Friday, June 30, 2023

Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny

Once More Without Spielberg
The Adventures of Old Indiana Jones
Released right before "Indy-pendence Day," Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny comes with a lot of promise and a few new wrinkles—and not just the ones on star Harrison Ford's face (although the opening sequence takes pains to "de-age" him as it takes place during World War II). This is the first of the adventures (with the exception of 28 episodes of "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles") not to be directed by Steven Spielberg—instead it's overseen by James Mangold, who's no slouch having directed Logan and Ford vs. Ferrari. It also promises—with all the credibility that goes with the words "Farewell Tour"—to be the last of the Indiana Jones series.
Ford is getting "up there"—he'll be 82 on July 13th—and he's been joking since The Last Crusade that he'd prefer any next "Indy" film to be called "Indiana Jones and the Really Comfortable Bed."* Dial of Destiny doesn't prove to be that (although, he does spend some melancholic time sprawled out in a barcalounger). But age is catching up to the old whipper-snapper, and we find him in the year 1969—just after the Apollo 11 moon landing—doing more than the requisite small steps and giant leaps, certainly more than a man his age should be attempting.
Indiana—or as the world knows him Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr.—is spending "Moon-Day" in New York—the date of the Apollo 11 astronauts' ticker-tape parade—dreading it. He is retiring from his teaching post at Hunter College where his students are now bored by antiquities (including him!) and his teacher-prep consists of hitting the bottle rather than the books. He's alone; among the clutter of his dreary apartment are the unsigned divorce papers from Marion, one more separation in a life (and film-series) full of them. But, his class has one new auditor, Helena Shaw (
Phoebe Waller-Bridge), god-daughter to Dr. Jones and daughter of another of his allies during the second world war, Basil Shaw (Toby Jones). 
We've met Basil in the film's first sequence—a protracted chase of planes, trains, automobiles, and motorcycles to try and claim back treasures from a Nazi plunder-train to satisfy Hitler's fascination with the Occult. First, they're after the "Lance of Longinus" (which turns out to be fake), then attention is shifted to Archimedes' Dial—the Antikythera—which is of particular interest to a young Nazi physicist named Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen). The Dial was considered the first computer, constructed around 87 B.C. and was designed to calculate astronomical positions, eclipses, and the movie would have you believe it can predict geological upheavals and...time-fissures.** The trick of it is, though, that the Nazis only have half of it. They need the other half to make it work.
Anyway, Voller wants it, and Indy and "Bas'" want to keep it from him. Indy has been captured by the Nazis (of course) and they want information and he thinks all those antiquities should be in museums. While he's being threatened by the Nasties, Basil gets captured, as well, and is carted onto a train for any information about the Lance. After Indy survives an execution (several times), it becomes his mission to 1) get on that train 2) rescue Basil and 3) get all those baubles while surviving machine guns and bombing runs by the allies. All done at night, the better to hide the extensive special effects it takes to pull the sequence off, somewhat credibly.
One becomes aware, almost immediately, that Mangold is directing this entry and not Steven Spielberg (although George Lucas—who thought up the series—and Spielberg are listed as Executive Producers, they're not involved in the picture-making). It is in the DNA of Spielberg-as-director to make any sequence a playful series of complications that his shot-choices link one to the other. There's a flow that he intentionally puts into his action scenes that instantly telegraphs information to his audience. Mangold tries to do that, here, but there's a disconnect between elements that is often confusing and, at times, seems jarring to the point of obfuscation. The initial action set-piece immediately lowered my bar for expecting a superior Indiana Jones movie—as good as the other four, certainly—and those who have criticized the previous films may find themselves re-appraising their gripes (although I doubt it).
That's the set-up and the 1969-situated remainder of the movie involves the efforts to retrieve the other half of the Antikythera, which necessitates globe-trotting looking for clues to where that might be. I've always loved that element of the Indiana Jones—the tricks, the clues, the puzzles and translations unearthed from the vagaries of time and Nature. There's mounds and mounds of that, with the concomitant parallel of villains riding the research coat-tails that get in the way and delay the satisfaction of the reveals. 
In this case, its the older
Jürgen Voller, who has spent his time helping NASA with their rocket program and has gotten the co-operation of the U.S. government (specifically the C.I.A., in the form here, of Shaunette Renée Wilson doing a great "Foxy Brown" impression), and a couple of thugs (Boyd Holbrook, Olivier Richters) who have their own agenda, which is a bit more contemporary, even if they are less dramatically interesting. Throw in a kid-sidekick (Ethann Isidore) who starts out annoying and becomes gradually more entertaining.
Toss in helpers like Antonio Banderas (in too short a role) and old pal Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), and you have a nicely well-rounded cast.
Most valuable player, though, is Waller-Bridge, whose character, frankly, brings most of the energy to the whole enterprise, completing a series that seems to depend on complicated females of divided loyalties to play off Ford's adventurer-archaeologist. Sure, she probably employed just as many stunt-doubles as Ford, but her quick-witted delivery and expressions has the advantage of youth and energy. Ultimately, where Ford was previously the lynch-pin for audience identification, here, she's the character that may (eventually) engender trust to make things right, while Indy becomes something of a liability in terms of age and attitude.
The end-sequences usually are where things get a bit dicey in these things (especially where "the Wisdom of the Fan-Tribe" weigh in), where the adventurers reach the end of the road and cross over into mysticism, myth and science-fiction. And although, credulity will be snapped to the breaking-point for many, I found that sequence to be the best part of the film, worth even enough to sit through the tedious bits (although I tend to be an apologist for this series, thinking quite highly of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).
No spoilers here, but given the rather depressed nature of the older Dr. Jones Jr. throughout the film, the fourth act makes perfect sense, story-wise and emotionally, and presents an opportunity—although one hyper-fantastically reached—to complete a series-long character arc of learning and yearning. Okay, maybe I don't "buy" how they got there, but, dramatically, the ends justify the means and presents something unique to say,
with some real resonance, about this character we've followed from youthful arrogance to wistful dotage.
And the end-sequence before the credits? (there is no post-credit scene, thank you). I'm not ashamed to say I teared up, and it made me glad I saw the two hour-twenty-minute-movie even if two hours of it I found wanting. There was no reason for a fifth Indiana Jones movie—other than the thought that maybe they shouldn't go out on the fourth one—and the whole thing is an exercise in nostalgia. The coda only emphasizes that point. But, sometimes nostalgia is pretty important. Memories of the past warm the heart, enrich the soul, and make one step into an uncertain future with the hope of finding more treasures for the memory. Nostalgia isn't "what it used to be". It can also be a beacon to face the future.
But, I can't end this without acknowledging 81 year-old Harrison Ford for making another one of these when most of us hovering around decades of his age are worried about walking the stairs of the multi-plex without using a hand-rail. That's some stamina, man, I don't call how many stunt-doubles and digital-face-replacements were used to pull it off. That should be celebrated, along with the score by 91 year old John Williams, that still manages to raise goose-bumps and make the heart soar. 
If this is their mutual last movie, bravo. And thank you...for the memories.

* Me, skewing towards the time-chronology of the Indiana Jones series, wanted the 1960's adventure to be titled "Indiana Jones and the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test". Oh, well.
** Sure, you'll call bullshit. But, you loved the Ark of the Covenant melting Nazis, cheered when rafts were used to bail out of airplanes and sled on the Himalayas...not to mention pulling beating hearts out of chests, and were awed by the Last Surviving Knight Templar. But, you couldn't get past "nuking the fridge." The suspensions of disbelief among fans are more rickety than the bridges Indy repeatedly has to cross. How can one love the one and hate the other? I think it has to do with being a fan as a child and a jerk as an adult—you grow up but never mature. Anyway, I'm long since done trying to understand fans of the "fantasy" genre. They seem determined to destroy what distinguishes the genre from the rest—imagination and wonder. End of lecture. No, I don't have office hours and I won't meet you for a fight in the parking lot. (And...I stole your lunch).

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Hi, Mom!

Hi, Mom! (Brian De Palma, 1970) Second full-length film (although it seems more a comedy pastiche in final form, like the Zucker Brothers were making at the time) that De  Palma and his producing buddy Charles Hirsch cooked up, seemingly as a sequel of sorts to Greetings (retaining Robert De Niro and his "character" John Rubin), while having absolutely nothing to do with that first film.  

Ostensibly about a young film-maker who wants to make "peep-show art" out of filming the real lives of his neighbors in the co-op across the street—shades (opened, naturally) of Rear Windowit meanders into Rubin's plotting a relationship with one of his subjects (Jennifer Salt), while at the same time becoming involved in an experimental theater group, staging a radical audience participation vehicle called "Be Black, Baby!"

That last segment may actually be one of the first "mockumentaries."
Mean-spirited (but in a smart way), with that stagey kind of improv quality to it that only works 40% of the time, it feels like De Palma taking off the gloves, cracking his knuckles and using his camera like a fist against complacency. It also has that bi-partisan cynicism to it that's very refreshing—for instance, "Be Black, Baby!" is shown being presented (in grainy black and white on a rounded edge square screen) over a parody of NET,* now called NIT—National Intellectual Television. It's a chortling, vicious piece of satire done in multi-parts (with the Rubin segments interrupting and becoming more and more inconsequential, the "peep-art-show" concept having long been abandoned**), starting with citizens being accosted on the street about their failure to know what it means "to be black in America," then more segments that are less cinema verité, but have a good improv feel, and then the actual presentation of the play in which privileged whites are challenged, force-fed "soul" food, beaten, robbed and arrested (with one attempted rape thrown in for good measure), before being released to the outside world again—"Hope you enjoyed the show!"—at which point, they're interviewed about their experience (the best line in the whole thing is "Clive Barnes was right!"). In one swell foop, art, pretentiousness, and "touchy-feely" moccassin-walking are given the mau-mau, and come up wanting.
It's "bad-kid movie-making" with a smart-alecky breeziness ("Hi, Mom!") that beats any number of elaborately formal set-pieces that De Palma has subsequently staged. One misses this "turk" De Palma
***—the one that would do things that upset audiences, and sit back, cigar in his teeth, saying "Wait'll you see the next one!" Maybe it's not De Palma's fault. Maybe we've just become insensitive enough that nothing he can produce shocks us anymore.

If that's true, imagine how miserable Hitchcock would be.

* The percursor to PBS.

** The best segment in the Rubin sandwiching sequences is one where he meticulously plans a seduction of Betty Shaefer—Salt's character—in order for him to film it—yes, a sick idea, but quaint in these days of "sex-tapes".  But, things go awry when he arrives at the apartment and she tries to pull him into bed immediately, while he does his best to keep anything from happening, a lovely little turn on sexual roles, expectations, and how much power a director "actually" has. De Niro does his best work here, hemming and hawing and making excuses, constantly glancing at his watch and re-buttoning every shirt-button she's unbuttoned,  and trying to use any of his by-now useless preparations in order to delay, delay, delay (you might say "the worst laid plans")

*** And he might, too.  In an interview, the director has said that the "Be Black, Baby" segments of Hi, Mom! are the best thing he's ever done.  Sad to think that, after all his successes, the elder De Palma looks back and sees this edgy, slap-dash sequence as the epitome of his career. But...if one is dissatisfied with one is doing, with all the compromises and concessions to getting a picture made and marketed, it's easy to look back on the brash days and say "That's when I had the freedom to do anything I wanted!" After the bludgeoning De Palma's films of The Bonfire of the Vanities and Redacted took, one can see that a bit more clearly.  He could make that kind of film today. But, the market...and the critical elite...will bash it down.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Asteroid City

Meep! Meep!
Margot Robbie's in the Tupperware
Asteroid City does not exist. It is an imaginary drama created expressly for the purposes of this broadcast. The characters are fictional, the text hypothetical, the events an apocryphal fabrication."

Well, of course they are! It's a Wes Anderson movie!
Early on, with Anderson's movies—back before they got really stylistic with consistent lateral camera moves and a severe one-point perspective, and looked like they could have happened in the "real world"—there was a depth to the subject matter that was undeniable. That has remained to this day, even while the visual look of the films have become more juvenile and seem to be contained in toy-like play-sets that defy good construction practices or even three-dimensionality. Characters became types moving around in play-houses that seem to be defiantly shooting in a western town that were deliberately shown to be propped up stage settings and mere facades. Most directors try to expand their horizons along with their budgets and to take pains to make things more realistic and less like pre-planned photographed dramatizations. Not Wes Anderson.
Hitchcock said of Spielberg that he was "the first one of us who doesn't see the proscenium arch" noting that Spielberg grew up with film, rather than the stage. But, Anderson is going a different direction. He WANTS you to see the proscenium arch, and will go out of his way...with a child-like make sure it's noticed and appreciated to be artificial. His new film, Asteroid City is one more step in that direction as it's story looks like it takes place in one of Maurice Noble's desert landscapes in the Road-runner cartoons.*
But, that's one aspect of Anderson's film (he usually has at least two he's presenting in his movies). Usually, he's as stringent in his story through-line as he is with a tracking shot (his The French Dispatch, with its a handful of stories, being an exception). This one, he's made a layered story, through several simulated media—television, stage, and film—each one has its place in the film and each one is subject to being violated, one by the other.
Now, Asteroid City tells the story of what happens when a bunch of "super-genius" kids arrive with their families at the titular city—famed for its vicinity to  the "Arid Springs Meteorite" impact crater—for the "Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet" convention put on by "The Larkings Foundation" and the U.S. Military under its United States Military-Science Research and Experimentation Division. They're to be given awards for their inventions—it should be noted that those inventions (jet-packs, destructo-rays, projecting on the Moon) were not viable in the setting of 1955, but would be just the sorts of things kids would want to invent. Each family have their issues and quirks, and they become unwitting witnesses to a major event in the history of mankind.
So, that's the plot. But, it's not the whole movie. We begin—in black-and-white and a square Academy ratio—with a television program (of the arts-programming "Omnibus" variety) where the host (
Bryan Cranston) intones that they are presenting a special production of a play by famed playwright Conrad Earp (Edward Norton) called "Asteroid City" and after a brief episode where Earp meets actor Jones Hall (Jason Schwartzman), we begin with a wide-screen version of the play in the colors of a faded post-card you'd find in a rack at a tourist trap.
Augie Steenbeck (played by Jones Hall played by Jason Schwartzman)—photographer—arrives (barely) at 'Roid City with his three daughters Andromeda, Pandora, and Casseiopeia as well as his son Woodrow (Jake Ryan), who is participating in the awards contest. Augie was a war photographer, still has shrapnel in his head, and takes his station wagon in to be serviced (by mechanic Matt Dillon)—it having given up the ghost miles down the road. It's decided that they will stay in town for the convention, rather than stay with Augie's father-in-law, Stanley Zak (Tom Hanks).
Stanley is concerned about this, but he's more distressed that Augie hasn't told the kids that Augie's wife/his daughter died two weeks ago, and don't you think it's about time to do that? So Augie stoically tells the kids—"Are we orphans now?" "No, I'm still alive."—which affects them all deeply, despite Woodrow being steeped in all things science and the three daughters, embracing mysticism seeing themselves as witches (well, two witches and one vampire). To allow the kids to grieve, Augie lets the kids bury their mother's ashes (contained in a Tupperware container) temporarily in the car-park until their grandfather can arrive to take them to his home for a more proper burial.
Also there for the awards ceremony is actress Midge Campbell (played by Mercedes Ford, played by
Scarlett Johansson), who is studying her lines for a new play and develops a curious relationship with Augie—seeing as their neighbors and all. Like the majority of the actor/characters, they are demonstratively undemonstrative, and—if I may use the word again—"stoic." These are, after all, adults in the 1950's, having lived through a ghastly world war, only to see it emerge with advances in technology and weaponry that dwarf, and could ultimately consume them. The many small inconveniences of living in a desert tourist trap not to far away from a nuclear test-site, leave them unfazed.
It is only when a cosmic event happens that is ultimately beyond their understanding that things change. Asteroid City, due to that happenstance is shut down and quarantined, leaving the temporary residents stranded. But, true to their nature—or perhaps the nature that Conrad Earp has given them—they react more to the minor annoyances that the quarantine imposes, rather than the perspective shock that its cause should have created.
Seems a bit like real life, doesn't it?
Anderson and consigliere Roman Coppola were writing this in 2020, so the COVID quarantine may not have been the genesis for the project, but filming during COVID restrictions certainly did, necessitating the recasting of Bill Murray when he came down with the plague. Still, when the outrage in real life is over the inconvenience of wearing masks rather than the loss of more than a million souls (you can't make this stuff up!), one can infer that it was on the creative minds.
Six feet apart?
But, there is one attitude shift present from the happenstance; Anderson abandons his persistent horizon-bisecting in the frame for something else—overhead shots looking down on the players. Oh, everything still has that one-point perspective, but from above with no horizon in sight, putting (in camera-terms) the people on screen at a disadvantage, making them smaller, vulnerable, putting them in their place—at least from the perspective of an observing extra-terrestrial. It's a bit jarring, but completely apt. It's the only evidence of a new perspective in the movie.
So, I found it fascinating, but then, I always look forward to Anderson's films. They may not come to an all-encompassing conclusion, but instead take on the mantle of a childish inquiry without answers. They make me feel a little younger, where playfulness was everyday, and not in those moments in between crises. They embrace innocence, but leave plenty of room for cynicism and mild bemusement, rather than a-musement. And the cultural touchstones he invokes are pretty sophisticated, even if he's not being sophisticated about them. I'm all in for that.
I hope he never grows up and loses it.
And Asteroid City is the perfect come-back for all those scary A-I generated parodies of "visionary director" Wes Anderson that are flooding YouTube now ad nauseum. Whatever the "brave new world" of AI generates, Anderson will always top it. I find that reassuring.

 * Anderson even throws in an occasional stop-motion road-runner just so we get the point.
Some more shots from Asteroid City, just because they amuse me... 

Monday, June 26, 2023

Don't Make a Scene: The Wild Bunch

The Story: Sam Peckinpah's film of The Wild Bunch
has a reputation. A revisionist Western, it makes no distinctions between "black hats" and "white hats"—everyone in it is corrupt and have no qualms about crossing lines of the law or morality. Greed is the overarching motivation for both those law-abiding and law-breaking. It's gritty, it's grimy, profane, and bloody. It's violence is what it's known for, and it's depiction of violence—inspired by the final shoot-out in Bonnie and Clyde, but done on an epic scale—which Peckinpah championed for its more realistic depiction of violence, hoping that it would de-romanticize the movie's depictions of violence by firearm. If anything, it did just the opposite. Probably another reason Peckinpah drank.
But, those looking to see a carnage-fest in The Wild Bunch will—for the most part—be disappointed. Mostly it's a film of men talking. With an unrelenting cruel-streak running through it. Time's are changing. It's 1913, after all, and the century has heaved into being with the black smoke of the industrial revolution and was seeing the "Gilded Age" tarnish before the world cracked in 1914 with the first World War. 
The West had been conquered by the European White Man but still saw no signs of being "civilized." And in that context, the movie shows obstinate outlaws pondering their place in this new world—if they're pondering at all. The Bunch's leader, Pike Bishop sees the world totally corrupted, and, in his own way, tries to hold fast to certain romantic notions about loyalty and a man's word...even if that man travels outside the Law This scene crystallizes that conflict, and maybe explains why they take the actions they do. I haven't corrected the misspellings and typo's from Peckinpah's final draft. For some reason, I found all the errors charming, and I imagine it was due to having a bottle as a writing partner. Inevitable on-set paraphrasing and additions are in GREEN. But, I saved the mistakes. Authenticity.
One peculiar aspect while putting this one together—Peckinpah's editing, done with editor Lou Lombardo. I try to pick out the best images to show, but sometimes for a complete shot, I'll take a beginning frame and an ending frame just to show the territoy covered in that camera placement. With The Wild Bunch, I would think that the perfect end shot would be coming up, but Peckinpah had already made his edit and gone to the next shot. So, I'd rewind, get ready again and...Peckinpah had already moved on. I kept missing that last frame and it happend consistently enough that it ocurred to me that the director was in a hurry to move on
It may be why The Wild Bunch—both in its studio edit and in Peckinpah's original cut—the movie never, ever drags. And keeps surprising with each viewing.

The Set-Up: After a disastrous robbery in which their gang was ambushed (with lots of civilian casualties and only bags of washers to show for it) by a rag-tag mercenary group funded by a railroad magnate, the criminal gang led by Pike Bishop (William Holden) is on the run to Mexico, where they may have dealings with a corrupt warlord. But, the journey is long, giving the remaining members of the gang--Bishop, Dutch Engstrom (Ernest Borgnine), the Gortch brothers, Lyle (Warren Oates) and Tector (Ben Johnson), Angel (Jaime Sánchez), and Freddy Sykes (Edmond O'Brien)--a rare down-time to reflect and to fracture. Right before this scene, Pike has been speculating about what life will be like after this job. Maybe robbing an army payroll—"I'd like to make one good score and back off" "Back off to what?" asks his incredulous partner-in-crime Dutch, as if going straight was ever an option. "They'll be waiting for you," Dutch warns. "I wouldn't have it any other way" is Pike's reply.
DUTCH Damn! 
DUTCH You sure must have hurt that railroad pretty bad -- 
DUTCH they spent a lot of time and money getting that ambush set up for us. 
PIKE (smiling at the memory) Well, I caught up to them -- two or three times -- 
PIKE There was a man named Harrigan -- 
PIKE He had a certain way of doing things -- 
PIKE So I made him change his ways -- when you do that to a narrow man -- he can't live with it - from then on he's got to change you -- break you -- just to prove he's right -- 
PIKE there-'s a hell of a lot of people, Dutch -- 
PIKE ...that just can't stand to be wrong. 
DUTCH Pride, I guess 
PIKE I guess -- but they can't ever forget it -- 
PIKE that pride that being wrong 
PIKE ...or learn by it. 
DUTCH (after a long moment) And you -- and me How about us, Pike?
DUTCH --did you reckon we learn -- 
DUTCH being wrong today? 
PIKE (SOFTLY) Well, I surely hope to God we did. 
SYKES Them's hot.
moves away, 
DUTCH Where'd in hell did you ever find him? 
PIKE .(softly) That toothless old wreck was a real gun about twenty years back -- used to run with Thornton and me, killed his share and more -- 
PIKE around ----Langery -- Ambushed stages all along that old board highway.,.He had those Swede immigrants so scared theyQd starve rather than go to town and buy beans for their kids, and there wasn't a sheriff in the territory to take issue
 -- He laughs, drinks the coffee and gags.. 
DUTCH And he ain't changed -- Yeah, only now-he does his killing with a coffee cup. 
Dutch laughs and then both lean back listening as: 
plays the great ranchero songs of old Mexico.,
DUTCH (softly) - Pike, 
DUTCH I wouldn't have it no other -way aither. 
They are tired and dirty. Near the edge they dismount to lead their horses to the bottom.
SYKES Watch out, boys!
THE SAND IS LOOSE AND THE FOOTING EXTREMELY DIFFICULT as they start down in single file, Sykes is last, he leads his own horse, a pack animal, and three of the empties. 
LYLE Take it easy, old man!
TECTOR Pull that horse up!
He falls FORWARD:
TECTOR Keep its head up you crazy old bastard!
LYLE What's wrong with you?
Unable to control his slide he collides with/Tector who is next in line. 
LYLE Watch him, Tector!
Tector's fall starts a p fain reaction in which all the men slide to the bottom of ttLe hill. 
and land in a giant cloud of. dust. 
There. is a: profusion of coughing 
and swearing as the men and-animals struggle to their feet.. 146
PIKE Goddam son of a bitch!
PIKE Get those horses up!
What the hell is going on?
TECTOR Asshole clumsy bastard!
LYLE Get up!
LYLE Get up there now, goddamn it!
LYLE Heeyaw, get over here! Heeyaw! 
TECTOR What the hells the matter with you, old man?
TECTOR STANDS,. CURSES AT SYKES,. then picks up a. stone and throws it at.the old man who is hit and falls backward. 
PIKE Leave him...
PIKE ...alone! 
TECTOR (R'AVING) Hats goin' to get pis killed -- I'm gonna...
TECTOR ...get rid of him! 
PIKE (his anger growing) We don't get rid of nobody
PIKE we stick together -- just like it used to be -- 
PIKE when you side with ] a man you stay with him -- 
PIKE(shaking him) And If you can't do that you're worse than like some animal -- you're finished -- 
PIKE we're finished -- 
PIKE all of us! 
Tector looks at him silently. 
PIKE Mount up.
Placing his foot in the stirrup he stiffly starts to swing on.
The leather breaks and. 
he falls under the animal.
Landing on his back, he lets out a loud shriek.
Dutch, ready to mount his horse hesitates, but doesn't move to help. 
PIKE STRUGGLES TO HIS FEET. None of them move forward to help him and he doesn't expect them to. He is visibly miserable as he recovers the reins of his animal and tears off the.broken leather. 
Sykes turns away. 
TECTOR (PIOUSLY) 'Pears 'Brother Pike' needs help, Brother Lyle. 
LYLE Riding with 'Brother Pike' 
and old man Sykes 
makes a man wonder if it ain't time to pick up his chips and-
LYLE ...find another game. 
TECTOR (suddenly yelling at Pike) How in hell
are you going to...
TECTOR  ...side any- body if you can't get on a horse.
PIKE LOOKS AT THEM, THEN STEPS onto the makeshift stirrup and mounts,
concealing his pain,
taking a few seconds to gather up the reins 
and position himself.
In the b.g., Dutch swings onto his horse. 
PIKE Were about two hours from the Santa Caterinas
He turns and rides toward the mountains, the men following.
The Wild Bunch

Words by Walon Green, Roy N. Sickner, and Sam Peckinpah

Pictures by Lucien Ballard and Sam Peckinpah

The Wild Bunch is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Warner Entertainment.