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Breakheart Pass [Blu-ray]
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Charles Bronson (Mr. Majestyk) is at his dynamic, heroic best in this suspenseful, action-packed mystery/western based on the best-selling novel by Alistair MacLean (Where Eagles Dare). With a powerful cast that includes Ben Johnson (The Last Picture Show</>), Richard Crenna (First Blood), Jill Ireland (Breakout), Charles Durning (Tootsie) and Ed Lauter (The Longest Yard). Breakheart Pass throws open the throttle for runaway excitement! At the height of the frontier era, a locomotive races through the Rocky Mountains on a classified mission to a remote Army post. But one by one, the passengers are being murdered! Their only hope is John Deakin (Bronson), a mysterious prisoner-in-transit who must fight for his life - and the lives of everyone on the train - as he uncovers a deadly secret that explodes in a torrent of shocking revelations, explosive brawls and blazing gun battles. Directed by Tom Gries (Will Penny).
Adventure movies are hard to come by these days--they've been replaced by action movies, which favor fast cars and big explosions over the dangers of nature and explorations of human character. Breakheart Pass stars Charles Bronson as a mysterious petty criminal on the Western frontier. After being caught cheating at cards, he's arrested and held on a military transport train heading through the Rocky Mountains toward a fort on the coast, a fort stricken with diphtheria and in desperate need of the medical supplies on the train. But there's a conspiracy afoot--people on the train keep getting killed or disappearing--and the situation at the fort isn't what it seems either. Alistair MacLean adapted the screenplay from his own novel, and it's a well-plotted, efficient piece of work, made more compelling by a cast of solid character actors, ranging from Charles Durning (The Sting, Tootsie), Richard Crenna (Body Heat), and Ben Johnson (Oscar winner for The Last Picture Show) to guys whose faces you'll recognize, even if their names don't sound familiar. Breakheart Pass isn't The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Bronson isn't Humphrey Bogart, but the movie is a lean adventure flick with an outstanding score by Jerry Goldsmith. (Trivia buffs will catch Sam Elliot and Sally Kirkland in bit parts.) --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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While at a train stop, Deakin is arrested, and put on board the train for transport to the stockade at Humbolt. Already strange things have begun to happen, as two soldiers have disappeared. With an urgent mission to complete, the train must get under way. Trouble and misfortune begin to mount. A passenger is found dead, and then a train worker has a fatal fall. Next a whole carload of soldiers suffers a catastrophe. The survivors push on towards the fort, but find themselves with no way to communicate, as their telegraph set is mysteriously missing. What is happening, and who is behind it? Deakin investigates to try get to the bottom of the dark and deadly plot. Outlaws, Indians, guns and gold all figure into the mix. Deakin takes command of the train as it heads for a showdown in Breakheart Pass.
Breakheart Pass was written when MacLean's best works were already behind him. While it doesn't rank as one of his best books, it does make pretty good material for the big screen. The film is not outstanding, either as a western or as an action-adventure.Read more ›
The plot has all the MacLean staples - sabotage, secret identities, wolves in sheep's clothing and a plot where no-one and nothing is what they appear to be. The only novelty is the location, a train rushing through the old West to bring medical supplies to a cholera-infected fort through strikingly snowbound mountain countryside beautifully captured through cinematographer Lucien Ballard's lens. But the fact that so much of the film is simply one of the author's beloved WW2 plots with outlaws and Indians instead of Nazis doesn't matter: it's the telling that counts, and with a tight script and strong direction from Tom Gries that is equally adept at the mystery (more a 'what the heck's going on?' than 'who's behind it all?') as action (most notably a good rooftop punch-up and a spectacular wreck) it's never a dull ride.
Bronson, still making an effort in those days, comes over well, while the strong supporting cast (including John Ford and Sam Peckinpah regular Ben Johnson, as well as Richard Crenna, Charles Durning and Ed Lauter) add a pleasing layer of professionalism and credibility. Even Jill Ireland, never the most interesting of leading ladies, acquits herself well here.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A Charles Bronson classic. He plays an undercover agent who discovers a conspiracy by renegade army officers. Great story, music and plot.Published 19 months ago by Russ C