Train with medical supplies and small U.S. Army unit is heading through Rocky mountains towards plagued Fort Humboldt. Among its passengers are territory governor, priest, doctor and U.S. Marshal with his prisoner, John Deakin. However, nothing on that train is what it seems.Written by
Dragan Antulov <email@example.com>
Roy Jenson (I)'s name is misspelled as Roy Jensen in the end credits. See more »
Just as the caboose is seen as it starts to go off the tracks and down the mountainside, pulling the rest of the cars with it, the men are heard screaming. But the screaming starts a bit too soon. The men could not see what was happening, and the would not have felt the sensation of falling yet. See more »
The UK cinema version was cut for an 'A' certificate with the removal of a bloody head shooting and a shot of Claremont slashing Fairchild with a sword. Video releases featured the same cut print though DVD versions are fully uncut. See more »
It's generally considered to be the odd one out in the list of MacLean's books, but the film adaptation is reasonably worthwhile.
Alistair MacLean spent most of his novelist days writing wartime suspensers or twisting, turning thrillers. The one book that he wrote which doesn't fit either of those descriptions is Breakheart Pass, a western set aboard a train. This film version of it is surprisingly enjoyable, and features the added bonus of an expressive, colourful characterisation by Charles Bronson.
The train is travelling to a fort in the Wild West with medical supplies to cure an outbreak of a nasty disease. However, some of the soldiers aboard the train are mysteriously disappearing, and anyone who's ever seen a film like this will figure out straight away that there's a murderer on board. Furthermore, the train must make its journey across hostile Red Indian terrain, where a fearsome ambush or a sabotaged stretch of track is only a spear throw away.
Bronson plays a mysterious outlaw who is held prisoner on the train, though there are plenty of clues that he may not be exactly who he says he is. Other well delineated characters are played by Richard Crenna, Jill Ireland, Archie Moore (yes, the boxer!), and Ed Lauter. One truly amazing sequence involves a rooftop scuffle between Bronson and Moore.... indeed most people who have ever seen the film remember it for that sequence more than any other. All things considered, Breakheart Pass is one of the better adaptations of a MacLean novel, admittedly not quite in the same league as Fear is the Key or Where Eagles Dare, but definitely worth seeking out, especially on DVD.
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