The Case Against Brooklyn

Synopsis: When a reporter claims that New York police are on the take letting the mob run its horse parlors at will, a shocked District Attorney Michael Norris decide to do something about it. Not knowing who can be trusted on the force, he turns to recent police academy graduates to go undercover and find the corrupt cops. Among them is Pete Harris, a 10 year Marine Corps veteran. His focus is on Lil Polumbo, recently widowed after her husband Gus' truck ran off the road. Rumor has it that Gus was heavily in debt to the mob and killed himself so his wife could collect on his insurance. When the mob learns that Harris is a cop, they try to kill him but it doesn't go as planned and kills someone close to him instead. Pete decides to get the killers at any cost.
Director(s): Paul Wendkos
Production: Columbia Pictures
82 min

I know.

5800, Gus.

I've been on the hook before.

Out of my hands now.

You gotta pay up today.

Now, Mr Finelli, tell me how?

You got your headaches, I got mine.

You know about my heart condition.

Where can I dig up that kind of dough?

You own a garage, a couple of produce

trucks, you got a good business.

I owe four months rent.

I owe back wages. I'm in hock.

Your wife drives a nice car.

I can't, that's hers.

What's the matter? Are you afraid

she won't put out any more?

The bank owns the car.

You spend a lot on that chick, Gus.

Maybe you can't afford it now.

What do you want?

I should cash in my wife with you?

With my heart?

Now, look...

You clean up these IOUs today,


I got to send around to collect.

Mr Finelli, please, one more week.

What'll it be then?

Still hustling laundry, hey, Rudi.

Ah, this kind of wash

I don't mind hustling.

No ambition. That's what happens

when you grow up in the slums.

If only I had

the advantages other kids had.

Might have been something big.

School teacher even.

See you at night school.


This waste... Think

it's getting heavier.

So is the pay off.

Hey, tell me...

does the ratio of the net profits

to the gross keeping pace with

the standing overhead percentage-wise?

I'll explain it to you some day.

Don't bother,

I don't even understand the question.

Grease for the wheels of justice.

Grease... And I thought it was shirts.

You like nice and clean now, sergeant.

You want to try one of these

steam baths sometime Rudi.

Takes out all the poison.

You've been on the take six years now.

You ought to be able to

afford your own bath tub.

I don't get it all, Rudi,

just a little slice off the bottom.

You'll make Captain some day, Sergeant.

And you can split the

payola your own way.

One more week!

I asked for just another week.

You shouldn't welsh.

You can't beat it outta me.

It won't do no good.


-OK, that's enough, beat it.


Not a word out of you...

Gus, come on, we'll

be late for the show.

Gus! What happened?

I saw someone run out.

Gus, are you all right? What happened

to you? Who did it? What did they want?

It's nothing...

I'm all right.

-You're all right.

Go on home.

I can take care of myself.

-Yes, you look like it.

I'm gonna call a doctor.

-Home I said!

I'm sorry, Lil...

I'm sorry.


Please let me in.

Please let me in.

Gus, let me help.

He'll be OK. Why don't you go on home.

Remember sucker... 5800 bucks.

We'll be back tomorrow.

Come in.

Sit down, Rogers, I want you to see this.

This is the big,

big headline in Brooklyn today.

And here with us, is Ed Read.

One of the enterprising reporters

who fearlessly broke this story.

Ed, suppose you tell us

about it in your own words.

Well, George, I've been working

on this story for six weeks now.

And I know that between 20 and 30

horse rooms operate in Brooklyn.

I've been in half a

dozen of them myself.

Now, horse room is where you

place bets on the races.

Now do you consider such

betting evil or immoral?

Not the betting, George, but...

the fact that a huge syndicate is

operating with police protection.

How do you know there's police protection?

The whole operation is too big,

too open, too brazen.

If I could find out about

it so can the police.

And this is the crux of the matter.

Somewhere in this town is

a man more powerful than

the mayor, the district attorney,

the chief of police.

Is more powerful because

he has the police in his pay.

The police will give

protection to the gamblers.

They'll sell it to

the thieves and murderers too.

I have reason to believe

they already have.

That's a very serious charge.

Any facts to back it up?

Some citizens have been

beaten up by these bookies.

But they're afraid to

complain to the police.

Who are all too frequently

in the pay of the syndicate.

When the law is suspended for a price...

And truth and justice can be

peddled on the marketplace...

Then every citizen's in danger.

The law belongs to the highest bidder.

Well, Rogers, you're Deputy

Commissioner of Police Personnel...

Do you recommend we

sue them for slander?

Ah, look Morris, I've over

seven thousand men under me...

You've got to expect

a few rotten apples.

More than a few!

I'm talking about a pay off

that runs in to millions of dollars.

And that has to include

Lieutenants and Captains.

As far as I know a few Inspectors.

Our Police Commissioner agrees.

I've a plan here for

a wholesale shift in personnel

involving every precinct in the borough.

No one ever got rid of rotten apples by

just shifting the morale of the barrel.

The men on the tape we'll just start

operating in the new precinct.

We know they always do.

Sign of a weakness, the syndicate

will be right back in business again.

From past experience

we know that what we need is

some honest cops to

catch a few crooked ones.

A group we can be dead certain

has not been corrupted.

I think I know where to find them.

Who's gonna deliver 'em? The stork?

You maybe closer to

the truth than you think.

The Police Academy's graduating

forty rookies day after tomorrow.

Forty bright, ambitious young men

who don't think honesty is a dirty word.

I want them assigned to me,

personally, and secretly.

In order to maintain secrecy

I established temporary quarters

in a downtown office building.

And proceeded to assign the rookies

to various areas and different jobs.

Sit down, Harris.

Thank you, sir.

Sterheller tells me you did some

intelligence work with the Marines.

Yes, sir, in Japan.

I think you're the man

for this assignment.

This is the 65th precinct.

It's running wide open.

Close down a horse room one day and the

next day it's operating a block away.

Sometimes I think the bookies

run faster than the horses.

We want you to go in there and find

out everything you can about the operation.

Just go in cold, sir.

Everything we know is in this file...

study it.

This is a picture of Lil Polombo.

We've a hunch she's a good lead.

Her husband was in deep with the bookies.

He turned up dead a few days ago.

An accident, maybe.

We questioned her but all

we got back were echoes.

She's too scared to talk.

Establish yourself in the neighbourhood.

This is a complete file on the widow.

We want you to get acquainted with her.

Get her to talk.

We don't expect one man to

come up with all the answers.

But in the end we want to know

who's collecting the money.

Who's delivering it...

and who's getting paid off.

And finally, who's running

the whole syndicate for Brooklyn.

Oh yes, I understand sir.

You need someone to work with you.

Anyone you'd prefer?

Yes, Johnson?


All right, he's yours.

-Thank you, sir.

Thank you.

Sure, you're a fine looking policeman.


What's the matter, Pete?

Oh honey, I guess it's just...

it's getting back in to uniform again.

Sergeant Peter Harris, US Marine Corps.

Now, Private Pete Harris,

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Bernard Gordon

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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