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PCR 502

Artwork copyright (c) 1975 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2004 James Southall



Reasonably engaging thriller score from south of the border


The director Tom Gries didn't make too many famous or successful films, but he did have the good fortune to work with composer Jerry Goldsmith on numerous occasions, usually for his most high-profile movies; their collaborations were 100 Rifles, the wonderful QB VII, Breakheart Pass and this movie, 1975's Breakout, whose tag line must go down as one of the greatest in movie history - "Sentenced to 28 years in prison for a crime he never committed, only two things can get him out - a lot of money and Charles Bronson!"  Fantastic!  Yes, Bronson is paid a quarter of a million dollars to travel to Mexico and free Robert Duvall, who has been incorrectly sent to prison.

Goldsmith has often displayed a flair for writing hispanic music, primarily in some of his westerns, but also of course in other scores like Under Fire and the little-known High Velocity.  Here he does it again, though this time the score is for the most part an exercise in subtlety, with low-key writing for a smaller orchestra than usual, augmented by an expanded percussion section, dominating the score.  Suspense music makes up a large part of the early sections of the CD, with "Ambushed" in particular raising the tension to a really high, very effective level, though it doesn't necessarily make for the most enthralling listen.

"Hasty Exit" raises the temp a little, with a great passage for guitar and the first hints of the action music that becomes more prominent as the album enters its second half, though immediately after comes the beautiful piano love theme "Schemes", which is terrific stuff.  The absolute highlight is "Border Crossing", sadly very brief but worthy of a place in the very greatest Goldsmith scores (which this isn't) - a rapturous, sweeping piece that seems to come out of nowhere and then quickly disappears again (to be reprised during the other really great piece, the six-minute finale "Stalking").  The actual breakout sequence ("Breakout", "Here They Come!") is the best action music on the album, a very solid sequence of music.

Breakout is atmospheric, effective music that doesn't necessarily make for the most engaging of listens away from the film.  It's great film music and when it gets going it can be quite thrilling, but it's not as good as other Goldsmith scores for similar films (and the liner notes' claim that it sounds like Air Force One, Twilight's Last Gleaming and First Blood are peculiar, to say the least - it sounds like those scores in the same way that Mahler's Resurrection Symphony sounds like "Hello, is it me you're looking for?" by Lionel Ritchie).  Still, it has enough good moments to come recommended to Goldsmith fans.


  1. Main Title (4:22)
  2. False Arrest (1:04)
  3. The Prison (1:46)
  4. Buried Alive (4:28)
  5. Ambushed (2:27)
  6. Hasty Exit (2:11)
  7. Schemes (1:51)
  8. No More Money (:50)
  9. All Yours (1:48)
  10. Farewells (1:01)
  11. Border Crossing (1:17)
  12. Miraculous Recovery / Waiting Game (1:21)
  13. Waiting / Bear Hug (2:13)
  14. Breakout (2:13)
  15. Here They Come! (3:20)
  16. The Tail / Just Routine (1:43)
  17. Stalking (6:08)