Screenplay: Out With Italians [Excerpt] by Tony Bianco

OUT WITH ITALIANS

FADE IN:

EXT. SANTA REY – DAY – ESTABLISHING

A small fishing town in the San Francisco Bay Area. December 7, 1941.

INT. LINO’S APARTMENT – PARLOR – NIGHT

A small, simple apartment. LINO NOCCI, 35, wiry, handsome, a scar along the left half of his jawline, stands staring at his radio. An Italian-speaking announcer is talking about the Pearl Harbor bombing.

ANNOUNCER (V .O.)
Il bombardamento di Pearl Harbor denudera il gran buffone d’Italia, Benito Mussolini. La debolezza di Mussolini sara esposto per il mondo. Il nemico di tutt’italiani, il pazzo detestato stara disfatto. Mussolini …

The announcer is cut off in mid-sentence. There’s KNOCKING at the front door.

Lino turns the radio’s knob but gets only static. The KNOCKING gets LOUDER.

LINO
(heavy Italian accent)
Why you no break down?

FBI AGENT #1 (O.S.)
Lino Nocci. FBI . Open up or we will.

LINO
Who you are?

FBI AGENT #1 (O.S.)
Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Lino hurries away from the door.

INT. LINO’S KITCHEN – NIGHT

The SOUND of the FRONT DOOR BEING BROKEN in as Lino opens the back door.

Sheriff TERRY MCMULLIN, 50, tall and brawny, towers over Lino with gun drawn.

LINO
Terry. What hell goes on here?

TERRY
Cooperate, Mr. Nocci, and there won’t be trouble.

LINO
Mr. Nocci?

As two FBI AGENTS, both 30 and rugged, grab Lino he pushes one away, knocking his badge under the table, unnoticed. They handcuff and frisk him, shove him toward the door.

FBI AGENT #1
By Executive Order 9066 signed by President Roosevelt, you’re coming with us.

LINO
Where you take me?

FBI AGENT #1
Don’t worry, you’ll like it there.

LINO
Let me get clothes, Terry. Paesano.

FBI AGENT #2
Calm down, it’s informal. Be good and we’ll give you clothes for free. The Agents shove Lino out the door.

EXT . SAN FRANCISCO DETENTION CENTER – NIGHT

A huge brown brick building with a black wrought iron gate around it.

INT. DETENTION CENTER – GUARD’S DESK – NIGHT

FBI Agent #1 turns Lino over to a GUARD, 30, with a crewcut.

GUARD
What am I supposed to do with him?

FBI AGENT #1
You work here.

GUARD
You caught him.

FBI AGENT #1
You keep him.

GUARD
You keep him.

FBI AGENT #1
I caught him.

GUARD
You caught him, you keep him.

LINO
I got piss.

GUARD
I don’t like you. You smell like rotten fish and you dress like hell.

He shoves Lino down the hall.

INT. DETENTION CENTER – HALL – NIGHT

The Guard stops Lino at a door.

LINO
Backhouse?

The Guard unlocks it, shoves Lino into a four-by-eight foot JANITOR’S CLOSET.

LINO
No bathroom.

The Guard SLAMS the DOOR, locks it.

GUARD
No bed, either. Good night.

EXT. SANTA REY – 7TH AVENUE – DAY

CARLO NOCCI, 45, broad and strong with curly black hair and a big nose, barrels ahead, talking to himself and PASSERSBY, who shake their heads “no” to his question. He stops.

EXT . BOCCI COURT – DAY

Old ITALIAN MEN are playing. Carlo approaches UGO, 55, stocky, smoking his trademark stogie in a three-piece suit and fedora, about to roll his ball.

CARLO (medium accent)
Ugo, where’s my brother?

UGO (slight accent)
How should I know? Probably pounding his pepperoni in front of Mussolini’s picture.

CARLO
Don’t act smarter than you are. Not that long ago everybody was for Mussolini.

UGO
Most of us wised up when we found out he’s a madman.

Ugo plays catch with himself.

CARLO
Not here to talk politics.

UGO
It’s no secret your brothers a ship-jumping wop who doesn’t belong here. Check the lost and found of that fascist paper you guys read.

CARLO
That time with Gaetano. Shouldn’t’ve bailed you out.

UGO
You knocked me into a garbage can.

CARLO
You never thanked me.

UGO
Carlo, you been drinking that vino your old man makes?

CARLO
If you knew what Gaetano had for you you’d take that piece of shit out of your mouth and help me find Lino.

UGO
Check my restaurant, it’s the best in town.

CARLO
Not even if mine closed tomorrow. Where?

UGO
I don’t mix with lowlifes.

CARLO
You dip in the same pot of sauce.

UGO
Leave Ginetta out of this.

CARLO
You brought her in when you jumped Lino. Where’s his girlfriend?

UGO
She’s a woman and she’s mine. Got that?

Carlo snatches the ball out of the air.

CARLO
Got it.

INT. ST. ANTHONY’S CHURCH – DAY

A small church with 10 PEOPLE interspersed, kneeling in pews. Carlo enters holding the bocci ball, surveys, walks down the middle aisle to the front pew, kneels next to GINETTA, 40, attractive with long red hair.

CARLO
Ginetta, you seen my brother?

She cries and hugs him.

CARLO
What happened? Where is he?

GINETTA (slight accent)
Are the Japs going to invade us?

CARLO
Don’t think so. Calma. Where is he?

GINETTA
Who?

CARLO
Lino.

GINETTA
What happened?

CARLO
You tell me. He wasn’t at the boat this morning, not at his place, nobody’s seen him. Ugo behind it?

GINETTA
Behind what?

CARLO
Don’t act dumber than you are. When it came down to it, I knew you’d go for the money. Putana.

GINETTA (stands, loudly)
Grazie, Carlo. Finally someone has the guts to say it to my face. Small town, small minds. You think it’s easy loving two men? One related to a brute like you? Show me a law against it. My heart’s just bigger.

CARLO
We’re in church.

GINETTA
How would you know, you atheist? Don’t talk about money after how you fleeced Ugo on those sardines.

CARLO (stands)
How’d sardines get into it? Just looking for my brother. Better not find out you knew anything.

As he stomps toward the front door, Ginetta strides into the aisle.

GINETTA
So tough he threatens a woman in church. Have fun in hell.

Carlo turns, rolls the ball hard at Ginetta, who jumps over it. PADRE VASTO, 60, rotund and ruddy-faced, stands by the door.

PADRE VASTO (slight accent)
Good to see you back, Carlo.

Carlo exits. Padre Vasto signs himself.

EXT. SHERIFF’S OFFICE – DAY

Carlo and Sheriff Terry are at the entrance.

TERRY
Missing? If Lino’s missing it’s in some broad’s bed somewhere.

CARLO
Wish he was, so he could forget about that Ginetta.

TERRY
I wish I had something to forget about her.

CARLO
Even when he ran around he never missed the boat. Never.

TERRY
Maybe he enlisted. Got to go.

He gets in his patrol car, so does Carlo.

INT. PATROL CAR – DAY

TERRY
Got a call.

CARLO
Since when don’t you need your interpreter?

TERRY
For a change, no dagos involved.

CARLO
We’re slipping. You’re kidding about enlisting. Without telling me?

TERRY
He came over without telling you.

CARLO
Without telling nobody. No papers, they could send him back.

TERRY
They’re taking anyone now. Get your ass out.

CARLO
Fight our relatives? No sir. Let’s look for him.

TERRY
Get out or you’re under arrest.

CARLO
That mick humor. My cioppino that lousy last night? Or did Marge lock her legs?

TERRY
Get out now.

Carlo gets out, slams the door shut with his foot.

CARLO
Something stinks and it’s not my fish.

Terry drives off fast.

EXT. LINO’S BACK DOOR – NIGHT

Carlo KNOCKS.

CARLO
Lino, stai in casa? You in there? Apri la porta. Lino.

EXT. LINO’S FRONT DOOR – NIGHT

Carlo picks up the newspaper, notices the broken door, enters.

INT. LINO’S KITCHEN – NIGHT

Carlo enters from the parlor, tosses the paper on the table, goes through a pair of Lino’s pants hung over the back of a chair, finds money, puts it in his own pocket. He sits, opens the paper.

CLOSE ON HEADLINES: “FBI ROUNDING UP DANGEROUS ALIENS – “5 Italians Seized From Santa Rey”

The SOUND of METAL SCRAPING on the floor.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL Carlo’s foot on the FBI badge, which he picks up, examines, puts on the paper by the headlines.

INT. SAN FRANCISCO DETENTION CENTER – GUARD’S DESK- DAY

Carlo with the Guard, who’s checking a list on a clipboard.

GUARD
What’s the name, Nazi?

CARLO
Nocci.

GUARD
Nazi?

CARLO
You busting my balls?

GUARD
We have Nazis and Fascists, but no Noccis.

CARLO
He’s here and we both know it.

GUARD
What makes you so sure?

CARLO holds up the badge.

GUARD
What’re you doing with that?

CARLO
What’re you doing with my brother?

The Guard tries to snatch the badge but Carlo pulls it back, snatches the clipboard, backpedals reading it as the Guard pursues him.

CARLO
Feds don’t lie so it must be you can’t read. Nocci, Lino, Room 449.

GUARD
You’re tampering with federal property.

CARLO
Why’s he under arrest?

GUARD
He’s not. He’s detained. Give me those or you’ll have plenty of time to visit him.

CARLO
They’re yours, but I see my brother.

The Guard stops, holds out his hand to Carlo, who hands him the clipboard, tosses him the badge.

INT. DETENTION CENTER – LINO’S ROOM – DAY

A small room with two chairs and a cot. Lino, dressed in a khaki uniform, wakes up as the Guard and Carlo enter through a half-window door.

CARLO
Mi caro fratello.

As Lino stands, Carlo bear-hugs him and cries.

CARLO (whispers)
Piangi.

Lino cries.

CARLO
Need to be alone.

GUARD
You know the deal. Five minutes, I’m in the room.

CARLO
Please . You got a brother?

GUARD
I’m right outside. No wop talk.

The Guard leaves. Carlo rams Lino into the wall, lifts him, pins him against it.

CARLO
The fuck you do, asshole?

LINO
Niente.

CARLO
Fongula niente. Tell me or it’ll take every guard in this place to save your ass.

LINO
Onesto, no idea.

CARLO
What’d they charge you with?

LINO
No charge. Just napkid me. Presto, like lighting. Tried escape but Terry had gun.

CARLO
McMullin? That fucking mick.

LINO
That fucking mick.

CARLO
Never trust a cop.

LINO
Never trust cop.

CARLO
Especially a mick.

LINO
Specially mick.

CARLO
Supposed to be our friend.

LINO
Some friend.

Carlo lets go of Lino. Slaps him backhand.

CARLO
You did something.

EXT . BEACH – DAY

SALVATORE NOCCI, 75, short with a white horseshoe of hair around a bald dome, walks along an isolated stretch, approaches a MAN, 35, husky, skipping rocks on the water.

SALVATORE (heavy accent)
Per favore, do an old man a favor.

MAN
You name it.

SALVATORE
Shoot me dead.

The Man simulates a gun with his index finger and thumb, pretends to shoot, starts to leave. Salvatore pulls out a roll of money, the Man stops.

SALVATORE
There’s a hundred bucks in it for you.

MAN
You’re serious. And nuts.

SALVATORE
If I was nuts I’d kill myself.

MAN
Too bad. Then you’d be just dead, instead of dead and out a hundred bucks.

SALVATORE
Buono, so you’ll do it.

Salvatore pulls out a small, old pistol, tries to put it in the Man’s hand. The Man resists, then takes the pistol.

MAN
Why do you want to die?

SALVATORE
We just met. Isn’t that question too personal?

MAN
If it’s so personal, why don’t you do it?

SALVATORE
And die with a mortal sin on me?

The Man tosses the pistol into the water. Salvatore starts into the water after it, stops.

EXT . NOCCI HOUSE – DAY

A modest house with shiplap siding. Carlo arrives, spots smoke rising above the roof, races inside.

EXT. NOCCI BACKYARD – DAY

Carlo exits the house. Salvatore, drinking from a quart bottle of wine, tosses books, magazines, newspapers and records on a big fire.

CARLO
Managia, Pop, what the hell’re you doing? All your Mussolini stuff. Perche?

Salvatore pulls a newspaper from his back pocket, hands it to Carlo.

CLOSE ON HEADLINE: “U.S. DECLARES WAR ON ITALY”

BACK TO SCENE

CARLO
It’s Hitler’s fault. Mussolini put Italy back on the map, made us proud to be Italian again.

SALVATORE
But then he got in bed with Hitler and fucked over the Italians. Thanks to him your sons’ll be fighting their cousins.

CARLO
Jimmy and Mike are in the Pacific. Never saw you drink without a meal, and that’s your strongest vino.

SALVATORE
So what? Mom’s dead, Lino’s in jail, the country we were born in is at war with the country we live in, people are dying everywhere. It’s over. Finito.

CARLO
Your drinking’s finito.

Carlo tries to snatch the bottle, Salvatore pulls back, falls on the fire’s edge, rolls out, drops the bottle, which Carlo picks up along with his dad, carries him to the house.

SALVATORE
We were all wrong about Mussolini, we fell for his propaganda. I love both countries so much it hurts. Italians killing Italians. Pozzo. I’m ashamed to be Italian. Dio, dame la forza.

Carlo takes a swig.

INT. NOCCI HOUSE – SALVATORE’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Carlo opens the door, sticks his head in. Black curtains cover the window.

CARLO
Svegli, Pop, got to get out before the fish wake up. Come on, you didn’t drink that much, ubriaco Chicago.

Carlo, holding a glass of water, turns on the light, enters, stands over Salvatore, who’s lying face down in bed, only the top of his bald head showing.

CARLO
Acqua frio. Uno, due, tre.

Carlo pours a little water on Salvatore’s head, laughs, gets no reaction.

CARLO
You’re good, Pop. Don’t know how you do it. Turn your nerves off like that. Like that time you swallowed Ugo’s lit stogie to win that bet. Remember his look? Faccia brutta. Pop? You fooled me, you win.

Carlo shakes him hard, pulls him over onto his back. His eyes are wide open. Carlo drops the glass, slaps him, shadowboxes.

CARLO
Let’s slapbox, Pop, how we used to, how you taught me. Come on. Remember the time you floored me and I charged you? How about when we came over on the boat and almost got thrown overboard? How about your tomato plants? Nobody makes vino like you. Nessuno.

Carlo punches the wall repeatedly, pounds Salvatore’s chest, is stopped by a bear-hug from behind by NINFA, 40, sturdy, alluring with big black eyes and short black hair.

NINFA (slight accent)
What’s going on? You all right, Pop? Carlo, you trying to kill him?

CARLO
Wish I could.

Ninfa kneels, prays.

INT. DETENTION CENTER – LINO’S ROOM – NIGHT

Lino reads a telegram as the Guard watches.

LINO
Morto. Never sick his life.

Guard starts to leave.

LINO
Must go funerale.

GUARD
Impossible.

LINO
Padre mio. You know first he dead.

GUARD
We have to read everything.

LINO
No right. Must see last time.

GUARD
You shouldn’t’ve done it.

Lino stuffs the telegram into the Guard’s shirt pocket.

LINO
What?

GUARD
You know what.

LINO
You know what.

GUARD
Admit it and they might let you out under guard.

LINO
Didn’t do it.

GUARD
Do what?

LINO
What?

GUARD
He picked a bad time to die.

LINO
Capisce italiano?

GUARD
No.

LINO
Fongula.

INT. IL PESCATORE – BAR – NIGHT

Carlo and Ninfa’s restaurant, seats 50, working class feel. Alone, they stand on the customer side of the bar.

CARLO
What’re we doing here?

Ninfa points above the bar .

CLOSE ON: Adjacent pictures of Mussolini and Roosevelt.

PULL BACK TO Carlo staring at Mussolini’s picture.

NINFA
In your father’s name.

CARLO
You never quit. You were still a girl when you came over. He meant a lot to us that grew up there.

Carlo hops up on the bar, hands down Mussolini’s picture to Ninfa, who breaks the frame’s glass on the edge of a garbage can, pulls out the picture, rips it up.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO DETENTION CENTER – REAR – NIGHT

Lino climbs down a rain pipe, jumps to the ground.

GUARD (O.S.)
Nocci, if I don’t shoot your dago ass I’m dumber than you think.
CAMERA PULLS BACK TO REVEAL the Guard with gun drawn.

LINO
Where you come?

GUARD
Where you go?

LINO
Funerale.

GUARD
Fort Missoula, Montana. Weather’s nice this time of year.

LINO
Missed mama’s.

GUARD
You lived through it. Funerals are overrated.

LINO
Ritorno after. Promessa.

GUARD
I know I can trust you.

LINO
Let me go or shoot me.

GUARD
Nocci, you’re the biggest pain in the ass in that whole place. Don’t tempt me.

Lino pulls out a hanky, ties it around his head like a blindfold, kneels down with his hands behind his back.

LINO
Shoot me. Sparame.

GUARD
I can understand how you got that scar.

EXT . SANTA REY CEMETERY – DAY

The FUNERAL PARTY disperses from Salvatore’s graveside. Ugo, smoking his stogie, waits for Ginetta at the street as Carlo approaches.

UGO
He was a good man, Carlo, a good fisherman. Made the strongest vino around.

CARLO
Primo.

UGO
Why’d he kill himself?

CARLO
Why’d you ask that?

UGO
I heard a rumor.

CARLO
You started a rumor.

People are watching as Carlo swats Ugo’s stogie out of his mouth, steps on it as Ugo tries to pick it up.

GINETTA
They put away the wrong brother.

Ginetta and Ugo leave as Terry drives up, gets out, pulls Carlo aside.

TERRY
Sorry about your dad.

CARLO
Like you were about my brother. Thanks to you he’s not here. Why’d you bullshit me?

TERRY
We had secret orders through Hoover from the president.

CARLO
Goddamn Rosenfelt. So you followed orders and screwed us.

TERRY
I don’t and I lose my job.

CARLO
You do and you lose your friends.

He starts to leave.

TERRY
Carlo, get in the car.

Carlo keeps walking as people watch.

TERRY
Get in the car or you’re under arrest.

Carlo stops.

CARLO
Make up your mind. One day you order me out, one day you order me in. Besides, you can’t arrest me at my father’s funeral.

EXT. BEACH – DAY

Terry and Carlo are parked overlooking the same isolated stretch where Salvatore asked to be shot by the husky Man, who’s there skipping rocks.

INT. PATROL CAR – DAY

Terry hands Carlo a valise.

CARLO
What’s this?

TERRY
I don’t know and neither do you.

Carlo takes out fascist literature written in Italian and covered with pictures of Mussolini. He holds up a black shirt with fascist insignias.

CARLO
How’d you get this?

TERRY
Talked the Feds into having me do the search. What’s with the shirt?

CARLO
Balilla. Genovese kid that threw a rock at Napoleon’s general, started a riot that kicked out the French. Mussolini had a youth club named after him. Lino was still a kid when he stayed behind with my uncle.

TERRY
A military tribunal judging an illegal alien suspected of sabotage’d eat it up.

CARLO
Sabotage? Lino?

TERRY
Military men in wartime smell it everywhere.

CARLO
Got to get him a good attorney.

TERRY
New game, their rules, no attorneys.

CARLO
Nothing wrong with having this stuff in a free country.

TERRY
Not as free as it was.

Carlo pulls out a reel of film.

CARLO
Mussolini: Top Wop. This was made here. Looks familiar.

TERRY
The Feds say, years back Lino sent the money he made from showing it to Mussolini.

CARLO
Where’d he show it?

TERRY
Your restaurant .

EXT – SANTA REY DOCK – THE ST. MARIE – DAY

JOE NOCCI, 21, tall and thin with a big nose, filets fish on the deck of the family’s boat, a 25-footer in good shape. Carlo fixes a big net.

 

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