A Breed Apart (1984) A bunch of people fetishize the Bald eagle.

Theme Song: “Hold Her in Your Hand” by Maurice Gibb.


This country/western number plays over the closing credits and was written by Maurice Gibb. This song has nothing to do with the movie, really.

Interesting Dated References: People having collections of bird eggs; People being so concerned about the bald eagle and it becoming extinct that they greenlight a movie focusing on the topic; People being concerned about birds in any way at all; Kathleen Turner furiously trying to shake off her sexpot image.

Best Line: “That ol’ Stella can really pack a pair of Levi’s, can’t she?” — said by a guy.

Social Context: According to sources on the internet that don’t cite their sources, an entire reel of this movie was lost in shipping after filming was completed, which means a full quarter of what was shot went missing. It shows, as the audience is asked to make a lot of assumptions, and some details are never filled in.

Summary:Rutger Hauer is Jim, a millionaire recluse who lives on his own private island wildlife sanctuary, where he acts like a young Christopher Walken, and obsesses over keeping a nesting bald eagle safe.

If there had been a fourth reel to the movie, we may have heard more about how he’s also a shellshocked ‘Nam vet, but that’s really only mentioned in passing.

Stella (Kathleen Turner, break-out star of Baby Geniuses) is the local “hot chick” who has a kid and runs a convenience store. She wants Jim to (literally) touch her breasts (she forces him to do this twice), but he’s aloof and won’t commit.

So instead, she just mediates between Jim and the local yokels (one of whom is Brion James, RIP) who are constantly trying to hunt and kill the wildlife on the island sanctuary.

Then Powers Boothe shows up as Mike. He’s a professional climber who is desperate for money and was hired by billionaire J.P. Whittier (Donald Pleasence, Halloween 5) to steal the bald eagle egg for his vast collectible egg collection. He poses as a photographer and Jim lets him camp on the island.

He and Jim become good friends, and somewhere in there Mike befriends a local reporter (Jayne Bentzen, Blood Rage) and receives fully-nude intercourse of a sexual nature by promising to give her a good news story. He reneges post-coitus, which she laughs off because apparently she’s used to being treated like dog shit.

Then, unable to resist the loose, frumpy, scrubby shirts Stella is wearing, Jim succumbs to her advances and they make love.

This scene is super bizarre. It opens with Rutger fully nude, crawling all over the top of Turner as if they are just completing a male-dominant 69 pose.

While all that’s going on, Mike climbs the cliff to get a look inside the eagle’s nest. Jim, having satiated Stella, suddenly has the intuition to know that Mike is trying to steal an egg and races back to the island, where he shoots Mike off the cliff on his descent.

After they wrestle on the ground and in the water, Mike reveals he was just too impressed by the bird and couldn’t bring himself to steal the eggs. That’s the big reveal, that there are two eggs, thus increasing the chance of survival for the species.

On his way out of town, Mike picks up the reporter who has been hounding him and says he’ll tell her a story about a billionaire egg collector willing to break the law. The closing scene is of Pleasence hearing the beginning of the story on the radio.

Worth Mentioning:
– It is assumed the missing reel contained lots of back story on Jim and how he came to be a recluse because of traumatic Vietnam events. He has three spazz-outs during the movie, which allude to ‘Nam, but no other explanation is given.

– Directed by Philippe Mora (The Beast Within, The Return of Captain Invincible, Howling II: … Your Sister is a Werewolf, The Marsupials: Howling III, Communion).

Poster and Box Art: The Thorn EMI clamshell features the theatrical poster with minor edits. It would seem the theatrical poster did not feature Kathleen Turner enough, so they opted to redraw/lighten her to make the rendering stand out a more. It looks a little strange.

Some much nicer foreign posters found on eBay:

Availability: Used VHS and on YouTube.

One comment

Leave a Reply