The Big Combo

Synopsis: Police Lt. Diamond is told to close his surveillance of suspected mob boss Mr. Brown because it's costing the department too much money with no results. Diamond makes one last attempt to uncover evidence against Brown by going to Brown's girlfriend, Susan Lowell.
Director(s): Joseph H. Lewis
Production: All Channel Films
Rotten Tomatoes:
87 min

- Please let me go. - We can't do that, Miss Lowell. Mr. Brown wants you should see the fight, it's only the third round. I'll go back, just let me go by myself. Mr. Brown is mad already, we lost you for two minutes. I promise I won't run away. - Where will I go? - All right. Let her go. I've changed my mind. I don't want to see the fights. I'm hungry. Call a cab. Call a cab. - But, Mr. Brown wants... - Mr. Brown says to keep her happy, call a cab. 93rd Precinct, Sgt Leeds. - Sit down! Captain Peterson. - Yes, sir. I know, sir. - The Lieutenant? - He's on duty, sir. But he's still in his office? I know! I know! Hell, Leonard! It's good to see you relax for a change. - Evening, Captain. Anything urgent? - Urgent? Anything urgent I leave to my subordinates. - Got some good 10 cent cigars in that box over there. - No, thanks. I'm off cigars. Brandy! My doctor's got me off everything worth living for... almost. - Leonard? - Yes, sir? Now, there's got to be a stop to your complete disregard of the taxpayers money. Paid for this apple out of my own pocket, Captain. Leonard, you spent $18,600 in the last six months! Investigating one man, a single man! Brown's not a man, he's an organization. And, I need money to fight money. Now look, Lieutenant. I've got nothing against you personally, I admire you. You've got too many brains, but that's not your fault. Now, what about this $18,600? How am I going to explain this to the Commissioner? Well, I've... dictated an explanation if you want to use it. Memorandum to Captain Peterson covering expenditures of the 93rd Precinct station. The Combination is growing stronger every day, the only way to crush it is to get the top man. When Grazzi left the country, Brown... What do you think this is, a homicide investigation? You're dealing with the largest pool of illegal money in the world! You're fighting a swamp with a... teaspoon. The Combination keeps no books, no records. Everything's run on word of mouth and hard cash! - That's their one weakness. - What? They have to have a treasurer. - So? - And, I know his name. The name of a man who can pick up a phone and call Chicago or New Orleans and say: "Hey, Bill. Joe is coming down for the weekend, advance him 50,000." And, he hangs up the phone and the money is advanced. Protection money! Then a new all night bar opens, with gambling outside city limits. A bunch of high school kids come in, for a good time. They get loaded, they get irresponsible. They lose their shirts. And, they get a gun! Cause they're worried, they want to make up their loses, and a filling station attendant is dead with a bullet in his liver! And, I have to see four kids on trial for first degree murder. Look at it! First degree murder because a certain Mr. Brown picked up a phone. You can't touch Brown, he's clean. We've got nothing on him! Not even a parking ticket... Yeah, why is he so careful? It's unnatural! You can't tell a jury a man's guilty because he's too innocent... - He's no more innocent than this gun! - Now stop getting emotional, Leonard! He's innocent until he's proven guilty. Yes, Captain. Is there anything else, Captain? Yes. The girl. Susan Lowell. You've had a tail on her for six months. Why? She's Brown's girl. She's our most valuable lead. We know next to nothing about Brown, but... a woman knows, she makes it her business to know. If I can get a hold of her and make her talk... Leonard, you've spent six months trying! She went to Vegas, you went to Vegas. She flew to Cuba, you flew to Cuba. You couldn't get authorization for the expense, paid it out of your own pocket. I had to, you wouldn't back me up. Well, I'm not in love with her, Leonard. You are! This is off the record, Leonard. It's between friends. Try to face facts. You can't bear to think of her in the arms of this hood. Forget her! You're a cop, Leonard. There's 17,000 laws on the books to be enforced. You haven't time to reform wayward girls. She's been with Brown three and a half years. That's a lot of days... and nights. Face it, Leonard... I'm glad you agree. Just don't run away. We'd only have to come after you, Mr. Brown wouldn't like that. Mr. Audubon. Susan! Well, I... Well, I'm glad to see you. How are you? It's been years! Well, you look so different somehow, Susan. I... - Well, I hardly recognized you. - Oh, I'm just the same, Mr. Audubon. Well, how's your lovely mother? She's in England someplace, I haven't kept track. Why, I should think you'd of gone along. I hear that Vladovich is playing a Beethoven cycle. I haven't the interest I once had in the piano, Mr. Audubon. Well, now I'm disappointed. You don't play anymore? The only thing I play now, Mr. Audubon, is stud poker. - Will you dance with me, Mr. Audubon? - Why certainly, Susan. You all right? Of course! Of course! The day Mr. Brown lets go our little lady... I'll do it personally. - Mr. Audubon... - Susan. I've taken some pills, I think I'm dying. Susan! Get an ambulance! She just fell over! How you feel now, Bennie? Lost. I feel terrible, Mr. Brown. You kept fighting, Bennie. You've got heart. I lost three of my teeth too. All right, so you lost. Next time you'll win. I'll show you how. Take a look at Joe McClure here. He used to be my boss, now I'm his. What's the difference between me and him? We breath the same air, sleep in the same hotel. He used to own it! Now it belongs to me. We eat the same steaks, drink the same bourbon. Look! Same manicure, same cufflinks. But, there's only one difference... we don't get the same girls. Why? Because women know the difference! They got instinct. First is first and second is nobody. - The best man won tonight, Mr. Brown. - You were better than Martinez. Only, you threw it away. You step in the ring, you shake hands with him. You want to be his friend, and you want to fight him. No, Bennie. No. - Mr. Brown. - Shut the door! Now, Bennie, who runs the world? Have you any idea? - Not me, Mr. Brown. - That's right, not you. But, a funny thing... they're not so much different from you. They've got something. They've got it and they use it. I've got it, he hasn't! So, what is it, Bennie? What makes the difference? Hate. Hate is the word, Bennie. Hate the man who tries to beat you! Kill him, Bennie! Kill him! Hate until you see red and you'll come out winning the big money. And, the girls will come tumbling after. You'll have to shut of your phone and lock the door to get a night's rest. Get on your feet, Bennie. What you do that for, Mr. Brown? You should have hit me back. You haven't got the hate. Tear up Bennie's contract! He's no good to me anymore. - Where's Susan, in the car? - I tried to tell you before, Mr. Brown. - Tell me what? - She's in General Hospital. - What happened? - She took some pills. Get the car and bring it around! Buy me some cigarettes. Where is she? General Hospital. She's dying. You can take her to the prison ward now. Hello, Lieutenant. This is Mr. Brown. - What do you want, Mr. Brown? - Joe, tell the man I want her out. Mr. Brown would like to have Miss Lowell released, he'll put her in a private hospital - Is he a relative? - Not exactly. - Married to her? - Just a personal friend. Ya, visiting days are Tuesdays and Fridays. I don't know how you two got in here - you can get out the way you came. - Tell the man not to get excited. Mr. Brown is a very reasonable man, you don't know him. Oh, is he? Well, I'm not. And, I intend to make life very difficult for your Mr. Brown. You shouldn't talk like that, Lieutenant. You're overstepping your authority. Joe, the man has reason to hate me. His salary is $96.50 a week. The busboys in my hotel make better money than that. Don't you see, Joe? He's a righteous man. Personal feelings mean nothing to him. My girl's dying in a public hospital and I want her out! She's under arrest, Mr. Brown. - What's the charge? - Homicide! - That's ridiculous, she wouldn't kill a fl - She tried to kill herself. - Is that a crime? - It happens to be against two laws: God's and Man's. I'm booking her under the second. Tell the man if he puts her on trial I'll... Alicia! Alicia... Susan. - Stay away from the prisoner, Mr. Brown. - Susan, you all right? Brown, stay where you are! - Susan! Joe. Tell the man I'm gonna break him so fast he won't have time to change his pants! Tell him the next time I see him he'll be down in the lobby of the hotel, crying like a baby and asking for a $10 loan! Tell him that! And, tell him I don't break my word. You must have done something pretty fine to get as high as you are, Mr. Brown. I'm looking into that, I'm gonna open you up and I'm gonna operate. And, I hate to think of what I'll find. What I tell you, Joe? A righteous man. Miss Lowell? Do you hear me, Miss Lowell? Are you a doctor? My name is Diamond, I'm a detective. Let me alone. I have to ask you certain questions and you'll have to answer them. I feel so cold. Can't they turn on the heat? Can you get some hot coffee, please? If you'd get up and walk you'd be a lot better off. I want to go to sleep, just let me sleep. Here. Just take some of this, come on. You're very kind. Everyone's kind. I don't deserve it Come on now, take a little of it. That's it. It's good. Why did you try to kill yourself? I don't know why. I can't remember. Please let me go to sleep. - Were you jealous, is that why? Was there another woman? - Please, please... There was another woman wasn't there? You mentioned her name Alicia Is that right? What about Alicia? Was Mr. Brown seeing Alicia? No! I don't know. I don't know who she is. - Then how do you know her name? - I don't know... You must know, you kept repeating it. Where'd you first hear it? I never heard it. I saw it. Where'd you see it, on a letter? In his apartment. It was raining outside, and... there was a... mist on the window... He was writing a name on it with his finger like this... A moist glass... 'Alicia'. And, when he saw me he... he rubbed it out. - Oh, I'm so cold! - Where is Alicia now? - I don't know. - Didn't you ask him? He wouldn't tell me. What was that? Diesel trucks going by, it's almost morning. Was Brown upset when you asked him about Alicia? I don't know any answers! Don't touch me! Go away! Please, go away! You think you're the bright, respectable girl you were four years ago, you're not! You attempted suicide, you're under arrest! You could be sent to jail for six months! Nurse! May I have some water please? - Miss Lowell, answer one question. - No! - Who is Alicia? - You tell me. Get on your feet! - There's a man downstairs with a writ of habeas corpus. - Already? It's McClure, what'll I tell him? You know what habeas corpus means, Sam? I know what it does. It's Latin, it means: "you may have the body". Mr. Brown may have it. Sam. We got to find out who Alicia is. I want you to pick up every hood who works for Brown. And, pick up Brown himself. - What's up? - He's crazy - Who? - Diamond! He's crazy! What happened, McClure? When they picked us up I mentioned your name. You know what they said? Quit shaking. What'd he ask you? A girl's name! That's all he kept asking. He just kept asking me this girl's name. - Like he was nuts! - He's crazy. What girl? They knocked it outta my head. I don't know... Alice-something or another... Alicia! That's what it was. Alicia. What'd you tell him? Exactly what I know... nothing. That's right, Fante. You know nothing, absolutely nothing... and don't forget it. I got a right to make a phone call. - Who do you wanna call? - Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown's a little busy right now in a conference with Mr. Diamond. You know, legally I don't have to submit to this test. I know, we appreciate your cooperation, Mr. Brown. And, if I say no? Well, if you say no I have a lot of questions to ask, you may be sitting in that chair for a couple of days. This way I can tell if you're lying in a few minutes. Go ahead, lad. Let's get it over with. Picking me up for peddling without a license, you could have thought of something better than that, Lieutenant. I prefer it to be suspicion of murder, but... we had none today. I would have been happy to accommodate you, a police lieutenant. Now, I'm gonna say one word at a time, most of them won't mean a thing to you. But, I want you to say whatever pops into your head. - Like, if I say sweet... - I say sugar. If I say police... I say $96.50. Apple. Pear. - Blue. - Ocean. Brown. Mr. Brown to you, only my friends call me Brown. Water. Whiskey. - Gun. - Permit. - Spaghetti. - Bettini. - What? What's that? - What's what? Bettini. Spaghetti joint on the north side. - Since when? Never heard of it. - You couldn't afford it. - Go ahead, Joe. - Women. Expensive. - Snow. - White. Alicia. - What was the name again? - A woman's name... Alicia. - No. - No what? I said no, you want me to say it again? - You know Alicia, don't you? - Sure. - Who is she? A two year old filly that broke her leg in the Jamaican stakes. - I lost 10 grand. - You're lying, Mr. Brown. When you heard Alicia your heart went bang, you don't lie with your blood pressure Do you know what this means? It means you're scared. Mr. Brown isn't scared of a horse. Who is she, what does she mean to you? If that's a crime, book me! Book me, small change. All right, take him out, Sam. To the bullpen? No, back to the gutter. Mr. Brown is a very influential citizen. I ducked 14 calls from the Commissioner today, the 15th caught me. One more call and I'm out. Leonard, what were you doing? Just give me one possible explanation, that's all I ask. I was following a lead, I was being logical. - How am I going to explain? - You'll only have to explain 95... Sam, what'll I do with Leonard? Tell me what to do! Just give me another 18,000 for the Brown case. The Brown case is closed. Kaput! The end, no more! Case closed! Hey, Sam... What was the name of that hood we failed to pick up? Ralph Bettini. How long ago did he drop out of sight? About seven years ago, why? That's about the same time that Grazzi left the country and Brown took over. Yeah, so? Take a look at that graph. See how it jumped after he said Bettini? Bettini's was the only warrant we failed to serve. He hasn't been around for years, maybe he's dead. No, he's not. I... checked the morgue, the files, there's nothing. Why don't you go home? Get some rest. No, I've got a call to make first. Leonard. Peterson meant what he said. You cross him, it means we're both out. What can we lose, $96.50 a week? - Oh, you've certainly got a nerve! - Hi, Rita. What's on your mind? As if I didn't know. - Thought maybe we could go dancing. - I've been dancing, Lieutenant. Further more, you haven't been around here for six months. And, further more, if you want a date do what the others do, call me first... a week in advance. Rita, I... I'm giving a party tonight. I thought maybe you'd like to come? A party? Who's gonna be there? Just you and me. The joke stinks! Lieutenant... either book me or let go of my arm! Leonard. Leonard! Take me to the party. You're a beautiful girl, Rita. But, you're stupid. You can't say anything nice without spoiling it. Why do you waste your time with a cop? You could get me a nice, rich hoodlum. You should be able to recommend one with your connections. What is there about a hoodlum that appeals to certain women? Hoodlums... detectives... A woman doesn't care how a man makes his living... only how he makes love. Who is she, Leonard? I'm stupid, Leonard, about everything but men. Them... I know. Give me my shoes, I'm going home. Put them on for me. When she hurts you again, baby... don't wait six months. Yes... I'm having a drink. Well, don't forget me as if I were a lush! That music, turn it off. - I enjoy it. - I said turn it off. What are we so cheerful about today? - Where did you get that outfit? - What's wrong with it? I like you better in white. You got a dozen white dresses, why don't you wear them? White doesn't please me anymore. A woman dresses for a man, you dress for me. Go put on something white! I won't! What's the matter with you? What have I done now? Before I came in when you were playing that record, what were you thinking? I was trying to remember how I fell in love with you. That's so hard to remember? A girl's first love shouldn't be, it should be her only. Maybe that's why I can't leave you. We'll talk about love some other time. You know what I've been doing, what's been happening? People tell me all sorts of things, I don't listen. I didn't ask you before, you were sick... What did Diamond tell you? Diamond! Lieutenant Diamond! Detective, 93rd Precinct. He grilled you for three hours in the hospital, what did he tell you? - He kept asking me about a girl. - What girl? - Her name was Alicia. - Who's she? I don't know. - He was very insistent. - What was the name again? Alicia. Doesn't mean a thing to me. Susan, tell me, come on... What's bothering you? I hate and despise you! Susan... what are you trying to do, drive me bats? What do you want, Susan? Tell me! - I'll give you anything you want, tell me. - Nothing! - Anything at all. - Nothing! Nothing... Lieutenant, you got a call while the Captain was in, I didn't want to disturb you. - Who? She just said "Rita". She wants to see you and said you'd know where. - Thanks! Say, Lieutenant! Hi, Pop. If you're looking for Rita, she's in her dressing room. - Thanks! - Hi, Rita. - You certainly took your time getting here! Come on, I've had a bad day. Don't give me anymore. What I've got to tell you is not good. Fix this for me, will you? Tell it! Keep blowing your cork, pinching half the town! - There's a big mad on you and it's burning all over! - Is that it? - They're quoting a price on you, you'd better take a vacation. - What'd you hear? It's all around, I picked up bits here and there. What are you gonna do? Just what I've been doing only more. Are you trying to... Are you trying to get yourself killed, Leonard? Brown doesn't kill to get what he wants, he buys. Then you'd better sellout or start running. Hey, you're really worried about me. A little. That's enough. That's a lot for me. That's my music! - Leonard! - Yeah? - When will I see you again? Well, if I'm not dead you'll find me where I always am, in jail. Shut up! Let's get him out of here! When's he gonna wake up, Christmas? Shoot me with my own gun, that's what gets me. Fante! - Let me wake him up. - Leave him alone! Mr. Brown doesn't want to draw any blood or show any marks. May I talk to Mr. Brown? Let me at him, Fante. Two minutes is all I'll need. - What for? - I want to ask him one question. All right, go ahead. He's all yours... but, first... Paper. Fante, we're friends. You don't hold up a friend. Paper. - Didn't Mr. Brown pay you? - You're not Mr. Brown. For Mr. Brown I'd snatch a judge from the Superior Court, for a chocolate soda. - Same goes for Mingo. Right, Mingo? - Yeah! - How much? - A hundred. - For Mingo too. - What? A hundred... each. Mingo! Thanks, Fante. Now ask him all the questions you want. What did you pick me up for? I asked you a question! Why did you pick me up? I'm talking to you, answer me! Why'd you pick me up? There he is, Mr. Brown. I was softening him up for you. - I did a pretty good job. - I told you not to touch him. I didn't hurt him, we're still legal. The trouble with you, McClure, is that you never took time to learn technique. Fante! Mingo! Bring that radio over here. Turn it on. I only want to borrow it, Joe. We're gonna give the Lieutenant a little concert. - How's that? - Too loud, turn it down. Can you hear me, Lieutenant? I just want to ask you one question and then you can go. What are you looking for? Maybe I can help you? What about Alicia? What's your information? Arresting all my friends! Phoney warrants! What's behind it? Mingo, try it. Now, don't be stubborn, Lieutenant. What about Alicia? Why don't you ask yourself? Nice break coming up, a kid on drums... Real crazy! You like crazy drums, Lieutenant? Have a good time. I think Mr. Diamond needs a drink. Got any liquor? - How about some paint thinner? - No, that'll kill him. Anything else? - Antonic (?), 40 % alcohol. - Fine. Come down here and hold his head, Fante. Now, let him go. Shove him off. Look at that drunken cop. Isn't that a shame? Hold him! Diamond, what are you doing here? Well, well... Leonard. You're drunk! My congratulations! Come in. The gall of him... grabbed one of my own officers. Slug him, torture him! - You were right, Leonard. They're afraid of something. - Alicia. Well, that's a start. Let's go to work on Brown. I'd like to start by picking up Brown and company... Well, you can't. They outsmarted you. Take a look in the mirror, there's not a mark on you! You were drunk, you came here on your own. That's the defense. And it's airtight, Leonard. That's why Brown delivered you here. His chief witness is me, Peterson! I'm sorry, Leonard. - Alicia... - Alicia! Alicia! They don't know if it's a horse, a boat, or a girl. - What else have you got? - Another name cropped up: Bettini. - Bettini? - You ever hear of him? - Ya, where does he fit in? Out of 97 warrants he was the only one we couldn't pick up. He turned up again on Brown's lie detector... Sit down, Leonard. I remember him. He was Grazzi's right-hand man, before Brown, before McClure from my generation. He dropped out when Grazzi had to leave the country. - Dead? - No, scared. He didn't fit in with Brown's new setup. None of the old crowd did. Bettini didn't wait around to get himself killed. Turned honest citizen. Changed his name and went into hiding. Do you know where? I did him a favor once. I could of put him away for something he didn't do. I let it pass. He did deserve it, considering all the times he was guilty - and I didn't have the evidence. - Well, tell me where to find him. He'll be scared, Leonard. Too scared to talk. If he's that scared, he'll listen. Come in. Not yet. Just a minute... That's all I ask, just a minute. Let me turn off the stove. It could cause a fire, lots of nice old people in the building. Okay? I've been... waiting for you a long time. You... look like such a nice, young feller. That Brown sure know how to pick 'em. I would never of suspected. Can I lie down... make it easy? Come closer. One shot ought to do it. You're not going to die, Mr. Bettini. I've got no money to offer you. I've got something to offer you. Don't fool with me, young fella! Get it over with! Mr. Brown didn't send me. My name is Diamond. Lt Diamond, 93rd Precinct. If you'll help me... I can put your nightmare away. I can't. I can't even help myself, how could I help you? I'm looking for a name... Alicia. You ever hear of her? Mean anything to you? Alicia... is Mr. Brown's wife. Who told you? She told me. She was a good girl. Healthy, right off the farm. Brown married her when he was a prison guard. Two years later she was a lush, she'd drink anything. Then... Brown got tired of her. So, he got rid of her! Take your time, Mr. Bettini. He was on Grazi's boat... three days out from Portugal. Alicia... came to the table drunk. Brown told her to go sleep it off. She called him a name. Grazzi laughed, not Brown. I remember the look on Brown's face... and then he hit her. Then she got up from the table and she... pulled of her wedding ring. It was hard to pull off, it must've been... grown to her finger. She pulled it off and throw it in the ocean. Then what? Then she went to her cabin... - I never seen her again. - What happened to her? How do you know? I know Brown. I know Brown too, that's no evidence. Then... there was the ship's anchor. What about it? We stopped at the Azores... and the skipper went to shore and got another one. You think she was murdered, then... tied to the ship's anchor and dropped into the sea? I don't know which came first... I jumped ship the moment we landed. Who was the skipper? Some Swede. What was his name? - I never talked to the man. - What did he look like? A uniform. Who looks at the uniform? It's important, Mr. Bettini. If the anchor was used the skipper would surely know. He'd have to be paid off, or... killed off. Now, try... Please try to remember his name. Go away! Leave me alone! Seven years I don't talk to nobody, now I talk too much. You'll have to come with me, Mr. Bettini. You're locking me up? The next stranger who comes in... won't be from the police. You'll be safer with us. You better... Pack your things. I got them all on me. Except this. How come a nice guy like you is a cop? Just lucky I guess. You like antiques, Officer? Who can afford them? If you're a captain on a boat borne for Portugal... and you keep your mouth shut... you can buy a lot of antiques. Maybe a whole store full. Yes, my love. That is what I've been telling you for the last five minutes, but you don't listen. Well, be calm, we can change our plans. What can I do for you, Sir? I'm Lt Diamond, police. Diamond! Expensive name. I won't take much of your time, Mr. Dreyer. I just want to ask you a few questions. Please. - It's about a large purchase you made. - Yeah, well I have complete books. Every dollar is there in black and white... unless it goes in the red! This purchase was made in 1946. I'm sorry, I was not in business then. So, I... I can't help you. I was hoping you'd have some record, it's... about the purchase of an anchor. I don't understand. In 1946 you were skipper of a private boat, bound from New York Harbor for Lisbon, Portugal. On the way you stopped at the Azores and bought a new anchor. Why? I don't understand... Well, try a little harder. You don't know me, I'm very stupid. The boat was a cabin cruiser owned by Grazzi. It's now being operated by a Mr. Brown. Do you know Mr. Brown? I had lunch with him last week, he's a very fine gentleman. He's a hoodlum. Because I have lunch with him, that is not a crime. I have lunch with anybody, I'm democratic. I'll even have lunch with you. Who paid for this shop? Me, Dreyer. You, Dreyer, borrowed the money from the Bolomac (?) Corporation. The Bolemac Corporation is Brown, or Brown and Grazzi. Mr. Brown doesn't pay money for nothing. What makes you so valuable to Mr. Brown? What do you have on him? My name is Nils Dreyer, I live at 821 Mason Avenue. That is all I have to tell you. You know, Mr. Dreyer. Things changed since I walked in here. - Brown knows I'm here, he knows I'm talking to you. - I said nothing. Yeah, but Brown doesn't know that. In exchange for information, Mr. Dreyer, I'll give you protection. I'll do better than that, I'll put you in jail. Suppose you put me in jail. The man in the next cell happens to have a gun. Boom! One dead Swede. Thank you very kindly, I'll remain stupid. How did you get in here, Sir? The store is closed. I am late for an appointment, if you'll excuse me. Mr. Dreyer, the secret you think keeps you safe will blow up in your face. You're dealing with a... a ruthless man. Mr. Diamond, I was a seaman for 30 years. I went to sea aged 14. I've seen storms, I've seen gunfire and I've seen torpedoes. I've been wrecked not once, four times! On a raft, 37 days, nothing but water. Nothing kills me. I'll die in Stockholm like my great-grandfather, aged 93. I'm not scared of anyone including you, so... get out. If you change your mind, Mr. Dreyer, just phone the 93rd Precinct, I'll send a squad car for you. Hello? Hello? Hello! Sit down, Joe. I wanted him here alive, what happened? He had a gun. Didn't he, Fante? - He had a gun all right, Mr. Br... - I told you to go without guns! - Which one of you changed my mind? - I didn't have any gun with me. - Mingo? - It wasn't me, I swear. Well, he pulled a gun on me, what'd you want me to do? With your kind of brain there was nothing else he could do! Now, listen to me you two. Go about your business. Go where you ordinarily go, do what you ordinarily do! If they ask questions, say nothing! And you, get upstairs, go to bed, stay there! You been sick, understand? Sick! And, if they take you to police headquarters... shoot yourself in the head. It'll make everything a lot simpler. Now, get out! Joe! Come here. Why did you do it, Joe? - I thought he'd pulled a gun on me. - I'm trying to run an impersonal business. Killing is very personal. Once it gets started it's hard to stop. I could understand it if you were a trigger happy punk, but you're not. You're an experienced man, Joe. Why did you do it? - I guess I'm getting too old to handle a gun. - Yeah... Maybe you're just getting too old, Joe. You don't like me much, do you? You figure when Grazzi left the country you should've taken over instead of me. Is that it? No... the job's too big for me. Yeah... you say that but you don't mean it. Give me your gun, Joe. Come on! See what I mean, Joe? Two seconds ago you had this gun in your hand. We're all alone here. The thought of using it flashed through your mind... but, you couldn't. But you didn't hesitate to use it on Dreyer, why? Because he was a little man, Joe. Like you, a little man. You got a soft job and good pay. Stop thinking about what might have been. And, who knows... You may live to die in bed. That's all, Joe. - It's empty! - It can't be. - Did anybody open this since yesterday? - Miss Hartleby? - Impossible, Sir. What do you got? It was Dreyer's life insurance. Where would an ex-sailor keep a log book? Dreyer was a very meticulous man, he kept a complete record of everything in his shop. In his shop... If you're looking for the log of Grazzi's yacht in the summer of '46 you'll find it in there. Sam, get the DA's office and get a warrant for Brown's arrest. - On what charge? - Ahh... Arson! I got a court order, issued this morning. It says that all the deeds, papers and properties of this shop belong to me. Dreyer had 20 %. The Bolemac Corporation had the rest and I'm the Bolemac Corporation. Nobody else. - Not even Grazzi? - I bought him out. Why should the Bolemac Corporation be interested burning that ship's log? Why? Liquidation of assets. Which is hardly a crime. I'll wait until I can put you on trial for murder. Who's murder, Lieutenant? - Mine, if necessary. - Don't push too hard. It's my sworn duty to push too hard. Diamond, the only trouble with you is you'd like to be me. You'd like to have my organization, my influence, my fix. You can't, it's impossible. You think it's money, it's not. It's personality... You haven't got it, Lieutenant, you're a cop. Slow, steady, intelligent... With a bad temper.. and a gun under your arm. Or, the big yearn for a girl you can't have. First is first and second is nobody. The DA's out, I have his assistant. Hang up, Sam. Miss Lowell. Go away, please. I'll only be a minute, Miss Lowell. - Why here? Can't it wait? - No. Well... what is it, please? - I've come to ask you a favor. - Do I owe you one? I want you to leave Mr. Brown. I've asked you to leave, Mr. Diamond. - Well, if you don't I will. - You think this is mink, Miss Lowell? Do you think these are the skins of wild animals sewn together for your pleasure? You're mistaken. - Take your hands off... - These are skins of human beings, Miss Lowell. People who have been beaten, sold, robbed... doped and murdered by Mr. Brown. I didn't come here to hurt you, Miss Lowell. You don't have to see me again or even speak to me again, but... save yourself, leave him. How? All you have to do is walk out. Is that all, Mr. Diamond? You followed me long enough to know I... can't. I live in a maze, Mr. Diamond. A strange, blind and backward maze. And all the little twisting paths... lead back to Mr. Brown. I can't but that, Miss Lowell. Not in a million years. Why do you want to change my life, Mr. Diamond? My boss says I'm in love with you. I keep telling myself I'm... just doing my job. Is that why you came to see me? No. I brought you a present. Keep it or burn it just as you please. What is it? It's a photograph of brown's wife. Her name was Alicia. You might ask him what happened. - Who is it? - Susan. It's only 10:30. Was the concert that dull? Take your hands off me! Okay. - I want to talk to you. - Not now, later. - No, now! Come here, I want to show you something. - What is all this? - This is my bank. I could've built this vault in my apartment, but that would have been too obvious. We don't take checks, we deal strictly in cash. There isn't anybody I would trust with so much temptation except myself. Or, maybe you. Trust me. Who'd you see at the concert? - Nobody. - A nobody by the name of Diamond. Then, why do you ask? You know everything. There's one thing Mingo and Fante can't tell you, whether I still love you. - What did Diamond tell you? - That he's in love with me. Diamond in love? That's not possible, anymore than this clever machine. - The machine gave me a strange present. - What was it, a pair of handcuffs? I want to meet her. - I want to meet your wife, Mr. Brown. - You can't. - Why, because she's dead? - No, she's alive. She's living in Sicily, in Grazzi's house. This was taken a month ago, came with one of her letters. - Why did she send it to you? - She wants to come back. - Why did you leave her? - I don't want to talk about it! - I do. - Can't you let me hold onto some pride? I lost all mine with you. All right, I'll tell you. I was in love with her. Me, a prison guard. It was for her I began to work my way up. All I had was guts. I traded them for money and influence. I got respect from everybody but her. She did anything she could to humiliate me. She was always drunk, flirting with other men. I tried to straighten her out. I took her on a boat trip when Grazzi had to go to Sicily. The day after we docked, she disappeared. I spent months looking for her! Where do you think she was? Living in Grazzi's house. He was a bigger man than me. Now you know who Alicia is. Well, well, well. Good evening, Miss Rita. How are you, how you been? Lonely, Fred. Lonely... I'm between shows, have till 12:00. Mr. Diamond is out... - Would you like to go up there and wait for him? - Thanks. Tell me what he does with his evenings. Work. - I'm gonna kill that guy. - Don't you kill him. He pays rent right on the dot, I'd miss him. You and me both. Yeah? No! No, I'm wide awake. When do you want it done? I understand. - Mingo! - What's the matter? Mr. Brown wants an order filled tonight. Who? Diamond. It's open. Go? Go! Leonard? - Leonard! - What, Sam? What? Whatever you're thinking, drop it. It won't bring her back. Saks Fifth Avenue. She came to see me in her best shoes. I'll call Peterson, he'll put every available man on it. Never mind, Sam. I said never mind! We don't have to check bullets or fingerprints. This room a name written all over it... Brown! Brown! He wanted to kill me, he got tired of waiting. Well, so have I. - What are you gonna do? - Close the case. - I know how you feel. - Nobody knows how another person feels! - No matter, sit down! Do me a favor... take off your gun. I treated her like a pair of gloves. If I was cold... I called her up. Don't blame yourself, you'll go crazy. I saw the papers this morning. I'm sorry. - Terribly, terribly sorry. - Why, that it wasn't me? Say what you came to say. - I left Mr. Brown. - You're a little late. Brown killed the girl in your apartment. - His men did it. - Can you prove it? No, I... - Can you prove that Fante and Mingo did it? That he ordered them to? No. Sit down. Does he know you're gone? He will. - I opened his private vault. - Why? - I wanted to help you if I could. - What does he keep in the vault? Guns and money. It's no crime to have money, or even to have a gun, only to use it. - I saw something else. - What? Something about Alicia. - Can you prove that she was murdered? - No. I can prove that she's alive. What are you talking about? She's living in Sicily, with Grazzi. That's impossible. She sent this to Brown. It's Alicia all right. Years older than her photograph taken on the boat. Then she must be ali... This photo was never taken in Sicily. There's snow on the ground. Yeah, it's the same girl all right. She's sure changed since the other picture. - Could that be a fake? - No, Sir. This was made with an ordinary, wide-angle lens. - Now, judging from the scope... - Never mind all that. Can you tell me when the picture was taken? - The original was printed on Varagan paper. - Well, what does that mean? - It wasn't on the market till a year and a half ago. Frank! See the highway marker through the fence, can you tell me what this? Identify it? - No, I can't but I'll check it right away for you. - Will you do it quickly, please? - Leonard. - Yeah? - Alicia's alive. - If there's no murder, there's no case. - We may have an even stronger case. I've been in touch with our overseas military intelligence. They've been looking for Grazzi for years, not to be found! And, there's no record that he ever got to Sicily. What about Bettini's story? Bettini was right about a murder taking place on the boat. He was just wrong about the identity of the victim. Wait a minute. Spell that out. Well, I... I've been looking for the wrong murder. Brown didn't kill his wife! He killed his boss, Grazzi. And, that's why our intelligence couldn't find him. Grazzi is at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean tied to an anchor! That's a beautiful theory, Leonard. Beautiful! Except for one small item. You can't prove it, you have no witness. Oh, you got it, Frank? Let's see it. - State highway marker 225A. - 225A, do you know where that is? I can find it in two hours. It's a one-lane gravel road that curves west from the coast highway. I don't know why you've come to me, Officer. My name is Anna Lee Jackson. Are you sure you never took an ocean voyage? Well, if I had I certainly would've remembered. You really have a way with flowers. - Thank you. - What are these? These are Stalk. Beautiful, all of them. How do you do it? Oh, you have to love them. They know the difference. - Oh, my goodness! - What is it? A caterpillar. Eating the buds. - Well, why didn't you kill it? - Oh, I couldn't kill anything. I can't even cut these flowers. If people want to see them they've got to come here where they're alive. Not... withering and... dying in a vase. - You feel that pretty strongly, don't you? - Oh, yes I do. I can tell you why you feel that way. Can you? Because you saw your husband murder a man named Grazzi. I'll spell the name for you: G-R-A-Z-Z-I. Grazzi. I have a photograph of you... taken seven years ago. You can have it if you like? The men are old friends of yours, one alive, the other dead. Now, listen to me, Alicia. Brown, unfortunately, is not a caterpillar. He doesn't eat flowers, he devours people. I had a friend, a... girl, She was murdered last night. Brown thought he was killing me. - He didn't even know her name. - I don't hear anymore! Please! Please, I'm sick! Can't you see I'm sick? You're sick all right, Alicia. Sick with fright. Now you're in our custody, you have nothing more to fear. You know that, because you're perfectly sane. I'd rather be... insane and alive. Then sane... and dead. - It hurts. - If you can move it, it's not broken. - But, it hurts! - Take a drink. - I took a drink, it still hurts. - Take another drink. Fante, I'm trying to tell you, you don't understa... - Well? - I got news, big news. Brown is finished. The police found Alicia, she's gonna spill her guts to the grand jury. I said Brown's washed up! Finished! Off the map. - You say. That means nothing! - When Grazzi says, that's something. There ain't no Grazzi, he's dead! - Since when? - Seven years. I've seen cablegrams. Brown sent those cablegrams. Brown killed him. Brown kept him alive to keep the boys in line. Why haven't you guys been chaperoning this Miss Lowell dame? You want to know where she is? She's helping the police. Seems like Mr. Brown has lost his charm. What would you suggest? Kill him. Kill him tonight, not tomorrow. Mr. Brown will be dead soon enough. The boys will take care of him for his long double-cross. But, if we do it now, fast... that would save a lot of people a lot of trouble. We'll be in more solid than ever. Instead of running around for Brown and wet-nursing all his crazy dames, I'm gonna show you two guys how to be men. Start all over. Slower this time. We're early. They said they'd land at 1:00 a.m. I didn't want to be late, them coming all the way from Denver. Strange they sent word through you instead of the regular way. This isn't regular, this is special. They said they wanted 200 grand in small bills. I got it right here, but what's the pitch? - Denver's usually a quiet spot. - I don't know. I asked them, but they wouldn't tell me on the phone. Didn't they give any reason? No. What do you think it is? We'll know soon enough. Well, Mr. Brown, how do you feel now? Not so big, huh? You took my job, you took my hotel. You thought you could push me right of the earth. You punk! You accountant, you bookkeeper. Let him have it. Let him have it now, right now! Wait a minute! What's the matter, you fellas gone loony? I'm McClure. Can't you see me? This is McClure! Don't do it, Mango! I'll give you dough! All the dough I got! 10,000! No, Fante! Don't do it! Mr. Brown! Mr. Brown! Mr. Brown, tell them not to do it! I'll do anything you want, I'll go away! You'll never see me again! Please, Mr. Brown! Don't just stand there and let 'em kill me! Please, Mr. Brown. I don't want to die, tell 'em! Please tell 'em. I feel sorry for you, Joe. So, I'm gonna do you a favor. You won't hear the bullets. - Sam. - Yeah? Tell the Captain I finished my interrogation. Miss Lowell. Are you a policewoman? No. Who are you? My... name is Susan Lowell. I'm... a witness against Mr. Brown. I'm not. I can't do it! Haven't I humiliated myself enough? No one's done enough while he's still free. I've been... Mr. Brown's girl... for the past four years. He met lots of girls. They were all crazy about him. I'm not proud of it. Then, why'd you stay four years? - Why'd you start? - I don't know! No, that's not true. I... I was told, but... I just wouldn't believe. Take a look at her, Alicia. Take a good luck, you can see yourself, ten years ago. If you had only spoken up then how different... your life would have been. Because he killed you. He buried you alive. Because he's a murderer. That's all he is, a murderer. Don't wanna hear it. He killed Grazzi, didn't he? You saw him do it, didn't you? I never said I did! Besides... Grazzi deserved to die. And, what about the girl he had killed three days ago? Did she deserve to die too? You remember the girl. The girl I told you about at the sanitarium. You remember! - No, I don't! - Then I'll refresh your memory. This girl! Someone he didn't know, never met, never saw. They took eleven bullets from her body. The following morning Miss Lowell had breakfast with him. He ordered bacon and two eggs. Tell her, Susan! Tell her how he ate his bacon and eggs while he looked at the papers! And saw the body of this girl lying in the morgue. I'll tell whatever I know. We'll take her to the DA's office for a statement. Mrs. Brown. Captain. Captain, this is Mr. Malloy, an attorney. I have a writ of habeas corpus for a Mrs. Alicia Brown. We have no Mrs. Brown here. This is Mrs. Anna Lee Jackson. Hello, Alicia. It's no use, we can't use her. Well, not every case ends with a promotion, your name in the papers. McClure's body has been found in the river, shot full of holes. This is an act of panic! Mr. Brown is cracking. Sam, take the headquarters squad, pick up Fante and Mingo. First Dreyer, Rita, McClure... They can't have alibis that'll stick for three murders! Come on, Mingo, lay off that stuff. Mingo, lay off of that stuff I told you! Gotta eat something. I can't swallow anymore salami. That's all we've got. Where is Brown, when's he coming? How long we gonna stay here? We've been here two days, that's all. I... I just can't take it anymore, Fante. I think my thumb's got an infection, it keeps aching worse than a sore tooth. - If the cops catch us it'll ache worse. - Cops! What can they prove? They don't have to prove a thing. They got three warrants out for us, indictments for three murders. So, let them indict, they still can't prove... Can they? You know how long it would take for three murder trials? We'd be in jail for three years. Now relax. Brown will get us out of town until the heat blows out, then we can come back. - How do we know we're safe here? - It's the safest place in the world. Grazzi built this place in prohibition days, not even the bellhops know it's here. I'm sour on this town, Fante. When we get out, let's never come back. What I'm worried about is getting out of this hotel, the cops will be looking for us in every closet. - We thought you'd never come! - Take it easy, boys. Look, it's now four in the afternoon. At 5:30 tomorrow morning the cops change shifts in the alley, I'll come for you then. - Did you get us a car? - Everything's arranged. Just keep your heads and wait. - I brought you some food. - (?) go crazy. You've both been good boys. There's enough money here to keep care of you for a long time. Divide it even and don't fight over it. - How much you think? - Mr. Brown's a generous man. - I'll tell ya after I count it. - Give it here. The police are downstairs. Bring me another bottle. Mingo is still alive. - He can't be. - He is. I don't want to go up there again. There are things in Brown's vault you've got to identify. Who did this, Mingo? Mingo! Who did this to you? Nobody. Who killed a girl named Rita? Who killed McClure? Who paid you to do it? Nobody. You got third degree burns, Mingo. You're dying. I ain't gonna die. Not you... and not Fante? Fante... Don't leave me Fante... He's dead. Murdered, by whoever tried to kill you. We haven't got much time, Mingo. Tell us who did it! Do it for Fante! He shouldn't of done it... Fante was my friend... All right... I'll tell you. But not for you... We played square with him, he shouldn't have hurt Fante. We haven't got much time, Mingo. Who did it? Who killed the girl in my room? Who paid you to do it? Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown. - Leonard. - What? Sam's been hurt. Shot! - What? Where... where is he? - In the hospital, he'll be all right. But Leonard... Susan's gone. Larry. Get his statement, signed. A man like Brown would have a plan. Where would he go to make a getaway? You're a policeman, you find him. He's not alone, he's got Susan Lowell with him. I wouldn't raise a finger to help that girl. - Let her go through what I've been through. - She never hurt you, Alicia. He's the one who put you away, why take it out on her? Because I hate her. Her and every other woman who ever had anything to do with him What have I done to you, why do you hate me? Oh, I don't! - I must get... - Then help me. Help me! - Tell me where to find him. - I've got to get back to my flowers. I'm sure nobody's taken care of them. Lieutenant. I don't want to help you... I don't. But, I will. What's keeping that plane? It was supposed to be here an hour ago. I've kept that stupid pilot on my payroll for years, just for a spot like this. Why doesn't he come? Don't try that again. - I want to be seen. - Don't try that again! Why doesn't he come? I got everything all figured out. Top to bottom, smooth as silk! Everything's falling apart! You can't trust nobody! Nothing! Come on out, Brown! You can't get away, Brown! You can't get away, drop the gun. Come and get it! Come on! I'm taking you to jail, Mr. Brown. - No you're not! You're not taking me to jail! You'll have to kill me first! Go ahead, shoot! Go ahead. Kill me, Copper! Kill me! - Go ahead! Kill me! Kill me! - Let's go... Hoodlum. Let go! I won't go to jail! I won't! Shoot!

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Philip Yordan

Philip Yordan (April 1, 1914 – March 24, 2003) was an American screenwriter of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s who also produced several films. He was also known as a highly regarded script doctor. Born to Polish immigrants, he earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois and a law degree at Chicago-Kent College of Law. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Big Combo" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 2 Aug. 2021. <>.

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