this rubout.

The boss didn't say...

Shut up! Or maybe you still got too many teeth.

Everyone is so goddamn smart.

Well, we'll go out to Miller's Crossing.

And we'll see who's smart.


Understand, if we don't find a stiff out here, we leave a fresh one.

Where are your friends when you need them?

Where's Leo now?


Ever noticed how the snappy talk dries up once a guy starts soiling his union suit?



There's nothing out here!

Think about this, smart guy.

TIC-TAC: It's hankie time!


TIC-TAC: Birds have been at him. FRANKIE: Jesus Christ!


TIC-TAC: Told you to put one in his brain, not in his stinking face.

FRANKIE: I told you, Dane, we heard two shots.


TOM: Hello, Drop.

-How are the Katzenjammers? DROP: Hello, Tom. What's the rumpus?

-Had any visitors? -Uh, no.

-Not ever, Drop? -Not lately.

Then you must be happy to see me.

So you didn't see Bernie Bernbaum before he was shown across?

-Uh, no. -Seen him since?

One last question, Drop.

You got a lot of money on tomorrow's fight.

Is that your bet or are you placing it for a friend?

No, it's my bet. I just have a good feeling about that fight.

A good feeling, huh? When did the feeling return to your head?

You've outgrown that. Must be all the thinking you've been doing.

Tell Bernie he has to get in touch.

Nothing will stir until I talk to him.


Anyone left in there, come out grabbing air! You know the drill!





-Hello, Tom. Where you been hiding? TOM: Hither and yon. Is the mayor in?

-He's with Mr. Caspar. -That's who I'm looking for.

-I'll announce you. -Don't bother, I'm well-liked.

MAYOR: I can't do it! I'll look ridiculous! It isn't done! Assistants, maybe.

Mayor, you don't hear so hot! I said head of the assessor's office!

-But there are two of them! -I can count! Co-heads.

Needless to say, this office will do anything to assist you and your cousins.

We did it for Leo on countless occasions.

Damn right! Had every potato-eater on the public tit!

There's a way we do things, hallowed by usage and consecrated by time.

When we hooked people up when Leo was running things...

Leo ain't running things! That's ancient history!

-I run things now! -No one appreciates that more than I.

I can give them jobs. Good jobs.

Jobs where they won't have to do any work.

-Where their lack of English will... -What is this, the high-hat?

-Tom, can you explain it? I can't... -You can do whatever Caspar tells you!

You didn't give Leo this double talk!

-Tom! Jesus! -Stop whimpering and do as you're told.

CASPAR: Start by getting out of here. MAYOR: It's my office!

Get out of here! Take it on the heel- and-toe before I whack you one!

You two, beat it.


Yeah, go keep the mayor company. I'll take care of youse later.

Running things, it ain't all gravy.

-What's the fireworks? -Knocking over one of Leo's clubs.

Son of a bitch won't go belly-up.

Sorry. I heard about your ride this morning.

Sorry don't fix things. We could've missed the corpse, and I'd be dead now.

I know. But that don't mean the Dane's up to anything.

So he hears a rumor that Bernie ain't dead.

The Dane made up that rumor himself.

You don't know that. It don't make sense. Why would he?

There could be a damn good reason, if you got a fixed fight coming up.

-Do you? -Maybe.

Okay, yeah. Tomorrow night, the fix is in. What of it?

-The Dane know about it? -Yeah.

Okay, I get it.

If the Dane's been selling you out, he needs someone to blame.

I get it.

There aren't many folks he can point to.

The Dane sells me out, makes pretend Bernie's still doing it.

Bernie leaked the fix, and you take the fall for not killing him.

But I don't know. Why would Eddie cross me like that?

Money, okay, everybody likes money, but, somehow it just don't seem like him.

-I know the Dane. -Nobody knows anybody that well.

-Money don't mean that much to him. -Then it's not just the money.

He's got a wart on his fanny.


A wart. On his fanny. Giving him the fidgets.

Maybe he's sick of the couch. Your desk don't look like a bad place to move to.

Kid, you got a lip on you.

But you're honest.

We can't get enough of that in this business.

I'll admit, since last we jawed, my stomach's been seizing up on me.

The Dane wants to double-cross you.

You double-cross once, where's it all end?

An interesting ethical question.

I'll find the Dane, talk to him, straighten it out.

-Have a chat. -I'll take care of it.

-I'm sure he'll come clean. -I'll take care of it.

-You're swimming in it. -I'll take care of it!


My chin's hanging out right alongside yours.

I'd worry a lot less if I thought you were worrying enough.

But I am, kid.


Running things.


-Yeah? BERNIE: I got yourmessage.

-Bernie. I had a dream about you. -Yeah? A nightmare?

Very sweet. You were out at Miller's Crossing with your face blown off.

-You get a kick out of that? -It's Mink, isn't it?

I came back and he wasn't happy to see me.

-Some friend. -You know how nervous he was.

I figured maybe you could use some insurance.

Did Mink have a .22?

He already ditched it. Why?

-After he shot Rug? -Yeah. How did you know?

Doesn't matter. I've thought about our deal, -and you can stick it. -Huh?

You got nothing on me. I'm calling your bluff.

I'm leaving tomorrow. All you have to decide is whether I tell Caspar you're still around.

If you want me quiet, it'll cost you.

A thousand bucks is fair, so I want two.

I'm going out, but I'll be back at 4:00 a.m.

If you're not here with the dough, Caspar's gonna be looking for you tomorrow.

-Got any money? -No.



Third race tonight.

By the finish, Tailor Maid had a view of the field.

You ought to lay off the ponies, Tom.


Lazarre said he's sorry about this. It's just getting out of hand.

He likes you, Tom. He said we didn't have to break anything.

That's okay. Tell him there's no hard feelings.

Christ, Tom.

He knows that.

Take care, now.

TOM: Tom Reagan. -Mr. Caspar is in the great room.

Swell. Can you hold these?

CASPAR: Kid, what's the rumpus? -I got news.

Yeah, news at this end too. My stomach's been seizing up on me.

-Mink just told me that he... -Eh!

-You talked to Mink? -Yeah, on the phone.

The Dane wants you to think he's gone, but he's here in town.

You're sure?

See for yourself. He's coming to my place, 4:00 a.m.

He's afraid of crossing the Dane. He told me about the fix.

He'll sing for a couple grand, but you better take care of the Dane tonight.

Mink says he's coming after us tonight.

-Leo's holed up at Whiskey Nick's. -What? How do you know?

DANE: That ain't all we know, smart guy.

Recognize your playmate?

You thought I'd quit, huh? Uh-uh.

I followed you this afternoon.

I wondered why Einstein would talk to a gorilla, so I grabbed the gorilla and I beat it out of him.

Give me a big guy anytime, they break easy.

Is there a point? Or is this just small talk?

I like that. Cool under fire.

I'm impressed.

He didn't know whose stiff we found, but I do.

You killed Mink, you son of a bitch!

It was Mink, you son of a bitch.

It was Mink, and by God, I'll hear you say it!

TOM: Is this how you taught Drop his story?

Come here, bum.

I am gonna send you to a deep, dark place.

And I am gonna have fun doing it!


CASPAR: Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch!

You lousy son of a bitch!

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a double-cross artist!


I had a feeling about this son of a bitch!

Shut up!

Son of a bitch! I'll give you something to holler about!

It's okay, the Dane made him do it.

Then make him shut it!

And we do the same to Mink this very night!

We can't. He'll spill the whole setup.

-I never let anyone walk! -You've never crossed anyone.

4:00, my place.

Mink's coming in, so I promised him the money.



Look at this, kid.

Something I try and teach all my boys!

Always put one in the brain.


What's the rumpus?

I was in the neighborhood, feeling daffy.

-What are you doing? -Walking.

-Don't let on more than you have to. -In the rain.

Bernie's dead, isn't he?

-What makes you think that? -That's no answer.

I can't tell you anything yet.

No one really cares, do they?

-His friends didn't really like him. -He didn't like his friends.

You're one to talk. You're a son of a bitch.

You got me to tell you where he was, and you killed him.

I want to know why. What was in it for you?

Nothing for me.

Giving up Bernie was the only way I could fix things for Leo.

You said you didn't care about Leo.

I said we were through. It's not the same thing.

I don't get it, and I don't care.

I don't care what reasons you had.

He's still alive.

You expect me to believe you?


That's you all over, Tom.

A lie and no heart.

It isn't easy, is it, Verna?

CASPAR: But before you do that, you gotta towel down.

You towel down first with a hot towel, as hot as you can stand.

Put the razor in cold water, not hot, because metal does what in cold?

-I don't know, Johnny. CASPAR: I'm telling you, it contracts.

That way, you get a first-class shave every time.

Okay, Johnny.

Ain't it the life, though?

TOM: Hello, Sal. You can dangle.

Hello, Tom.

You sure? You don't look so hot.

I'm okay.

I'll drive him home.



Mr. Reagan, there were shots!

Go down to the drugstore and call the police.

Stay there until the officers arrive.

-Will my cats be all right? -Yeah, they'll be fine.


I get it. So you set me up?

Anything to avoid a little dirty work yourself, huh?

How'd you know he'd get it and not me?

I figured you'd come early, looking for blood.

He wouldn't, so you'd likely have the drop on him.

You're right. The chump never knew what hit him.

How do you know I won't still kill you?

There's nothing in it for you now.

With him dead, we got nothing on each other.

-Let me have the gun. -Why?

Pin this on the Dane. We don't want him walking around after this.

The cops won't care what they hang the Dane for.

I guess that's true.

If you don't mind keeping the gun that killed Caspar. And Mink.

Why did Mink shoot Rug, anyway?

I don't know. It was just a mix-up.


-You're gonna say the Dane did this? -Sure.

-Mink thought Rug was tailing him? -Yeah, you know Mink. Hysterical.

Comes home crying, saying he had to pop a guy.

Rug was tailing Verna. Mink was just with her.


BERNIE: Funny, ain't it?

He was scared the Dane'd find out we were jungled up.

I bet you kept him plenty worried.

BERNIE: Yeah, so what?

Scratch, huh? A little bonus.

-Why did Mink take Rug's hair? -Beats me.

Fifty-fifty on the dough? Or maybe I should get more since I did the deed.

You keep it. I want you to have it.

Bernie, we can't pin this on the Dane.

Why not?

Because the Dane's already dead, halfway across town.

-What the hell are you talking about? -Eddie Dane's dead. It's gotta be you.

I mean, it was your gun.

What is this? What the hell are you talking about?

You took my gun! It's just your word against mine!

Not necessarily.

Are you crazy? We're square.

We got nothing on each other.


So, what's in it for you? There's no angle.

You can't just shoot me like that.

Jesus Christ, it don't make sense.


Look in your heart.

-Look in your heart. -What heart?

TOM: Tad? It's Tom.

Tell Lazarre I've got his money.

Yeah, all of it.

I wanna place a bet on tonight's fight.


-They set you up? TOM: How's that?

A little hooch? Whatever?

Thanks for coming. Leo's anxious to see you.

TOM: I happened to be near.


Actually, this might not be the best time.

-Who's inside? -O'Doole and the mayor.

I'll try again.

TERRY: They're planting the sheeny tomorrow. You can stop by.


TOM: Big turnout. -Drop dead.

She's under a lot of strain.

Well, at least she didn't hit me.

LEO: I'm glad you came, Tommy.

-I guess... -She's taking the car.



-I guess we're walking. -I guess we are.

We're getting married.


Funny thing is, she asked me to tie the knot.

-I guess I'm not supposed to say that. -It doesn't matter. Congratulations.

Why didn't you say what you're up to? I thought you'd really gone over.

Not that I didn't deserve it, but you could've told me.

Telling you would only have queered things if...

There just wasn't any point.

Yeah, I can see that.

It was a smart play all around.

-I guess you know I'm grateful. -No need.

I guess you picked that fight with me just to tuck yourself in with Caspar?

I don't know. Do you always know why you do things?

Sure I do.

-It was a smart play. -Fine.

I'd do anything if you'd work for me again!

I know I can be pigheaded sometimes, but damn it, so can you!

I need you. Things can be the way they were.

I know it. I just know it.

As for you and Verna, well, I understand. You're both young.

Damn it, I forgive you.

I didn't ask for that, and I don't want it.

Goodbye, Leo.