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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Breakheart Pass (1975)
(Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)


Starring: Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna, Jill Ireland and Charles Durning
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £17.99 (Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 14 May 2018

In 1870 following an outbreak of diphtheria at Fort Humbolt a special train is dispatched under the control of the army. Also travelling with the train is Governor Fairchild and his fiancée Marica. When the train stops off in the small town of Myrtle they pick up marshal Pearce and his newly acquired prisoner, the notorious murderer John Deakin. As the train heads towards the fort people start to disappear, possibly murdered…

Breakheart Pass (1975. 1 hr, 34 min, 49 sec) is a mystery adventure western directed by Tom Gries The film was written by Alistair MacLean (Where Eagles Dare (1968), When Eight Bells Toll (1971)). The film's score was by Jerry Goldsmith and was MacLean’s only Western.

The film is one in a long line of movies which stretched back to Murder on the Orient Express, with which it shares its basic premise of being trapped on a train with a murderer. After the first person goes missing the army and passengers all suspect Deakin, well who wouldn’t as he has already been introduced as a murder. But Deakin isn’t what he seems.

The film is a good vehicle for Charles Bronson. He plays the brooding Deakin, who is in fact a government agent. Bronson surrounds himself with a good group of character actors in what is a very linear film, lacking any subtext. That it not to say that the film isn’t well constructed, and it takes quite a while to work out just who is killing who and why.

The Blu-ray arrives with a 1080p, MPEG-4 AVC with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. For audio you get a LPCM 2.0 with optional English subtitles. There are only two special features. The first is the original trailer (3 min, 06 sec) which bizarrely gives away pretty much all the plot. Secondly you get a lengthy interview with Kim Newman (25 min, 19 sec) who discusses the film.

It’s a straight forward movie, but it does play to Bronson’s strengths as an actor and also provides some effective action sequences.


Charles Packer

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Blu-ray & DVD