menu/ SOME LIKE IT HOT

By Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

FADE IN: 1. CITY AT NIGHT.

1. A hearse of Late Twenties vintage is proceeding at a dignified pace along a half-deserted wintry street. Inside the hearse, there are four somber men in black - and a coffin, of course, with a wreath of chrysanthemums on top.

One of the men is driving, another is in the seat beside him. The other two are sitting in the rear of the hearse, flanking the coffin. All four seem fully aware of the solemnity of the occasion. Now they hear a SIREN, faint at first, but rapidly growing louder.

The driver and the man next to him exchange a nervous glance. The other two men move tensely toward the rear door of the hearse, raise the black curtain over the glass panel, and peek out cautiously.

Through the glass panel, they see a police car bearing down on them, the red light blinking, the SIREN screaming. The two men at the rear window gesture to the driver to step on it. He does. The hearse, obviously a souped-up job, instantly picks up speed, weaves crazily through traffic, the police car in hot pursuit.

The hearse careens around a corner at eighty miles an hour, the police car right on its tail. By this time the policemen are leaning out of their car with drawn guns, firing at the hearse. The two men in the rear of the hearse, flattened against the sides, pull a couple of sawed-off shotguns out of a hidden overhead rack.

Police bullets smash the glass panel and whistle through the hearse. The driver and the man next to him duck, but the hearse continues at the same breakneck speed. The two men in back shove their guns through the shattered glass, fire at the police car. Despite the hail of lead, the police car - its windshield cobwebbed with bullet holes - gains on the hearse.

Suddenly the car skids out of control, jumps the curb, comes to a screeching stop. Policemen leap out, fire after the hearse. In the speeding hearse, the last of the police bullets thud into the coffin. Instantly three geysers of liquid spurt through the bullet holes.

As the firing recedes, the two men in the back put away their guns, remove the wreath from the coffin, take the lid off. The inside is jam-packed with bottles of booze, some of them shattered by the bullets. As the men start to lift out the broken bottles -

SUPERIMPOSE: CHICAGO, 1929 DISSOLVE TO: 2. EXT. INTERSECTION OF STREETS - NIGHT.

2. Traffic is light. All the shops are dark except one - a dimly lit establishment, from which drift the mournful strains of an organ. A circumspect sign reads: MOZARELLA'S FUNERAL PARLOR 24 Hour Service.

In the window, a sample coffin is on display. There seem to be some rites going on inside, because a number of mourners, singly and in couples, are hurrying from the cold, windy street into Mozarella's parlor. Meanwhile, the hearse with the damp coffin draws up to the delivery entrance at the side of the building.

The driver honks the horn - one long and two short - as the other men step down and start to slide the coffin out. The side door opens, and a dapper gent emerges. He wears a tight-fitting black suit, a black fedora, and gray spats. The spats are very important. He always wears spats. His name is SPATS COLOMBO.

He cases the street, motions the men inside. As they carry the coffin past him, he removes his fedora, holds it reverently over his heart. Then he follows the men in, his head bowed. Across the street and around the corner, three police cars draw up silently, and about fifteen uniformed policemen and plain-clothes men spill out.

A Captain gives whispered orders, and the men scatter and discreetly take up positions around the funeral parlor. Out of one of the cars steps MULLIGAN, a tough Federal Agent - in plain clothes, of course. With him is a little weasel of a man, shivering with cold and fear. They call him TOOTHPICK CHARLIE for two reasons - because his name is Charlie, and because he has never been seen without a toothpick in his mouth.

MULLIGAN

[indicating funeral parlor] All right, Charlie - this the joint?

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

Yes, sir.

MULLIGAN

And who runs it?

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

I already told you.

MULLIGAN

Refresh my memory.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

[uneasily] Spats Colombo.

MULLIGAN

That's very refreshing. Now what's the password?

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

I come to Grandma's funeral. [he hands him a folded piece of black crepe] Here's your admission card.

MULLIGAN

Thanks, Charlie.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

If you want a ringside table, tell 'em you're one of the pall bearers.

MULLIGAN

Okay, Charlie. The police captain joins Mulligan.

CAPTAIN

We're all set. When is the kickoff?

As Mulligan consults his watch, Charlie, the toothpick working nervously in his mouth, tugs Mulligan's sleeve.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

Look, Chief - I better blow now, because if Spats Colombo sees me, it's Goodbye Charlie.

MULLIGAN

Goodbye, Charlie.

Charlie scoots up the dark street, disappears.

MULLIGAN

[to the police captain] Give me five minutes - then hit 'em with everything you got.

CAPTAIN

You bet!

They synchronize their watches. Then Mulligan crosses to Mozarella's parlor, unfolding the black crepe Charlie gave him. It is a mourning band, and he slips it over the left sleeve of his overcoat.

3. INT. MOZARELLA'S FUNERAL PARLOR - NIGHT.

3. It looks legitimate enough - with potted palms, urns and funeral statuary. A harmless gray-haired man is playing the organ with appropriate feeling. Daintily arranging a funeral spray is the proprietor himself, MR. MOZARELLA. His heavyweight build, bashed-in nose and cauliflower ears don't quite jibe with his mourning coat, striped pants, ascot and carnation. Dusting one of the marble angels is another funeral director, in the same somber uniform.

Mulligan enters.

MOZARELLA

[with grave sympathy] Good evening, sir.

MULLIGAN

I come to the old lady's funeral.

MOZARELLA

[looking him over]

I don't believe I've seen you at any of our services before.

MULLIGAN

That's because I've been on the wagon.

MOZARELLA

PLEASE!

MULLIGAN

[looking around] Where are they holding the wake? I'm supposed to be one of the pallbearers.

MOZARELLA

[to funeral director] Show the gentleman to the chapel - pew number three.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

This way, sir.

He leads Mulligan past the organ toward the black-paneled wall, where there is no evidence of a door. The organist, without missing a note in his playing, reaches over to the end of the keyboard and pulls out a stop. One of the panels slides open, and there is a blast of MUSIC from the chapel. It's jazz - and it's SWEET GEORGIA BROWN. Mulligan rears back momentarily, then follows the funeral director in. The organist pushes the stop in again, and the panel slides shut.

4. INT. SPEAKEASY - NIGHT.

4. Grandma must have been quite a person, because she left a lot of condoling friends behind, and they are holding a very lively wake. The chapel is jumping. A small band is blaring out SWEET GEORGIA BROWN. The musicians are not the slick, well-fed instrumentalists you would find in Guy Lombardo's band - they have all been through the wringer, and so have their threadbare tuxedos.

On the stamp-sized dance floor, six girls in abbreviated costumes are doing a frenetic Charleston. Crowded around the small tables, mourners in black arm-bands are drowning their sorrows in whatever they drink out of their coffee cups.

MULLIGAN

[looking around] Well, if you gotta go, this is the way to do it.

The funeral director leads Mulligan to a table next to the bandstand. As he moves off, a waiter comes up.

WAITER

What'll it be, sir?

MULLIGAN

Booze.

WAITER

Sorry, sir, we only serve coffee.

MULLIGAN

Coffee?

WAITER

Scotch coffee, Canadian coffee, sour-mash coffee ...

MULLIGAN

Make it Scotch. A demitasse. With a little soda on the side.

As the waiter starts away, Mulligan stops him.

MULLIGAN

Haven't you got another pew - not so close to the band? [points to a better table] How about that one?

WAITER

Sorry, sir. That's reserved for members of the immediate family.

He winks, goes off. Mulligan scans the room. From a side door comes Spats Colombo, followed by the four hearsemen. They walk cockily toward the table 'reserved for the immediate family.'

A DRUNK, standing with a cup of booze in his hand, is in their way. Colombo pushes him aside, and the contents of the cup slop over. Colombo freezes in his tracks, glances at his feet. The other four men have also stopped, and stare in the same direction, horrified. Spats Colombo's immaculate spats are no longer immaculate. There is a whiskey stain on one of them. Colombo throws his henchmen a sharp look. They grab the offending drunk, hustle him toward the exit.

DRUNK

[waving empty cup] Hey - I want another cup of coffee. I want another cup of coffee.

Colombo proceeds toward the table, seats himself, crosses his legs, takes a handkerchief out of his breast pocket, and meticulously mops the moist spat. His four companions, their mission accomplished, join him at the table. Mulligan, who has been studying Colombo, consults his wrist-watch. The waiter comes up with his order - a demitasse half full of Scotch, and a split of club soda.

MULLIGAN

Better bring the check now - in case the joint gets raided.

WAITER

Who's going to raid a funeral?

MULLIGAN

Some people got no respect for the dead.

The waiter moves off. Mulligan sips from the cup, winces, takes a cigar out of his pocket and starts to light it. His eyes wander to the chorus girls. The girls have gone into a tap-dance. The captain of the chorus looks toward the bandstand, grins and winks at - JOE, the saxophone player. He winks back. JERRY, who is thumping the bass-fiddle behind him, leans forward and taps Joe on the shoulder.

JERRY

Say, Joe - tonight's the night, isn't it?

JOE

[eye on tap-dancer] I'll say.

JERRY

I mean, we get paid tonight, don't we?

JOE

Yeah. Why?

He takes the mouthpiece out of his saxophone, wets the reed.

JERRY

Because I lost a filling in my back tooth. I gotta go to the dentist tomorrow.

JOE

Dentist? We been out of work for four months - and you want to blow your first week's pay on your teeth?

JERRY

It's just a little inlay - it doesn't even have to be gold ...

JOE

How can you be so selfish? We owe back rent - we're in four eighty-nine bucks to Moe's Delicatessen - we're being sued by three Chinese lawyers because our check bounced at the laundry - we've borrowed money from every girl in the line -

JERRY

You're right, Joe.

JOE

Of course I am.

JERRY

First thing tomorrow we're going to pay everybody a little something on account.

JOE

No we're not.

JERRY

We're not?

JOE

First thing tomorrow we're going out to the dog track and put the whole bundle on Greased Lightning.

JERRY

You're going to bet my money on a dog?

JOE

He's a shoo-in. I got the word from Max the waiter - his brother-in-law is the electrician who wires the rabbit.

JERRY

What are you giving me with the rabbit?

JOE

[pulling form sheet out of pocket] Look at those odds - ten to one. If he wins, we can pay everybody.

JERRY

But suppose he loses?

JOE

What are you worried about? This job is going to last a long time.

JERRY

But suppose it doesn't?

JOE

Jerry-boy, why do you have to paint everything so black? Suppose you get hit by a truck? Suppose the stock market crashes?

Jerry, slapping the bass, is no longer listening. His eyes have strayed to - Mulligan, sitting at his table, puffing on the cigar. It isn't drawing too well. Mulligan reaches under his coat, unpins his Department of Justice badge from his vest. Using the pin of the shining badge, he pokes a hole in the wet end of the cigar. Jerry has stopped playing, and is watching Mulligan's operation with morbid fascination. Joe, completely unaware, continues talking.

JOE

Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks?

JERRY

[nudging him] Hey, Joe!

JOE

[paying no attention] Suppose Lake Michigan overflows?

JERRY

Don't look now - but the whole town is under water!

He nods toward Mulligan. Joe looks off. Then, without a word, they both start packing their instruments. Mulligan pins the badge back on, checks his wrist-watch.

MULLIGAN

[to himself] ... four, three, two, one ...

He glances toward - the door from the funeral parlor. Right on the dot, a pair of police axes smash through the door. Instant pandemonium breaks loose in the speakeasy. MUSIC stops, women scream, customers, chorus girls and waiter scramble toward the side doors. But they too are splintering under the assault of the police axes. The crowd falls back, milling around frantically. Mulligan stands up, cups his hands to his mouth, and roars at the top of his voice.

MULLIGAN

All right, everybody - this is a raid. I'm a federal agent, and you're all under arrest.

Policemen come streaming through the splintered doors. Carried in on the tide is the Drunk who was just tossed out, reeling unsteadily, and waving his empty coffee cup aloft.

DRUNK

I want another cup of coffee!

The policemen start rounding up the customers and employees, are herding them toward the exits. On the bandstand, Joe and Jerry have packed their instruments, and start to fight their way through the melee, toward some stairs leading up. Mulligan, a couple of policemen in tow, comes up to Spats and his henchmen, sitting calmly at their table, with five glasses of white liquid in front of them.

MULLIGAN

Okay, Spats - the services are over. Let's go.

SPATS

Go where?

MULLIGAN

A little country club we run for retired bootleggers. I'm gonna put your name up for membership.

SPATS

I never join nothin'.

MULLIGAN

You'll like it there. I'll have the prison tailor fit you with a pair of special spats - striped!

SPATS

[to his companions, dead-pan] Big joke. [to Mulligan] Who's the rap this time?

MULLIGAN

Embalming people with coffee - eighty-six proof.

SPATS

Me? I'm just a customer here.

MULLIGAN

Come on, Spats - we know you own this joint. Mozarella is just fronting for you.

SPATS

Mozarella? Never heard of him.

MULLIGAN

We got different information.

SPATS

From who? Toothpick Charlie, maybe?

MULLIGAN

Toothpick Charlie? Never heard of him.

He picks up Spats' glass, sniffs it suspiciously.

SECOND HENCHMAN

Buttermilk!

MULLIGAN

All right - on your feet.

SPATS

[getting up slowly] You're wasting the taxpayers' money.

MULLIGAN

If you want to, you can call your lawyer.

SPATS

[pointing to his four hoods] These are my lawyers - all Harvard men.

Mulligan and the two policemen lead Spats and his Harvard men out.

5. EXT. FUNERAL PARLOR - NIGHT.

5. Policemen, under the supervision of the captain, are herding customers into a paddy-wagon. Fighting his way out of the wagon is our Drunk, waving his coffee cup in the air.

DRUNK

I want another cup of coffee.

He staggers into the alley, toward the side entrance of the speakeasy, CAMERA MOVING with him. Through the smashed-up side door, policemen are ushering more customers, waiters, musicians and the dancing girls.

CAMERA MOVES UP TOWARD a fire escape on the second floor. Joe and Jerry, carrying their instruments and overcoats, have just climbed through a window onto the fire escape, and are inspecting the scene below. The shot-up hearse is parked directly beneath them. stealthily they climb down the ladder, drop to the roof of the hearse. Then they scramble over the radiator, steal down the alley away from the street. They stop in the shadows to put on their coats.

JERRY

Well, that solves one problem. We don't have to worry about who to pay first.

JOE

Quiet - I'm thinking.

JERRY

Of course, the landlady is going to lock us out - Moe said no more knackwurst on credit - and we can't borrow any more from the girls, because they're on their way to jail -

JOE

Shut up, will you? I wonder how much Sam the Bookie will give up for our overcoats?

JERRY

Sam the Bookie? Nothing doing! You're not putting my overcoat on that dog!

JOE

I told you - it's a sure thing.

JERRY

But we'll freeze - it's below zero - we'll catch pneumonia.

JOE

Look, stupid, he's ten to one. Tomorrow, we'll have twenty overcoats!

DISSOLVE TO: 6. EXT. CHICAGO STREET - DAY.

6. The street is covered with snow. Joe and Jerry, without overcoats, the collars of their tuxedos turned up against the bitter cold, come down the steps of the elevated, carrying their instruments. The only thing that keeps Jerry from freezing is that he is boiling over inside. As they proceed along the sidewalk, Jerry finally can't hold it any more.

JERRY

Greased Lightning! Why do I listen to you? I ought to have my head examined!

JOE

I thought you weren't talking to me.

JERRY

Look at the bull fiddle - it's dressed warmer than I am.

They come up to a building in front of which are gathered several small groups of shivering musicians, also equipped with instruments. Joe and Jerry exchange frozen waves with their colleagues, start through the entrance.

DISSOLVE TO: 7. INT. CORRIDOR OF MUSIC BUILDING - DAY.

7. Joe moves down the corridor, Jerry tagging along grimly beside him. Other job-seeking musicians mill around, and a melange of musical sounds and singing voices issues from the various offices, studios and rehearsal halls. Joe and Jerry come up to a door marked: KEYNOTE MUSICAL AGENCY - BANDS, SOLOISTS, SINGERS. Joe opens the door, revealing a crummy office, with a secretary behind a desk.

JOE

Anything today?

FIRST SECRETARY

Nothing.

JOE

Thank you.

Joe shuts the door, and they shuffle along to the next agency, which is marked: JULES STEIN - MUSIC CORPORATION OF AMERICA. Joe opens the door. This is like the other office - except a little crummier. There is a secretary behind the desk.

JOE

Anything today?

SECOND SECRETARY

Nothing.

JOE

Thank you.

He opens the door to the next agency. On the door it says: SIG POLIAKOFF - BANDS FOR ALL OCCASIONS. There is the usual secretary behind the usual desk, and her name is NELLIE. She is a brunette, somewhat past her prime, but still attractive.

JOE

Anything today?

NELLIE

[looking up] Oh, it's you! You got a lot of nerve -

JOE

Thank you.

He shuts the door quickly, starts to move on.

NELLIE'S VOICE

[from inside] Joe - come back here!

Joe stops in his tracks. With a resigned shrug to Jerry, he opens the door again, and the two of them start in.

8. INT. POLIAKOFF'S OUTER OFFICE - DAY.

8. Beside Nellie, there is another secretary pecking away at a typewriter. Nellie's face is grim as Joe and Jerry come up.

JOE

Now look, Nellie - if it's about last Saturday night - I can explain everything.

NELLIE

[to Jerry; pointing at Joe] What a heel! I spend four dollars to get my hair marcelled, I buy me a new negligee, I bake him a great big pizza pie ... [to Joe] - and where were you?

JERRY

Yeah - where were you?

JOE

With you.

JERRY

With me?

JOE

Don't you remember? [to Nellie] He has this bad tooth - it got impacted - the whole jaw swole up ...

JERRY

It did? [Joe throws him a look] Boy, did it ever!

JOE

So I had to rush him to the hospital and give him a transfusion ... [to Jerry] Right?

JERRY

Right. We have the same blood type ...

JOE

- Type O.

NELLIE

Oh?

JOE

Nellie baby, I'll make it up to you.

NELLIE

You're making it up pretty good so far.

JOE

The minute we get a job, I'm going to take you out to the swellest restaurant -

JERRY

How about it, Nellie? Has Poliakoff got anything for us? We're desperate.

NELLIE

[slyly] Well, it just so happens he is looking for a bass and a sax - [to the other secretary] Right? [she winks at her]

OTHER SECRETARY

[going along] Right.

JERRY

[all excited] Did you hear that, Joe?

JOE

What's the job?

NELLIE

It's three weeks in Florida -

JERRY

Florida?

NELLIE

The Seminole-Ritz, in Miami. Transportation and all expenses paid ...

JOE

Isn't she a bit of terrific? [busses Nellie on the cheek; to Jerry] Come on - let's talk to Poliakoff.

They start toward the door of the inner office.

NELLIE

You better wait a minute, boys - he's got some people in there with him.

That stops them. 9. INT. POLIAKOFF'S INNER OFFICE - DAY. 9. The room is small and cluttered, and the walls are covered with photographs of Poliakoff's clients - bands, vocalists, trios, radio personalities. Sitting behind the desk, speaking urgently into the phone, is SIG POLIAKOFF, a gruff, likable man in his fifties.

Pacing up and down on the other side of the desk is SWEET SUE, flashily-dressed broad, who has seen thirty summers and a few hard winters. As she paces, she nervously flips a large white pill from one hand to the other. Slouched in a chair is BIENSTOCK, a somewhat prissy man of forty wearing thick glasses. He has a card file on his lap, is thumbing through it.

POLIAKOFF

[into phone] Look, Gladys, it's three weeks in Florida - Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators - they need a couple of girls on sax and bass - what do you mean, who is this? Sig Poliakoff. I got a job for you - Gladys, are you there? [hangs up] Meshugeh! Played for a hundred and twelve hours at a marathon dance, and now she's in bed with a nervous collapse.

SUE

Tell her to move over.

She has poured herself a glass of water from a pitcher on the desk, and now she plops the pill into her mouth, washes it down.

BIENSTOCK

[looking up from file] What about Cora Jackson?

POLIAKOFF

The last I heard, she was playing with the Salvation Army, yet. [consulting list on desk; into phone] Drexel 9044.

Sue has wandered over to one of the framed photos on the wall. It shows Sue posed in front of her band - sixteen girls, all blonde, all in identical gowns. On the drum it says SWEET SUE AND HER SOCIETY SYNCOPATORS.

SUE

Those idiot broads! Here we are all packed to go to Miami, and what happens? The saxophone runs off with a Bible salesman, and the bass fiddle gets herself pregnant. [turning to Bienstock] I ought to fire you, Bienstock.

BIENSTOCK

Me? I'm the manager of the band - not the night watchman.

POLIAKOFF

[into phone] Hello? Let me talk to Bessie Malone - what's she doing in Philadelphia? -- on the level? [hangs up] Bessie let her hair grow and is playing with Stokowski.

SUE

Black Bottom Bessie?

POLIAKOFF

Schpielt zich mit der Philharmonic.

BIENSTOCK

How about Rosemary Schultz?

POLIAKOFF

Did you hear? She slashed her wrists when Valentino died!

SUE

We might as well all slash our wrists if we don't round up two dames by this evening.

She picks up her handbag. Bienstock rises, takes his glasses off, puts them in his pocket.

BIENSTOCK

Look, Sig, you know the kind of girls we need. We don't care where you find them - just get them on that train by eight o'clock.

POLIAKOFF

Be nonchalant. Trust Poliakoff. The moment anything turns up, I'll give you a little tingle.

SUE

Bye, Sig. [feels her tummy] I wonder if I have room for another ulcer?

Bienstock opens the door, and follows Sue into the outer office. Joe and Jerry, who have been biding their time outside, slip in and shut the door after them.

JOE

Hey, Sig - can we talk to you?

POLIAKOFF

[into phone] Nellie, get me long distance. [to the boys] What is it?

JERRY

It's about the Florida job.

POLIAKOFF

The Florida job?

JOE

Nellie told us about it.

JERRY

We're not too late, are we?

POLIAKOFF

What are you - a couple of comedians? Get out of here! [into phone] Long distance? Get me the William Morris Agency in New York.

JOE

You need a bass and a sax, don't you?

POLIAKOFF

The instruments are right, but you are not. [into phone] I want to speak to Mr. Morris.

JERRY

What's wrong with us?

POLIAKOFF

You're the wrong shape. Goodbye.

JOE

The wrong shape? You looking for hunchbacks or something?

POLIAKOFF

It's not the backs that worry me.

JOE

What kind of band is this, anyway?

POLIAKOFF

You got to be under twenty-five -

JERRY

We could pass for that.

POLIAKOFF

- you got to be blonde -

JERRY

We could dye our hair.

POLIAKOFF

- and you got to be girls.

JERRY

We could -

JOE

No, we couldn't!

POLIAKOFF

[into phone] William Morris!

JERRY

You mean it's a girls' band?

JOE

Yeah, that's what he means. Good old Nellie! [starting toward door] I ought to wring her neck!

POLIAKOFF

[into phone] Yes, I'm holding on.

JERRY

Wait a minute, Joe. Lets talk this over. [to Poliakoff] Why couldn't we do it? Last year, when we played in that gypsy tearoom, we wore gold earrings. And you remember when you booked us with that Hawaiian band? [pantomiming] Grass skirts!

POLIAKOFF

[to Joe] What's with him - he drinks?

JOE

No. And he ain't been eating so good, either. He's got an empty stomach and it's gone to his head.

JERRY

But, Joe - three weeks in Florida! We could borrow some clothes from the girls in the chorus -

JOE

You've flipped your wig!

JERRY

Now you're talking! We pick up a couple of second-hand wigs - a little padding here and there - call ourselves Josephine and Geraldine -

JOE

Josephine and Geraldine! [disgustedly] Come on!

He drags Jerry toward the door.

POLIAKOFF

Look, if you boys want to pick up a little money tonight - [they stop and turn] At the University of Illinois they are having - you should excuse the expression - a St. Valentine's dance.

JOE

We'll take it!

POLIAKOFF

You got it. It's six dollars a man. Be on the campus in Urbana at eight o'clock -

JERRY

[protesting] All the way to Urbana - for a one night stand?

JOE

It's twelve bucks. We can get one of the overcoats out of hock.

POLIAKOFF

[into phone] Hello, Mr. Morris? This is Poliakoff, in Chicago. Say, you wouldn't have a couple of girl musicians available? A sax player and a base?

JERRY

[at the door] Look, if William Morris doesn't come through -

JOE

Come on, Geraldine!

He pulls him into the outer office.

10. INT. POLIAKOFF'S OUTER OFFICE - DAY.

10. Joe leads Jerry out.

JERRY

It's a hundred miles, Joe - it's snowing - how are we going to get there?

JOE

I'll think of something. Don't crowd me.

NELLIE

[brightly] How did it go, girls?

JERRY

We ought to wring your neck.

JOE

Please, Jerry - that's no way to talk. [turning on the charm] Nellie baby - what are you doing tonight?

NELLIE

[suspiciously] Why?

JOE

Because I got some plans -

NELLIE

I'm not doing anything. I just thought I'd go home and have some cold pizza -

JOE

And you'll be in all evening?

NELLIE

[melted by now] Yes, Joe.

JOE

[brightly] Good! Then you won't be needing your car.

NELLIE

My car? Why, you -

Joe silences her protest with a kiss. Jerry shakes his head with mock admiration.

JERRY

Isn't he a bit of terrific?

DISSOLVE TO: 11. EXT. CLARK STREET - DAY.

11. Joe and Jerry, carrying their instruments, are coming along the snow-covered sildewalk toward a garage entrance, above which is a sign reading: CHARLIE'S GARAGE. Their shoulders are hunched up against the cold.

JERRY

We could've had three weeks in Florida - all expenses paid. Lying around in the sun - palm trees - frying fish ...

JOE

Knock it off, will you?

They step over the chain blocking the entrance, start into the garage.

12. INT. CHARLIE'S GARAGE - DAY.

12. There are rows of parked cars, a lube rack and a gas pump. Against the wall under a naked electric light bulb hanging from a cord, five men are playing stud poker. A couple of mechanics, in grease-stained coveralls, are watching the game. The dealer is Toothpick Charlie, the inevitable toothpick in his mouth.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

[dealing] King high-pair of bullets-possible straight - possible nothing - pair of eights -

Joe and Jerry come in from the street. One of the mechanics notices them, nudges Toothpick Charlie. Charlie looks up, and seeing the instrument cases, leaps to his feet, drawing a gun from his shoulder holster. The other four players also jump up, and pulling their guns, level them at Joe and Jerry.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

All right, you two - drop 'em.

JERRY

[stops; puzzled] Drop what?

JOE

We came to pick up a car.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

Oh, yeah?

He nods to one of the mechanics, who steps up to Joe and Jerry, starts to open the instrument cases.

JOE

Nellie Weinmeyer's car.

MECHANIC

[as the bass and sax are revealed] Musicians.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

Wise guys!

He mops his brow with the back of his sleeve, and putting his gun back in the holster, picks up the deck of cards again.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

Let's go. Pair of aces bets.

The other players resume their seats. Joe and Jerry follow the mechanic toward the parked cars.

JOE

It's a '25 Hupmobile coupe. Green.

The mechanic leads them up to the car, which is parked near the gas pump.

MECHANIC

Need some gas?

JERRY

Yeah. [takes some coins out of pocket] Like about forty cents' worth.

The mechanic unscrews the cap of the gas tank, inserts the rubber hose from the pump.

MECHANIC

Put it on Miss Weinmeyer's bill?

JOE

Why not? [signals Jerry to put coins away] And while you're at it - fill 'er up.

From the street outside comes the loud squeal of tires. Jerry glances off casually toward the entrance. A black Dusenberg bursts the chain hanging across the street entrance, skids into the garage, takes to a screeching stop some ten feet from the card players.

Toothpick Charlie and his cronies leap up and reach for their guns. Too late. Four men have scrambled out of the car, two armed with submachine guns, the other two with sawed-off shotguns. We recognize them as Spats Colombo's henchmen.

FIRST HENCHMAN

All right, everybody hands up and face the wall.

The frightened poker players start to obey. Jerry is watching the scene, open-mouthed. Joe grabs his shoulder, pulls him down behind the Hupmobile. The Second Henchman notices the mechanic standing petrified beside the gas pump.

SECOND HENCHMAN

[waving machine gun] Hey - join us!

SECOND HENCHMAN

[continues] Okay, boss.

A pair of men's feet step down from the limousine. They are encased in immaculate spats. Jerry, crouching behind the Hupmobile with Joe, grabs his arm.

JERRY

[whispering] It's Spats Colombo -

Joe clamps his hand over Jerry's mouth. Spats Colombo joins his armed henchmen, who are covering the seven men facing the wall with their hands up.

SPATS

[very blase] Hello, Charlie. Long time no see.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

[glancing over his shoulder nervously] What is it, Spats? What do you want here?

SPATS

Just dropped in to pay my respects.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

You don't owe me no nothing.

SPATS

Oh, I wouldn't say that. You were nice enough to recommend my mortuary to some of your friends ...

He has strolled over to the table, and picking up the deck of cards, starts to deal out another round to the abandoned poker hands.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

[sweating] I don't know what you're talking about.

SPATS

So now I got all those coffins on my hands - and I hate to see them go to waste.

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

Honest, Spats - I had nothing to do with it!

Spats deals Toothpick Charlie's fifth card, then turns up the hole card.

SPATS

Too bad, Charlie. You would have had three eights. [flips cards away] Goodbye, Charlie!

TOOTHPICK CHARLIE

[knowing what's coming] No, Spats - no, no, no - [a scream] NO!

Spats nods, and the two machine-gunners raise their weapons, start to fire methodically at their off-scene victims. Behind the Hupmobile, Jerry screws his eyes shut painfully as the steady chatter of bullets continues.

JERRY

I think I'm going to be sick.

The machine guns stop firing. There is a moment's silence. Suddenly, the bas tank of the Hupmobile overflows, and the rubber hose from the pump whips out, gushing gasoline over the floor. Spats and his henchmen, hearing the SOUND, whirl around and catch sight of Joe and Jerry squatting behind the car.

SPATS

All right - come on out of there.

Joe and Jerry emerge quakingly from behind the Hupmobile. They try to raise their hands, but find this rather difficult to manage while holding on to their instruments. Jerry darts a horrified glance toward the foot of the wall.

JOE

[quickly] We didn't see anything - [to Jerry] - did we?

JERRY

[to Spats] No - nothing. Besides, it's none of our business if you guys want to knock each other off -

Joe nudges him violently with his elbow, and he breaks off.

SPATS

[studying them] Don't I know you two from somewhere?

JOE

We're just a couple of musicians - we come to pick up a car - Nellie Weinmeyer's car - there's a dance tonight - [starting to edge away] Come on, Jerry.

SPATS

Wait a minute. Where do you think you're going?

JOE

To Urbana. It's a hundred miles.

SPATS

You ain't going nowhere.

JERRY

[quavering] We're not?

SPATS

The only way you'll get to Urbana is feet first.

During this, one of the bodies huddled grotesquely against the foot of the wall begins to stir. It is Toothpick Charlie. He is covered with blood, but there is still a spark of life in him, and his toothpick is still clutched between his teeth. Painfully, he starts to worm his way across the floor toward a phone on a wooden shelf. Spats and his gang, facing Joe and Jerry, are not aware of Charlie's activity.

SPATS

I don't like no witnesses.

JOE

We won't breathe a word.

SPATS

You won't breathe nothing, not even air.

He motions lazily to the Second Henchman. The henchman slowly levels his machine gun at Joe and Jerry, who stand frozen. At that very moment, Toothpick Charlie reaches up for the phone. But he is too weak to hold on, and the receiver drops from his limp hand, and clatters to the asphalt floor.

Instantly, Spats and his henchman wheel around. Spats grabs the machine gun from the Second Henchman, and perforates what is left of Charlie with a hail of lead. Toothpick Charlie crumbles in a heap. He is quite dead. Spats' bespatted foot comes into SHOT, disdainfully kicks the toothpick out of Charlie's mouth.

Joe and Jerry have taken advantage of this momentary diversion. Like scalded jackasses, they are sprinting toward the entrance, hanging on to their instruments. Spats and his boys pivot, see the two running. They let go with a salvo of shots, just as Joe and Jerry scoot through the garage door and disappear down the street. A couple of henchmen start after them. There is the SOUND of an approaching police SIREN.

SPATS

Come on - let's blow. We'll take care of those guys later.

They all pile into the black Dussenberg. The driver shifts into reverse and the car shoots backwards out of the garage.

13. EXT. ALLEY - DAY.

13. Joe and Jerry come skidding around the corner from Clark Street, race down the snow-covered alley. In b.g. there is the SOUND of squealing tires and police sirens.

JERRY

[as they run] I think they got me.

JOE

They got the bull-fiddle.

JERRY

[feeling himself all over] You don't see any blood?

JOE

Not yet. But if those guys catch us, there'll be blood all over. Type O.

They start running even faster.

JERRY

Where are we running, Joe?

JOE

As far away as possible.

JERRY

That's not far enough. You don't know those guys! But they know us. Every hood in Chicago will be looking for us -

They reach the end of the alley. A couple of motorcycle policemen, their sirens wailing, flash by in the direction of the garage. The word must have spread, because pedestrians are also running in the same direction. Joe stops, looks around quickly, and seeing a cigar store on the corner drags Jerry inside.

14. INT. CIGAR STORE - DAY.

14. Joe hurries to a wall telephone near the entrance. Jerry follows breathlessly.

JOE

Got a nickel?

He sets the saxophone case down, and taking a coin from Jerry, inserts it in the slot.

JERRY

You going to call the police?

JOE

The police? We'd never live to testify. Not against Spats Colombo. [into phone] Wabash 1098.

JERRY

We got to get out of town. Maybe we ought to grow beards.

JOE

We are going out of town. But we're going to shave.

JERRY

Shave? At a time like this? Those guys got machine guns - they're going to blast our heads off - and you want to shave?

JOE

Shave our legs, stupid.

Stupid is right. Jerry still doesn't get it.

JOE

[into phone; his voice a tremulous soprano] Hello? Mr. Poliakoff? I understand you're looking for a couple of girl musicians.

Now Jerry gets it. DISSOLVE TO: 15. EXT. CHICAGO RAILROAD PLATFORM - NIGHT. 15. Two pairs of high-heeled shoes, unusually large in size, are hurrying along the platform. CAMERA FOLLOWS them and PANS UP gradually, revealing rather hefty legs in rolled stockings, short dresses, coats with cheap fur pieces, and rakish cloche hats. One of the pair carries a saxophone case, the other a bull-fiddle case, and each has a Gladstone bag. A train, with steam up, is loading for departure. Redcaps, passengers, baggage carts.

ANNOUNCER'S VOICE

Florida Limited leaving on Track Seven for Washington, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville and Miami. All aboard. All aboard.

Our two passenger accelerate their pace. But evidently they are not too adept at navigating in high heels. Suddenly the one with the bull-fiddle twists her ankle - or we should say his ankle - because it's Jerry. He stops and faces his girlfriend - Joe.

JERRY

[rubbing his ankle] How can they walk on these things? How do they keep their balance?

JOE

Must be the way their weight is distributed. Come on.

As they proceed along the platform, a gust of wind sends their skirts billowing. Jerry stops again and pulls his skirt down.

JERRY

And it's so drafty. They must be catching colds all the time.

JOE

[urging him on] Quit stalling. We'll miss the train.

JERRY

I feel so naked. Like everybody's looking at me.

JOE

With those legs? Are you crazy?

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