Thursday, June 05, 2008

Breakheart Pass, by Alistair MacLean

(hb; 1974)

From the inside flap:

"... a raging blizzard in the Rocky Mountains... Murder, danger, vengeful Indians, the lust for gold, and a Federal agent pitted against as villainous a set of thieves as ever came out of the Old West -- these are the elements Mr. MacLean has woven into [this] exciting and fast-moving [novel]..."


What can I write that the above blurb didn't already cover? Breakheart Pass has all the necessary elements of an excellent action novel: plenty of twists (rooted in the characters' personalities, ably mapped by MacLean), lots of clever action, and even a hint of romance -- not enough to slow down the violence and drama, of course, but there nevertheless.

Check it out: a great, fun read for action and Old West aficionados.

The resulting film was released stateside on May 5, 1976.

Charles Bronson played Deakin. Ben Johnson played Pearce. Richard Crenna played Governor Fairchild. Jill Ireland played Marica. Charles Durning played O'Brien. Ed Lauter played Major Claremont. Bill McKinney played Reverend Peabody. Robert Tessier played Levi Calhoun.

Tom Gries directed the film, from a screenplay by source-novel author Alistair MacLean.

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