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Western murder mystery from Alistair MacLean
on May 13, 2006
Breakheart Pass is a suprisingly good mystery/thriller from a genre you might not normally expect; a western. Based on the novel by Alistair MacLean, the movie begins with a train loaded with troops and medicine stopping in a small town called Myrtle City. The train takes on two passengers, John Deakim, a gambler accused of murder, and Nathan Pearce, a U.S. Marshal. It is revealed the train is traveling to Fort Humboldt to deliver some much needed medical supplies. But soon, dead bodies start appearing, and we realize something more sinister is going on. I was suprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. There are enough plot twists and suprises to keep you entertained, and several good action scenes. Throw in a very catchy Jerry Goldsmith score and how can you lose?
I've said this in other reviews of Bronson movies, but moviegoers often assume Charles Bronson is a one-trick pony, that he can't play anything other than his Paul Kersey Death Wish character, but here is another role that proves otherwise. Bronson plays John Deakim, a gambler accused of murder who knows more than he is letting on during the train trip. Ben Johnson co-stars as U.S. Marshal Pearce, a deputy marshal who finds his way onto the train with Deakim. The strong supporting cast includes Richard Crenna as Governor Fairchild, the governor of the unnamed territory, Jill Ireland as Marica Scoville, a young woman visiting her father, Charles Durning as O'Brien, the railroad represenative, Ed Lauter as Major Claremont, the officer in charge, and Bill McKinney as Peabody, a travelling reverend. The DVD offers a pretty nice looking widescreen presentation and trailers. Don't judge this book by its cover. I didn't think a murder mystery western on a train sounded very good, but I really enjoyed this movie. So for a good mystery/thriller western with a great cast, a good Goldsmith score, and plenty of twists and turns, check out Breakheart Pass!