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Headscratchers / Miller's Crossing

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  • How exactly is 5'8" Steve Buscemi supposed to pass for 6 foot tall John Turturro, even with his face blown off?
    • To be fair, it looks as though the directors tried to get around that, as most scenes with Tom and Bernie feature either one standing while the other sits or both standing, and in the Miller's Crossing scene, Bernie is groveling pathetically, disguising his height.
      • And when the characters find the body, it's mentioned to have been picked over by scavengers, even aside from the normal decay AND the fact that Mink was shot in the face. While we don't see it, it's clearly a disgusting sight. Tom knows it's not Bernie, but the two mooks with him were the idiots who let him alone in the first place. They went looking for a body, found one, and didn't feel a compelling reason to look for signs it was someone else.
      • Also the body had the same clothes Bernie was wearing.
      • Adding to all that, the Dane did eventually figure out it was Mink, despite the state of the body. Maybe that was one of the factors, he just didn't notice at first.
      • What's he going to do, pick over the corpse? He found what he was expecting.
      • Considering that Mink's body was in significant enough a state of decay that the odor was overpowering even from several feet away, it seems unlikely that anyone would have been examining it closely enough for a more solid ID than "dark hair, white shirt, red suspenders, shot in the face". (Though this does beg the question — how did Mink end up out there? Did Bernie move his body, or was he alive when they drove out?)
  • So Tom's upset at the whole assassin attempt on Leo's life. Thing is, he claims that the whole affair made Leo vulnerable. Umm, not sure what Tom heard, because I don't really consider Leo expertly mowing down both of his would be assassins with a pistol and tommy gun, jumping down from his window, and shooting down a car firing at him a sign of vulnerability.
    • Leo may be an artist with a Thompson, but he's still lucky Johnny Caspar didn't send out the Dane the first time. The fact they got into his bedroom meant his security was compromised.
    • Leo's fortunes quickly take a turn after the assassination attempt, with Casper kicking him off a city committee and getting the backing of the mayor and police. So it would appear that the assassination attempt made him vulnerable by putting him on the defensive and making it look like he was on his way out, causing his allies to abandon him.
  • Despite having ulterior motives for protecting Bernie, and despite the latter being a monster, Leo has a point in the opening scene. Bernie pays him for protection, and the fact that Caspar pays more doesn't give him a license to kill. If Leo let anyone with money get around his protection, that business would quickly go down the drain, considering how it doesn't look like we're talking about typical gangster movie "pay me or I'll destroy your stuff" protection here; both Bernie and Caspar are on decent terms with Leo before the movie begins, so they're probably not being blackmailed. Nor does the fact that Bernie is a cheater somehow make his protection null and void, because the whole point is that he had been cheating on Caspar's fixed matches. Point is, Tom chews Leo out for doing something completely reasonable and possibly the whole plot could have been avoided if they would have just pointed out to Caspar that the precedent of killing someone under protection would be as dangerous to him as it would be to Bernie.
    • Tom's point is that protecting Bernie would start a war with Caspar, which it does, while letting Caspar kill Bernie costs Leo relatively nothing from a business standpoint. Tom knows better than the viewer whether Leo can get away with withholding his protection from people like Bernie, and he thinks it's preferable to do it over fighting Caspar. We never see what would have happened if Leo had granted Caspar his wish, so it's pure speculation to say how it would have turned out for Leo.


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