No Good Deed | Script Revolution

No Good Deed

A good Samaritan attempts to diffuse a bad situation, only to light the fuse to another.

Rain-slicked streets and shadowy locales, fedora hats, anti-heroes and femme fatales. Voice-over rich narratives that regale us with tales of lust, blackmail and double-cross. Throw in some existential angst, some mystery, a little seduction. These are just a few of my favourite things when it comes to the golden age of Film Noir.

Budding film makers and fans of Noir, Neo-Noir and its various offshoots of pulp-fiction and graphic novellas sure are in for a treat today with John Staats’ short crime thriller, No Good Deed.

The complete phrase is: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Simply put that means beware of the consequences of acts of kindness and altruism, lest you be doomed for your trouble.

If only John Staats’ lead character, James had heeded this advice. In No Good Deed we open on an ethereal image of two lovers locked in an embrace.

Melissa wears a long red negligee…slit up the side to the top of her thigh... one leg draped over James, and a hand on his hip. 

Both of them … stare into each other’s eyes. It’s very sweet and tender.

Except… something’s just a bit off with this picture. As James world-weary voice-over informs us:

(heavy Brooklyn accent)
It ain’t how it looks.
Let me explain…

And explain, he does:

You see, it was late. I just
hauled my sorry ass up five flights
to my floor and, man-oh-man, this
couple down the hall was going at it.
A real doozy, from the sound of it…

James is a chivalrous type. Not one to stand on the sidelines. If there’s trouble brewing he’s going to step up, especially when there’s a damsel in distress.

And then nothin’. Silence.
No argument just stops like that
without someone getting’ popped.
The door was cracked, so I had a look-see.

When James looks over the threshold into the apartment where the hullabaloo was going on, whatever he sees causes him to instantly lose not only his lunch, but also his hat over the side of the fifth-floor window. That’s all quickly forgotten however when he sees ‘her’ -

- teetering barefoot on the ledge… Melissa, Oh, what a sight for sore eyes.

The breeze causes the negligee to cling to her body and breasts.

A wavy blonde wisp of hair blows across her delicate face -.45 caliber nipples and all.

James is instantly smitten.

She looked just like a pin-up I had
in my old G.I. footlocker…

Whew! This dame’s enough to make James take leave of his senses – And forget a lot of things unfortunately - one fact being that he’s a married man.

Of course now is not the time for reminders of domestic banality so James smartens himself up and engages Melissa in conversation, all the while trying to finagle her to safety inside. For a while things are looking swell. The conversation that ensues between these two is electric, the attraction between them palpable. Even with a dizzying five-storey drop to the New York streets below, everything’s looking just peachy for a soft landing, until -

Something catches Melissa’s eye, something that turns everything pear-shaped.

So, has James’ good deed for the day left him hero or schmuck? Has he just committed a fatal mistake? We’ll let you be the judge of that.

John Staats' exemplary writing in No Good Deed is a master class in bringing to life the gritty but very entertaining seedy underbelly of 1940s New York. Loaded with witty banter and repartee and with dialogue dripping with sardonic wit Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett would be proud of, it also offers a plot that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

If you enjoyed Double Indemnity, Notorious, The Big Sleep & The Maltese Falcon or your tastes gravitate to the more modern neo-noirs like A Kiss Before Dying, Body Heat, & Sin City, (to name just a few), you’re going to love No Good Deed.

Filmmakers: Okay, let’s dispense with the formalities. Think of this as a fortuitous good deed for the day with no repercussions. Duck soup this is, (easy-peasy, in case you’re not up with the lingo). Better get on the blower to John, and make it quick smart.



Two actors - 1 male 30s, 1 female mid-20s.

Director's prerogative, however, No Good Deed lends itself perfectly to cool, highly stylized B&W cinematography with solo or selective color effects ala Sin City. Green screen, camera and lighting (optional additional animation) along with proficient skills with video editing and SFX  (Adobe Premier Pro & After Effects) for example, can enable stunning visuals all achievable on a reasonably low budget. Alternately, combine your quick-study talents with your passion for Noir and open source software programs available online. 

The Script

No Good Deed

A good Samaritan attempts to diffuse a bad situation, only to light the fuse to another.

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 

L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.Read more

About The Writer

John Staats's picture
Real name: 

I'm proud of the work posted here and the stories you're about to read. You have your choice of feature screenplays, numerous shorts (including a VR short) and some comic formats in case you're up for something a bit different. The links to my comics would make awesome storyboards if you want to bring the story to life.

If you like what you read, feel free to give it some love and tic the heart icon.

Been around... Seen some things... Yep, a helluva story teller. No sh*t, there...Read more