S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Breakheart Pass [Blu-ray]
(Tom Gries, 1975)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Jerry Gershwin Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,183,279,840 bytes
Feature Size: 21,515,329,536 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.93 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: August 12th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1723 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1723 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
English (SDH), None
• Trailer (3:07)
Description: Posing as a fugitive from justice, frontier undercover agent John Deakin Charles Bronson boards a train to go after a ruthless gang of outlaws. Ingredients essential to the action include an anti-military conspiracy involving gunrunners and Indians, a phony epidemic, and a down-and-dirty traintop fight between Deakin and Carlos boxer-turned-actor Archie Moore. Breakheart Pass was adapted for the screen by Alistair MacLean from his own novel.
This Alistair MacLean adaptation is a sturdy entry in Charles Bronson's '70s-era filmography. MacLean's script isn't as tricky or thrilling as his past classic Where Eagles Dare, but it goes about its business in an effective, straightforward style, keeping the story rolling at a fast clip and adding in a few fun surprises along the way. Tom Gries' direction is stylish but unobtrusive, giving the film plenty of visual scope and getting solid performances from the well-chosen ensemble cast. The latter element is where the true joy of Breakheart Pass lies: Bronson's subtle, mysterious turn as the film's secret sleuth is ably backed by effective performances from Ben Johnson as a grizzled sheriff, Ed Lauter as a hard-headed military leader, and Richard Crenna as a rather high-handed governor. These performances anchor the film and make its mystery compelling. The end result lacks the depth or sense of invention to make it worthy of repeat viewings but it gets the job done in a likeable, professional style. As a result, Breakheart Pass is worth a look to Bronson fans and anyone who enjoys Westerns and classic mystery fare.
Like the classic
Stagecoach (1939), Breakheart Pass features a band of
desperate characters -- a state governor, an Army major, a minister, a
doctor and a young innocent -- whose trip through the wild West is
complicated by the presence of a fugitive from justice (Charles
Bronson)...or is he? They come together on a train speeding to a
disease-stricken frontier outpost with a precious cargo of medicine...or
is it? As passengers start turning up dead, it quickly becomes clear
that nothing on this twisted train ride is what it seems.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Another Charles Bronson flic, Breakheart Pass has to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. The image seems to have some color issues - perhaps even registry related but is, overall, what you might expect from a single-layered transfer. There are plenty of texture and a reasonable, if not stellar rendering. I don't see any digital manipulation and suspect this is a workable replication of the original and of the available source. This Blu-ray can't be faulted although home theatre aficionados should keep their expectations in-check. Nothing dynamic here.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1723 kbps does a competent job of exporting the film's effects (train sounds, gunfire, horses etc.). The Jerry Goldsmith score supports the film though wouldn't be considered the composer's most memorable efforts. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Bare-bones with only a trailer. The film really doesn't deserve a commentary or extensive discussion.
August 7th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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