Racket Girls (1951) - full transcript

Scalli is a gangster who manages women wrestlers as a front for his bookmaking, drug, and prostitution rackets. He trusts the wrong people and ends up trying to run away from both the police and mysterious mob boss Mr. Big, to whom he owes $35,000. This film features real-life wrestlers Peaches Page, Clara Mortensen (world champion wrestler), and Rita Martinez (champion of Mexico).

Won't you sit down?

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

Certainly happy I was able
to purchase you from Herman

and that you had no objections
to the deal.

Why should I?

I hope to be a champ,
with your help.

I'll do all I can,
I promise you that.

You're very kind, Mr. Scalli.

We'll do all we can
to make you happy.

Plans to make you a champ.

I think it's a wonderful idea.

Now that we've become friends,

why don't you drop
the "Mr. Scalli"?

Just call me Scalli.

Hey, and don't forget me.

I'm Joe.

Oh, Joe, you're cute.

I get it. Anything...

Not to my way of thinking.

How about showing you the gym?

You're gonna be spending most
of your time there anyway.

It's a good idea.

Ruby, I want you
to meet Ms. Page.

- How do you do?
- Hello.

Visiting our gym?

No, I purchased Peaches...
Uh, Ms. Page.

Well, I'm delighted
to hear that.

You have a nice place here.

Oh, we're all just members
of one big, happy family,

so the saying goes.

...spend a few minutes

getting acquainted with our gym.

But Mr. Scalli,
I have no gym togs with me.

- I'm sure Ruby can help.
- Why, yes.

I'm sure we can borrow something
out of the locker room.

- I'll be glad to help.
- Why don't you, Peaches?

I mean, Ms. Page.

Okay, if you say so.

Follow me... Peaches.

Hey, Joe.

Where you goin'?

- Force of habit, boss.
- Well, change it.

Come on, I want to talk to you
in the office.

If they wanted me to work out
on the mat,

I would've brought
my own gym togs along.

Oh, don't worry.

Somebody's always
leaving something

around this dressing room,
and it won't hurt to borrow it.

Did you notice that new girl
Scalli dragged in?

Ah, he's full of big promises.

Don't tell me you fell
for his line.

Well, didn't you?


I guess that makes us
birds of a feather.

Well, come on.

Let's go to the showers.

They'll come around fast enough

when they find out
I bought her contract.

Don't worry, boss,
I know how to play dumb.

You don't have to tell me.

What I want you to do
is shadow her at all times,

but don't let her know about it.

Leave it to me, boss.

I used to work
for Flat-Nose Flynn, remember?

I didn't ask for references.

Just follow my instructions.

Okay, boss.

I'm practically putting her
in your charge.

She's our new star wrestler.

Leave everything to me, boss.

This is one job
I won't fall down on.

You better not.

Now I'll phone
and see that she moves

into our same apartment house.

Hello, Johnson? Scalli.

Listen, I want you
to do me a little favor.

Here's a clean towel,
you can use it

to dry yourself with
after you've had your shower.

- In the next room.
- Thanks, thanks a lot.

Oh, I'm going over
to Mr. Scalli's office,

but I'll be back
in a few minutes.

- Put in a good word for me, huh?
- I... don't think I'll have to.

- Do you?
- Well, she has the build

and the strength.

Something like
a Fifth Avenue bus.

I bought her contract.

She'll mean a lot
of extra business for the gym.

How about taking her out
for some road work tomorrow?

Why, that's an excellent idea.
I'll go back and tell her.

Say, you look like
a swell dish to me.

Boss, those three men

that were looking for you
yesterday are here.

- Where?
- They're in your office.

So I understand.

I figured you'd be
showing up anyway.

- You guessed it right.
- What's on your chest?

Mr. Big's got an idea.

You've been bucketing
a lot of dough.

Yeah, you're short
on kickin' in.

I bucketed nothin'.

You got the wrong information.

That isn't what we heard.

You might as well level.

We got a way
of finding things out, see?

Your boy Jimmy ratted.

Jimmy ratted?

Why, that little...

Jimmy's working for Mr. Big now.

Sorta personal.

You can't touch him.


What does Mr. Big figure
he's got coming?

Thirty-five grand,
and he wants it now.

Mr. Big ain't
a patient man, Scalli.

Well, I haven't got
that much right now.

- Things have been rough.
- Yeah,

my heart bleeds for you, Scalli.

- When?
- Give me 30 days or so.

Is he kiddin'?
We gotta have some security.

Never mind.

It's a lot of time.

I'll speak to Mr. Big
and see how he feels about it.

It's kinda nice to be alive,
isn't it, Scalli?

We'll be seein' you.

This is Monk, Scalli's
confidential bookkeeper.

Well, well.

I've been looking forward
to meeting you.

Come closer, I want to take
a good look at you.

Yeah, you look smarter
and just right.

Lefty and I have known Monk
for a long time.

He's okay, chief.

He and I did time together
up the river.

Good enough, good enough.

I could use a good man
like you now.

Well, Monk,
you're in my pay how,

but you still work
for Scalli too.

Glad to be of service.

Easy job,
just keep an eye on Scalli.

I want you to report to me
every move he makes,

especially the amount of money
he buckets.

He does it regularly,
doesn't he?

Well, I'm his
confidential bookkeeper.

Don't be afraid, speak up,
you're amongst friends.

Yes, he does bucket bets,
almost daily.

He keeps the money
in his office safe.

That's enough.

You'll just nurse Scalli along
for the present.

Just keep your mouth
good and tight.

Don't worry about me, boss.

I know my business.

Okay, Connie'll show you
the way out.

Hey, boss, here's a telegram

that was delivered
to the apartment.

Well, let's see.

A hot tip.

Messenger Boy
in the fifth at Hialeah.

I want no part of it.

Who ever heard
of a fast messenger boy?

Go ahead, get outta here.

Boss, did you hear
about the sixth at Hialeah?

- What about it?
- Messenger Boy came in first.

- Twenty to one.
- Messenger boy?

- What do you know?
- Maybe the guy had something.

- Who?
- The one who sent you the wire.

Ah, get outta my sight!

Maybe I'm crazy, who knows?

It helps a little.

Hello, Jackie, where you going?

Home, of course.
Where do you think?

Just a minute,
I wanna talk to you.

Well, make it fast,
I'd like to get home.

I know something about you.

Do tell, I'd love to hear.

I hate to say this,

but you haven't been turning in
all the bets you collect.

You think you know, don't you?

Yes, I do.

Six months ago when you first
started to work with us,

you turned in more bets
than you do now.

- Well, times have changed.
- I'll say they have.

You lived in a cheap hotel room.

Now you have a nice apartment.

I can add things up.

I'm a bookkeeper, remember?

You're nothing but a snake.

Of course, I could keep
my mouth shut.

- For a price?
- Yeah.

Half the bets you bucket.

You got any money?

I can let you have 20,
it's all I can spare.

Maybe you can do better


Now, don't get sore, Jackie.

Hey, take your hands off me.

Why don't you crawl
into the sewer

with the rest of the rats?

You'll be sorry you said that.

Hi, boss.

Glad to find you in.

Yeah, what is it now?

I got a choice bit
of information for you.

Nothing extra special,

but I thought
you might be interested.

It better be good.

- Go on.
- Well, you know Jackie,

the girl bookie
that works for us?

I'm listening.

I thought you might like to know

that her hands
are like flypaper.

You mean she's holding out
on us?

She buckets better
than half the bets.

- How do you know?
- Well, that's easy.

I can show you with the books.

Look here.

When she first started to work
for us six months ago,

she turned in twice the number
of bets she does today.

I think you got something.

She used to live
in a cheap hotel room.

Now she has a swank apartment.

You're all right, Monk.

You closely watch my interests
and you'll go places.

Thanks, boss.

I always like to be of help,
even if it is in a small way.

Of course, this shadow work
involves a little expense.

You did well, Monk.

And, uh,
I don't want you to think

that I don't appreciate it.

Well, thanks a lot, boss.

As I said, I always like
to help you run

a clean and upright business.

Hey, Joe.

Come here.

Why is it every time I want you,

you're in the gym
with one of the girls?

Because it's an easy place
to find me.

Well, come in my office,
I wanna talk to you.


I have a job for you.

I want you to go to the stables.

What, again?

But, boss, this will make it
three times this week.

You should complain.

You're eating regularly,
aren't you?

You know, boss, they can send me
to jail for this.

Do tell.

Maybe for seven or eight years.

Maybe you'll be lucky
and get a shady cell.

Ah, I'm gonna quit
this business.

Well, I could always put you
back selling peanuts

at the arena.

Oh, no, boss, not that.

Anything but that.

All right, what's the name
of the horse?

Puncture Proof.

You know what to do.

Okay, I know my stuff.

Say, boss, there's a heavy play
on Golden Boy

in the fourth at Pimlico.

We got over five Gs on him.

Shall we lay some of it off?

We'll take a chance on two Gs.

Spread the other three
with Moe and Jaime.

- Okay, boss.
- Oh, say,

did you get a hold of Jackie
like I told you?

I sure did, boss,
she's outside now.

Send her in.

What does Scalli
want to see me for?

I don't know,
he didn't say a word to me.

You wouldn't lie, would you?

Why should I?

We're partners, aren't we?

The boss wants to see you now,
in his office.

You may think you're smart,

but you can't outsmart
an old-timer like me.

I don't know what
you're talking about.

That you're bucketing
most of the bets you collect.

You're nothing
but a cheap chiseler.

You can't talk to me that way.

You needn't deny anything.

Monk has clearly shown me
every detail.

- Monk?
- It surprises you?

- You mean you believe him?
- Yeah.

He's nothing but a sewer rat.

You forget,
Monk is working for me

and has been for a long time.

He's been checking on you

and shadowing you
for the past few weeks.

I may be a sucker,
but I can see you and Monk

are made of the same filth.

Best thing for you is to get
outta town and get out fast!

If I catch you hanging around
again, I'll have you beaten up.

Now get outta here!

What are you thinking about?

Oh, just thinking Mr. Scalli
is such a wonderful gentleman.

Hmm, I could tell you
a thing or two

about your Mr. Scalli.

You don't seem to like him.

Well, let me tell you
what happened

when my best friend
applied to him for a job.

Come in.

Come in.

Mr. Scalli, I'm afraid
I don't have the money

I promised you today,

but if you'll only give me
a little more time...

Let's not get all upset,

I'll give you more time,
all the time you need.

Do you have a job?

Well, I had one,

but I'm gonna get
another one soon.

- Did you get fired?
- Yes.

They said I was drunk.

- That's funny, isn't it?
- Drunk, huh?

I wish I could get drunk
instead of...

These pills you're taking
are quite expensive, Beverly,

an expense I'm afraid I can't
handle myself at the moment.

Please don't cut me off,
Mr. Scalli, please.

I'll get another job soon,
I've been promised.

What, Beverly, a job?

Doing what?

You're in no shape
to work right now.

Are you still living at home?

Maybe your folks could...


I haven't got a home,

and I haven't any folks either.

Would you call a drunken father
and mother "folks"?

I don't.

No, Mr. Scalli, I'm on my own.

I can't remember
when I haven't been.

Wait a minute, there just may be
a way to help you out.

Do you think so, Mr. Scalli?

I'd do anything
to pay you what I owe.

I'll take any kind of a job.

Washing dishes,
doing laundry, anything.

Well, that isn't exactly
what I had in mind,

but you might be able
to do me a favor.

- Favor?
- Yes.

A certain friend of mine,
Mr. Gomez,

has a little place
not far from here,

sort of a cabaret,
you know, dining, dancing,

a little drinking,
that sort of thing.

I'd make a very good waitress.

Well, that's not exactly
what I had in mind, my dear.

You see, Mr. Gomez
is a businessman.

He caters to a very fine class
of people.

Of course, some of his customers
drop in without a date,

and some of the girls
act as hostesses

to make them feel more at home.

Oh, I see.

Well, just how much at home
do they have to feel?

Well said, my dear.

You understand,
you keep them company,

have a few drinks, and then...

Oh, no, Scalli,
I couldn't do that.

I couldn't be a...

Oh, no.

I've sunk pretty low,
but... but doing that?

Why, that...

- Oh, no.
- Oh, come now, Beverly.

You"re much too pretty
a girl to cry.

It's really not that bad.

It would give you a chance
to get back on your feet,

a little money to buy...
well, whatever you might want.


Whatever you need.


I understand, Mr. Scalli.

I understand.

I don't suppose there's really
any reason why I shouldn't,

is there?

I have no one to answer to,
do I?

Just myself. Isn't that right?

I can do anything I please.

It will be nice to have
a little money again to buy

whatever I like.

Yes, it would be nice.

All right, Mr. Scalli.

I'll see your Mr. Gomez.

Maybe I'll... get a chance
to forget a lot of things.

Maybe after I get
a little money,

I could go away
and maybe start over again.

I'll see him, Mr. Scalli.

What's the address?

Did he really do that?

He's just plain no good,
if you ask me.

He's the sort of a guy
that would change

a girl's evening stroll

from a recreation
to an occupation.

But he wants me to be his girl.

His girl is a lot of girls,

and you happen to be
only one of them.

I don't understand.
He treats me so nice.

Oh, listen, kid.

A lustful look to that guy

is like a bugle call
to a cavalry mount.

But he said he'd help me,

and I want to be a champ
like Clara Mortensen.

Oh, I know you mean well, kid.

I used to believe his lies,
and sometimes I still do.

But take my advice:

I never saw any good
come out of him

and I never will.

Say, boss,

you know that horse
called Puncture Proof?

- What about him?
- He dropped dead this afternoon

at the starting gate.


Just what did you do out there
at the track anyway?

Just what you told...
What you told me, boss.

I didn't tell you
to kill a horse.

Maybe the horse was too weak.

How should I know?

Maybe he had the flu
or something.

You trying to be funny?

Listen, boss,
I'll make it up to you.

Tomorrow I'll try
on another horse.

No, you don't!

Go on, get outta here
till I send for you.

It's about time you go over
and call on Scalli.

- There's been too much silence.
- How's Monk doing?

Monk's been doing a fine job
of checking for me,

but I want you to drop in
and refresh his memory

as to that 35 grand he owes me.

I'll make it a point
to drop in on him today.

Am I intruding?

No, uh, come right in.

That's all right.

I guess I'm old enough
to take a hint.

It doesn't seem so long ago
that I, too, believed your lies.

Well, I guess it won't be long

until I'm not even wanted
around here.

You know she doesn't mean
anything to me.

Sure, I can believe that.

It's the very same line
you give her about me.

Oh, what am I gonna do
with you anyway?

-Don't take it...
-Oh, take your hands off me.

I can still remember your lies

about all the wonderful things
you were gonna do for me.

Sure, look at me now,

picking up towels
in a gym locker room.

I tell you, with me,
it's strictly business.

Sure, I can see that.

You and her.

Some business.

I'm sorry, boss.

I... I didn't mean to break up
any conference.

By coming in,
you did me a favor.

Oh, say, don't forget,
tonight we're gonna see

the, uh, Leopard Woman
wrestle the Panther Woman.

Same seats. Don't forget.

I won't, boss.

Ladies and gentlemen,

this is the feature bout
of the evening.

In this corner,
weighing 108 pounds,

the Leopard Lady.

And at 110 pounds,

the famous Panther Woman.

- Here again?
- Yeah.

Mr. Big just asked me to drop in

to give you his regards.

He's real interested in you.

Quit kiddin'.

You must know
when he means business.

He wants that money.

His patience is running out.

Swell looking bunch of dames
you got out there.

Even Mr. Big says it's a smart
cover-up you got,

having a clean sport like
lady wrestling front for you.

Why don't you dry up?

Are you Umberto Scalli?

That's what everybody calls me.

Well, then this is for you,
Mr. Scalli.

How did he get in here?

Don't get excited.

The same way the girls did,

through the front entrance.

What is it, boss?

A subpoena to appear before the
crime investigating committee.

That's nice.

You wouldn't do any singing,
would you?

I could of course.

But I don't think I will.

That is,
if Mr. Big will cooperate,

let us say, in this little
matter between us.

You've got a point there.

I'll speak to him about it.

But remember,
Mr. Big's first love is money.

Now boss,
I don't want to get mixed up

in this investigating business.

Now remember,
I don't speak English.

Say, Monk,
did you pick up my tickets

for tonight's wrestling bout?

Sure, same the year round.

Great match tonight.

Champion Clara Mortensen
versus Rita Martinez,

Champion of Mexico.

- Oh, say, you want to bet?
- Quit kidding.

Bookkeepers are not
supposed to bet.

Just checking.

I've been listening
to that same gag from you

ever since I worked for you.

I want you to understand
that this is to be

a very private conversation.

Anything we say will not go
beyond these four walls.

I understand.

I was wondering
if you'd be interested in

a little piece of business.

Strictly business,
you understand.

That depends on the business.


I'll be frank with you.

How'd you like to throw
your bout to Rita Martinez?

I could make it
very interesting.

Say 1,000 dollars.

Why, Mr. Scalli,

I'm surprised to hear you
talk that way.

I really don't know
how to take it.

As I say, it's business.

I'm sorry, Mr. Scalli,
I'm not interested.

Wrestling is one of
the few remaining clean sports

and we who make our living at it

intend to keep it that way.

I'm not interested
in that kind of money.

Now even for one, two,
five or ten thousand dollars.

Well, I didn't mean
to offend you.

It's scum like you
that not only ruin the sport

but the athletes
in public as well.

Good day.

- I've been looking for you.
- What is it, Clara?

Get your things
out of your locker.

You're leaving Scalli's gym
at once.

This place is a hotbox.

What about my contract?

I know what I'd tell
Mr. Scalli to do with it.

And I'm going to do all I can

to run him
out of this profession.

You don't seem to like Scalli.

I hope he dies with
a fishbone in his throat.

Come on, let's go.

I don't want you to be offended.

As I say,
it's strictly business.

You think because I am Mexican

you can take advantage of me

but I am no fool.

I thought you'd understand.

You forget that I am
the champion of all Mexico.

In this sport,
it takes hard work to get there

and guts to stay there.

Well, you're right
but after all...

Goodbye, Mr. Scalli.

Ladies and gentlemen,

this is the main event
of the evening.

Introducing at 134 pounds,

the Champion of Mexico,

Rita Martinez.

And weighing 130 pounds,

the World's Champion,

Clara Mortensen.

Okay, I've got it.

Connie says Scalli is to take
the stand in a few minutes.

Just one wrong word from Scalli

and he won't live
to say another one.

I know a quick drying cement
we can pack him in.

- Did I ask you anything?
- But Chief, I just want to help.

I'll call for you
when I need you.

Now shut up all of you

so I can hear the investigation

over the radio.

First, I would remind you,
Mr. Scalli,

that you're under oath.

Any deviation from the truth

will constitute perjury.

Now what is your business?

I'm a promoter
of women wrestlers.

You make a lot of money
at that business, don't you?

I have my income tax records
to show.

You're not answering
the question.

You do make a lot of money
in that business, don't you?

Depends on what you mean
by a lot.

Is the women wrestling business

your only source of income,
Mr. Scalli?


Women wrestling business
is my only source of income.

It's a clean sport

that's why
there's no big money in it.

How about horse racing,
Mr. Scalli?

- It's out of my line.
- You mean to tell this committee

that you never bet
on horse races?

I'm a wrestling promoter.

I'm not interested in horses.

You know any book makers,
Mr. Scalli?

I know a lot of people.

I don't ask a man his business.

Seven years ago you
were arrested in New York

for making book.

Do you deny that, Mr. Scalli?

It's a frame-up,
I've never made book in my life.

Oh, yes you have

and before this committee
is through with you

we're going to prove it.

You haven't anything on me.

That's what you'd like to think,
isn't it, Scalli?

Before we're through
with this investigation

we're going to know
all about you.

And about a man
who's known as Mr. Big.

That'll be all for the present.

We'll send for you again soon.

You here again?

Come here.

Oh, I can never have any fun.

Come on, I want to talk to you.

All right.

Say Chief,
Monk's here to see you.

Bring him in.

- What is it, Monk?
- Things look pretty suspicious,

Chief, Scalli sent me
down to the bank twice today

and I've drawn out
large sums of money.

He's got it all
in the office safe.

Go on, go on, what else?

Well, he asked me three times
what I was doing tonight.

It looks as if
he doesn't want me

or anyone else in the place.

You mean, there's no one
at the gym tonight?

- I'm pretty sure.
- That isn't enough.

Call up and check.


Hello, Ruby, this is Monk.

- What do you want?
- Any of the boys around?

No, everyone's gone home but me

and I'm leaving
in about five minutes.

That was Ruby.

She's leaving in five minutes.

There isn't a soul in the place.

How do we get it?

Let me go ahead.

I'll open the back door for you.

I'll even await
until you arrive.

All right, boys,
give Monk a 20-minute start

and go to Scalli's office
and hijack that safe.

I want my 35 grand
and I want it now.

It's a valuable tip.

Why, thanks, Chief.

What are you doing here
this hour of the night?

Expecting someone?

No, boss.

I was just leaving.

Well, get out of here.

Got the car handy
like I told you?

Yes, boss.
I parked it in a clear spot

so that we can get out
in a hurry.

Come on, let's hurry up
a little faster.

All right.

Hey, somebody just came in.

They must've tripped
the back door alarm.

Get out of here in a hurry.

All right, give it to me.