Scene 1: Fortune [scene runs for the first
minute and five seconds of the film.]
The voice in this opening scene is that of Kevin Calhoun, deputy
Mayor of New York City, also known as the Mayor's boy.
Kevin: New York City -- so many things have been said about it.
But there's only one I really like. "New York, it can destroy
you or fulfill you depending a good deal on luck."
Scene 2: Deal Making [scene runs from 34:30 to 37:26.
For those with DVDs it begins one and half minutes in to ch. 9.]
The Mayor of New York attends a musical and makes a point of
meeting party boss and old acquaintance Frank Anselmo in the lobby
of the theater.
Frank: We're missing the best part.
Mayor: Well, you know it by heart anyway. I saw you lip synching.
Frank: Well, lucky I do. I couldn't hear all the words. I mean
I don't know if it's my old ears or the subway running underneath.
Did you like the Billy Bigelow?
Mayor: He's good. Good voice. What did you think of the Julie Jordan?
Frank: Good act, no voice. My Neddie can sing better. You know
we met twenty-five years ago, Westbury Musical¼
Mayor: I heard about that.
Mayor: Speaking of performances, Frank, I don't want to hear about
another one like that one you gave this morning.
Frank: Your boy embarrassed me.
Mayor: You're gonna have to live with it.
Mayor: Because he's my boy.
Mayor: There is oil under that vacant lot, Frank. Jobs.
Frank: You don't need to politic me. I run King's county.
Mayor: Jobs for people of the city, Frank, lot leases for Lenny,
Laska, Murray, Saphire, all your greedy bastards.
Frank: What's happening here, John? Just 'cause this kid thinks
he's gonna elect you president, you're gonna forget who got you
Mayor: I don't forget anything. You're developing a very short
memory, or a very selective one. You want me to refresh it for you?
Frank: I'm sorry John.
Mayor: Here it is: the off-ramp cost me five million, another thirty-five
million for the subway stop. Now, you're gonna get three and a half
from me. The rest, I'm gonna have to go beg Albany. Now, I've got
better things to beg for from Albany.
Frank: I've got a solution. How about a spur off the Carnarsie
Mayor: Are you crazy? A spur is a hundred and twenty million. Bank
exchange is good for the poor. It's good for the jobless. It's good
for the whole goddamn city. As for subway stops, infrastructure,
off ramps - we can't afford them.
Frank: Then you're gonna have to forget the whole thing. I love
the second act opener.
Mayor: Good then you're not gonna want to miss it.
Frank: This was a real nice clam bake.
Mayor: taking Anselmo by the arm: I'm building up my IOU's with
Albany. Next year the Governor is gonna have to step up with a new
subway stop or I won't support him for reelection.
Frank: And the off ramp?
Mayor: Next year. It's already factored into the budget.
Frank: Next year is too far away.
Mayor: You're only a boss Frank, I'm the ****ing mayor. Mayors
rule. Bank exchange -- my way or the highway.
Frank: Why do I get the feeling you're getting the bigger half?
Mayor: Let me ask you something, if I'd have offered you less,
would you have been polite and taken it?
Frank: Of course.
Mayor: You got what you wanted. They laugh. Mayor leans over, whispers
something in Anselmo's ear, and kisses his cheek.
Scene 3: Menschkite [scene runs from 47:32 to 48:55. For
those with DVDs. It occurs during the last minute and a half of
In this scene a distinguished Judge has been implicated in some
wrongdoing. The judge is a friend of the Mayor.
Kevin: You read this? Today's Times' editorial?
Kevin: reading, Judged or be judged.
Kevin: He reads: Notwithstanding Judge Stern's distinguished
record, one must ask the question, "Would he be on the bench
if he were not a former law partner of the mayor's?"
Mayor: Oh! I didn't appoint him. He was nominated like everybody
Kevin: Sure, but everybody knows the party arranges the nomination
Mayor: Whose side are you on?
Kevin: I'm on yours, and I always will be. But I smell a hanging
party. I think we should put a little bit of distance between ourselves
and Walter Stern.
Mayor: Distance. Distance is something you do to your enemies.
It's a thing of the nineties to make friends extinct. Distance is
the absence of Menschkite.
Kevin: Translate that for me.
Mayor: You don't know what Menschkite means?
Kevin: Nope, I don't.
Mayor: Menschkite, you know, something between men. It's about
honor, character. Untranslatable -- that's why it's Yiddish.
Kevin: I didn't know you'd taken up the language.
Mayor: Abe laid it on me.
Kevin: Abe's a good man.
Mayor: You're a good man, Pappy. Underneath that Louisiana cane
syrup, plain red dirt. Not all that different from the pavements
of Astoria where I come from. You and me are sticking by Judge Walter
Scene 4: Politics is a disease [scene runs from 1:11:09
to 1:13;51. For those with DVDs, it occurs one minute into ch. 19.]
Mary Beth is the lawyer for Elaine Santos, the wife of a good
cop who was killed in the line of duty. The circumstances surrounding
his death, and the death of an innocent six-year-old boy, implicate
that officer in some wrongdoing. It is this same scandal that has
raised suspicion about Walter Stern, the judge whom the Mayor insists
Kevin and he stick by. Mary Beth and Kevin have found a witness
who could clear the name of the deceased cop, Eddie Santos. They
have interviewed him where he works in upstate New York, and stop
at a diner on the way back to NYC.
Kevin: It's like a sauna in here.
Mary Beth: For you maybe, my toes are like icicles.
Kevin: Warming up?
Mary Beth: Slowly.
Waitress: What'll it be?
Mary Beth: Oh, um, I'll have Burger, fries and a coke.
Kevin: How is the lemon pudding?
Waitress: Home made.
Kevin: I'll give it a shot. Everything to go.
Mary Beth: Hey, why is this called The Floyd Diner, instead of
Waitress: Because you're in Floyd New York, miss.
Mary Beth: Who'd have thunk it? Floyd, New York. Like Clyde, New
Jersey. Can you imagine spending your entire life in a place like
Kevin: I can. I grew up in one. Ferriday, Louisiana. There is something
special about small town life.
Mary Beth: So then, what are you doing in New York?
Kevin: Well, you know, every Louisiana boy catches politics like
Mary Beth: No, I didn't know that.
Kevin: That's a fact, and I was no exception. So after law school,
I headed where else?
Mary Beth: Floyd, New York.
Kevin: Washington. Leaped back and forth from committee staffer
to Congressional Assistant until the Mayor of New York City came
down to testify. And he gave a speech that day on the floor, I remember,
that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I went up to him
afterwards and told him I admired him and what he stood for, and
while I was thanking him he asked me if I liked stone crabs. Half
way through dinner I had a new job, at the end of dinner, I felt
like I had a new home.
Mary Beth: And here we go.
Kevin: All right, I hear the curve in your voice. Let me tell you
something, I've been with John Pappas for three years. I finally
found a place in government where, you'll pardon the expression,
you can make a difference.
Mary Beth: Well, you did. You did. You certainly made a difference
to Elaine Santos. You found Wakely. We'll clear Eddie's name, get
them their pension.
Kevin: Yeah, but not so fast. We've got to keep Wakely on ice until
I find that report.
Mary Beth: But, we don't need the report. Just take Wakely's deposition.
Kevin: No that's all you need. I've got to get that report. See
what is on it. See where it leads.
Mary Beth: But, what if, while you're playing detective, James
Wakely suddenly decides it would be healthier to just disappear?
Then we're left with nothing. How's Elaine Santos supposed to feed
Kevin: That's a risk we're gonna have to take.
Mary Beth: That's a risk you're gonna have to take, because, I
don't need you to get Wakely's deposition.
Kevin: If you insist on talking to James Wakely on your own, I
guarantee you, you will feel the full weight of the mayor's office
bearing down upon you. It's not a pleasant feeling.
Mary Beth: You're a mean prick, you know that?
Kevin: Where I come from that's a compliment. Mary Beth gets up
to go. Hold on a minute.
Mary Beth: To what? Your ambition? John Pappas's coattails? I'll
take these and the mayor's boy gets a lemon pudding.
Scene 5: Menschkite, revisited [scene occurs from 1:33:30
to 1:42:44. For those with DVDs, it begins a half minute into ch.
26 and runs through ch. 28.]
Mayor: Where have you been? I was looking for you a half and hour
Kevin: Trying to get through to Senator Marquand.
Mayor: Well, he got through to me.
Mayor: They're moving the convention to Miami.
Kevin: Miami, why?
Mayor: They like Miami. They like Miami, lots of glamour. You got
Whoppie Goldberg, Madonna, just bought houses in South Beach. Who
knows, maybe we can nominate them.
Kevin: I thought it was all cut.
Mayor: Cut, not cut. Politics, Pappy, nothing's cut.
Kevin: Where you going?
Mayor: To pay my respects to Nettie Anselmo.
Kevin: Do you think that is wise?
Mayor: What's wise got to do with it?
Kevin: Because the perception's going to be
Mayor: Oh, **** perception. Perception. I'm talking Menschkeit.
Stuff between men. You know, the "there," that's there.
The thousand telephone calls, the bouquets, and the brick bats.
The space between a handshake. You know. The stuff that goes with
you to your grave.
Kevin: There's space between a handshake for right and wrong?
Mayor: Why are you pressing me tonight? What's up?
Kevin: I'm looking for an answer.
Mayor: You want an answer? OK, Pappy. Think of it as colors. There's
black and white and in between is mostly gray. That's us. Now gray
is a tough color, because it's not as simple as black and white.
And, for the media, it is certainly not as interesting. But, it's
who we are.
Kevin: What are you going to do now?
Mayor: You mean "we"? We are going to fight these sons
of bitches, we're going to come out swinging. We're gonna tell them,
"hey, we're only human, everybody makes mistakes. Frank Anselmo
is dead, he was a friend; but the last of the clubhouse bosses is
gone." We're gonna clean up the Augean stables. We're gonna
show up in Miami, have them on their knees, begging me to make the
Kevin: And then?
Mayor: A short sojourn in Albany, followed by a long one at the
Kevin: If I didn't know better, I'd be bursting with admiration.
I thought I'd come here and find you on your knees, instead you're
ready to turn adversity into triumph.
Mayor: Oh. That's just a reflex, an old habit of mine. But it's
good to hear you say it -- the way you say it too -- adversity into
triumph. It's good to know you still believe in me.
Kevin: Did I say that?
Mayor: I don't know, that's why¼ I thought you did. Don't
fathers listen to their sons? How is your father these days? I haven't
heard you mention him for quite a while. Where is he?
Kevin: He's in a nursing home in Crowley, Louisiana. Plays dominos
with orderlies. Fulminates over his cream of wheat.
Mayor: Don't be too hard on him. We can't dictate our finishes
Kevin: I don't like the sound of that.
Mayor: Of course you don't. Because, underneath all that need to
believe, under all the concrete you poured into my pedestal, something
is crying to get out.
Mayor: You know I called Judge Walter Stern.
Mayor: Anselmo called me. I knew the Mafioso had called him, but
in this business you don't trade names. And I called Walter. That
was all there was to it. I was doing Anselmo a favor. I've run caution
lights all my life.
Kevin: This time you ran red. And someone cut across the intersection.
A cop and and six-year old child.
Mayor: That's with me forever.
Kevin: That's not good enough.
Mayor: Not good enough, you think I don't know that?
Kevin: I hope so, John.
Mayor: It scares me when you call me John.
Kevin: Yeah, why is that?
Mayor: Because I thought a minute ago we were off to the White
House. And I thought I could feel you come aboard. You know, that
Kevin: Horseshit. Menschkeit is horse shit. It's a hundred and
twenty years of graft, and sweetheart contracts, and feather beds,
and inside information, and golden parachutes, and everywhere people
in power gather up to carve up the turf. That's your Menschkeit.
It's horse shit. And you know where you can put it. Maybe spread
it out all over the fields. If we cross our fingers, get a little
rain, maybe a flower will grow.
Mayor: It has. Out of all this crap, you emerged. You're the only
voter I ever cared about.
Kevin: I'm getting that old con feeling, John, like you're copping
Mayor: No plea. I'm just a pol who kept rolling along until I ran
into a stone wall. And you were that wall. Just like me when I was
a kid -- young, ambitious, go-getter, but fair; trading up of course,
but always the right causes; you're doing good, not putting money
in your pocket, you're just trying to maintain your position, your
power, because what good are you to the people without it? But down
deep, you know there's a line you can't cross. After a thousand
trades, one deal too many, the line gets rubbed out. I had the fire
in the belly just like you, Kevin. And the odd thing is I still
have it, it never left me. I had the dream. And I had the weight..
Like one of those guys before me said, if a sparrow dies in Central
Park, I feel responsible. Well said. I feel that way. And I was
going to take that feeling with me all the way to Washington.
Kevin: The things you could have done.
Mayor: ****ing things I could have done.
Kevin: You're gonna take yourself out, John. You're gonna take
yourself out. Take a long vacation in Greece. Pick up the law again.
Go the way of William O'Dwyer, he ****ed up and played ambassador
Mayor: I'm not that ambitious.
Kevin: Then suck it up and find some other way.
Mayor: Listen to you. I thought I'd see a boy's tears.
Kevin: The tears are there. You just can't see them right now.
(Mayor approaches Kevin, and hugs him.]
Mayor: You got the stuff, Pappy. I love to see it in a guy.