The Concrete Jungle Caper
The international drug trade and a dealer named Harry Hague have McCloud undercover and in prison to root out the Rhigas family of distributors.
The Correctional Officer
The Rhigas family interests extend to Beirut, Lebanon and the French Riviera. DDT (“The D ain’t for Dolores!”) wants the market, Harry Hague is merely a cutthroat entrepreneur out for himself.
The NYPD leans on pushers to force the Rhigas hand: buy from McCloud (disguised as the now-arrested Hague) or do without. DDT perishes of his own greed, the Rhigas concern is neatly folded up, and the now-escaped Hague (“I bought off half the gendarmes in France.”) is nailed for cutting one throat too many.
The final deal goes down at a Skid Row Mission, where the Rhigas paterfamilias emerges from retirement because both sons are in prison. McCloud pursues him in a commandeered garbage truck as he flees in a car belonging to the Mission.
The second deal goes awry in France when the police bungle the bust and shoot down Hague’s helicopter, apparently killing his accomplice Madge and destroying the million dollars McCloud has signed for (“But I gave you a million dollars worth of heroin,” he tells a French police official, who insists on repayment: “That was contraband! This is cash!”).
The original deal takes place at night somewhere in France. A drogueur addresses a strangely familiar figure as “Cowboy,” and the fellow quietly draws a switchblade (Harry Hague).
The script is so brilliant (with its gags like the sign in the prison library: ALL BOOKS MUST BE SEARCHED BY CORRECTIONAL OFFICER) that Levitt has only to take it all in, savoring a bit of the acting, and controlling gags like the shot of a go-go dancer’s swinging hips, which pulls back and tilts up to reveal Teri Garr undercover.
This is a rare example of a screenwriter rather than a director (or production unit) taking on the burden of composition, so that Victor Jory can appear satisfactorily in a bit part, for example.
Joseph Campanella Victor Rhigas
Story by Jimmy Sangster and Lou Shaw
Directed by Gene Levitt
McCLOUD: (Undercover with Madge in Paris at the Royal Monceau, to a cabdriver.) Ah, you can ride it on back to the stable. I’ll be busy the rest of the day.
McCLOUD: (To Madge, over champagne in hotel room.) You know
what they say about blue eyes? Behind blue eyes, there’s madness.
MADGE: Oh, they’re so right!
(Det. Simms is monitoring their conversation in the next
room, and hears this on his headphones.)
MADGE: What happens next?
McCLOUD: Well, ya just kinda let y’self go, and a great flood o’ peace comes over ya.
(McCloud is seen to be massaging her temples.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (To Sgt. Broadhurst.) You know, with McCloud still in Paris, things are pretty sane around here. Maybe too sane.
(Where did McCloud get a million for the drug buy? The
French police helped...)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: They risked a million dollars on McCloud?
SGT. BROADHURST: Not exactly.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Be exactly.
SGT. BROADHURST: Well, McCloud did have to sign for it.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Incredulous, amid the “economy wave.”) You mean, the department’s on the hook for a million dollars?
(In Beirut, McCloud undercover as Harry Hague is intently
watching a belly dancer.)
STEVEN RHIGAS: Do you know who I am?
McCLOUD: (Ignoring him.) Didn’t your mother ever tell ya?
STEVEN RHIGAS: Steven Rhigas. (No response.) Do you know who my father is?
McCLOUD: Never told ya that neither, huh.
(Harry Hague is arrested in France.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (On telephone.) Uh, McCloud... (Long pause.) Good work.
McCLOUD: Thank ya, Chief. I appreciate that, comin’ from you.
Harry Hague.) You sure it’s me you’re lookin’ for?
DDT: Man, I been lookin’ for you all my life. This town’s a dust bowl. Whoever gets that shipment of yours is gonna be the big Indian. (Draws a switchblade.) Now, how many rows o’ cotton is it gonna take for me to get what you got?
McCLOUD: (Thanks to Sgt. Norton’s help, he is now holding his .45 on DDT and henchmen.) If I was you, I’d find a trail out o’ here before ya get me riled up.
SGT. PHYLLIS NORTON: (To McCloud, having gotten the drop on DDT and his gang from behind the back door at the Choo Choo Club where she’s working in the disguise of a go-go dancer.) I don’t wanna blow my cover. What little there is of it.
McCLOUD: (To Victor Rhigas, as Harry Hague preparing to jack up the price.) I went to a supermarket... for a bag a—a pregnant chipmunk could carry, you know it was fourteen dollars? You know that’s up twenty-five per cent?
SGT. PHYLLIS NORTON: (In McCloud’s lap, after undercover work.) You know something, McCloud, you have potential. I mean, I definitely intend on looking into this as soon as this whole thing is over with.
(McCloud has borrowed a million worth of heroin from
Evidence for an undercover operation.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Am I keeping you from something?
DET. SIMMS: The next phase of the operation.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: You know what that operation should be? A frontal lobotomy! On me! For going along with this in the first place! (Storms to his office, nearly knocks over policewoman.) Outta my way!
(Det. Simms, undercover with McCloud, is “shot” during the
police raid on McCloud’s drug deal as Harry Hague.)
SGT. BROADHURST: OK, Barrymore.
DET. SIMMS: (As Sgt. Broadhurst helps him up.) Was that a death scene, or was that a death scene?
(Sign in prison library.)
ALL BOOKS MUST BE SEARCHED BY CORRECTIONAL OFFICER
(Chief Clifford pays a visit to the club in disguise as a
construction worker in a hard hat. Sgt. Norton pretends to be affectionate
while they converse.)
SGT. PHYLLIS NORTON: Oh, look, I gotta go back to work now. Would you like me to send over another girl to keep you company?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Dry laughter.) Hunh hunh hunh hunh hunh hunh hunh.
SGT. PHYLLIS NORTON: I’m sorry, Chief. (Realizes her mistake.) Um... (Exits.)
MADGE: (Visiting McCloud as Harry Hague in prison. Amused.) You know, I—still haven’t figured you out. I mean, well, you could—you could be a—cop—or a—jerk—or just plain crazy.
(McCloud as Harry Hague is attacked in the prison machine
shop by a fellow inmate with a shiv.)
McCLOUD: Next time you come near me, it’s gon’ take three surgeons and a Swiss watchmaker to put you back together again.
DET. SIMMS: (Describing Madge to a police artist.) That’s
good. Now, a little higher on the cheekbones. Right, right. Now, the mouth, the
mouth is fuller, it’s very sensuous. Good, good. The eyes are dreamier, and—heavy-lidded,
and the lashes—
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Entering.) Simms! We’re trying to find the million dollars, not a new centerfold.
DDT: (Visiting McCloud, who is undercover as Harry Hague, in prison.) I thought you were a different dude from all the other honky toads, but you’re just like the rest of ‘em.
VICTOR RHIGAS: (Working in the prison library, checking out books to a prisoner.) Happy readin’.
(The prison guard Kramer brings the news that “Harry Hague”
is an undercover cop about to eliminate the Rhigas family.)
DDT: (To Kramer, both sitting in DDT’s parked car.) That’s all she wrote. (Chuckles.) The end o’ the Rhigas organization. It’s wide open. This town’s free for poachin’.
(Kramer, on a mission to Joseph Rhigas with the news about
“Harry Hague,” has stopped to bring DDT this “dynamite” for a thousand dollars;
DDT wants him to walk.)
KRAMER: I can’t take the chance. I’ve got to tell him. My life wouldn’t be worth a quarter if I don’t.
DDT: You overpriced it.
KRAMER: Whaddya mean?
DDT: It ain’t worth a cent. (Draws pistol with silencer, shoots him. The police, who have DDT’s car under surveillance, storm it.)
McCLOUD: (Having deposited Joseph Rhigas in his Home Mission car atop a garbage truck.) There ya go.
McCLOUD: (To Chief Clifford, at the Spencer Building, where they’ve arrested Harry Hague and recovered the loot from the French deal.) You know, uh, Chief, uh, (Chuckles.) it just occurred to me that, what with the million we got here, and the two-and-a-half million we got from the Rhigas family, the department’s gonna make a tidy little profit, you know that? Maybe I ought t’ start workin’ on a commission. (Chief Clifford regards him ragefully.)