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Breakheart Pass (1975) - Blu-ray Review

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Breakheart Pass (1975)

Sometimes a classic film - or one we now consider a classic of its genre - underwhelms in its original run.  This is the curious case of Breakheart Pass, a film that continues - every five years or so - to garner more interest in it as it reaches new audiences thanks to Charles Bronson’s particular brand of rough and tumble justice.

"this western can be seen brand-new again as the HD transfer breathes new life into this Northern Idaho-situated shoot"


And it’s easy to see why.  This film is full of great suspense, great character actors, and a crackling script that delivers a tight mirder mystery on board a steam train that is barrelling through some damn attractive country scapes.

John Deakin swears he’s not a man of violence, but Bronson can be pushed too far.  Trapped on a speeding train on its way to a snow-blinded garrison at the Fort Humboldt frontier outpost, Deakin finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery that only he - as he is actually an undercover U.S. Secret Service agent - can solve.

Directed by Tom Gries (100 Rifles, Will Penny, Helter Skelter) and written by novelist Allistair MacLean, Breakheart Pass is loaded with great character actors courtesy of the talents of Ben Johnson, Jill Ireland, Richard Crenna, Charles Durning, David Huddleston, Ed Lauter, and Bill McKinney as Reverend Peabody as a steam train powers its way through the snow and the cliffs to get to the persons responsible for the murders on board the train and diphtheria epidemic at the Fort . . . outlaw Levi Calhoun (Robert Tessier), and a tribe of Native Americans under the command of Chief White Hand (Eddie Little Sky). Breakheart Pass (1975)

Breakheart Pass is arguably one of the last great westerns of the 1970s.  It is definitely a fine murder mystery that resolves itself with a stunning shootout thanks to the unwillingness of corrupt lawmen to go down without a fight.  From the acting to the stunts (including an epic fall of a steep, wooden bridge), Breakheart Pass never fails to get the heart pounding as suspicions are cast every which way before it is revealed that the medical supplies on board the barreling train are actually weapons.

Something fishy is going on board this train and only Deakin can suss it out at the source.  Now, thanks to the efforts of Kino Lorber Studio Classics, this western can be seen brand-new again as the HD transfer breathes new life into this Northern Idaho-situated shoot.  

Full steam ahead!

5/5 beers

Breakheart Pass (1975)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- August 12, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

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), Breakheart Pass is on blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Video:

With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Kino Lorber’s 1080p transfer presents a solid contrast throughout the explosive action as Bronson roars into action.  The snow-filled locales are cold and crisp and you can tell thanks to this HD transfer.  Lines have edges and black levels are STRONG as Bronson, looking all sorts of pissed off and tired, wipes the floor with a bunch of conspirators.  Scars on the skin are clear and facial imperfections are sharp.  The transfer looks to have had a blissfully sharper palate than previous DVD versions.  Details are strong and the local town has strong edges throughout.  Shadows are defined, too.

Audio:

The hard-hitting film has a solid sounding DTS-Master Audio soundtrack to accompany its twisting route through Idaho.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There is but a Theatrical Trailer attached to this release.

  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

Breakheart Pass (1975)

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
95 mins
Director
: Tom Gries
Writer:
Alistair MacLean
Cast:
Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna
Genre
: Action
Tagline:
Revenge. Mystery. Danger. Ambush.
Memorable Movie Quote: "My 'fellow man' is about to hang me!"
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 5, 1976
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 12, 2014.
Synopsis: 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.

Breakheart Pass (1975)

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