El Condor (1970)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film  |   Release Date - Sep 23, 1970 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

Produced by Hungarian André de Toth, El Condor belongs to that oddity of the very early '70s: a Hollywood Western imitating an Italian Western imitating a Hollywood Western. The death in the late '50s of the American B-Western genre had basically forced European filmmakers to produce their own variation of the one true American film genre. Hence the birth of the German "Potato Westerns" starring the likes of Lex Baker, and, by the late '60s, the emergence of the so-called spaghetti Westerns, filmed by mostly Italian directors in Spain. More adult, in execution if not in themes, than their Hollywood counterparts, the Italian sagebrush tales enjoyed a startling popularity in the U.S., especially among the drive-in trade. Covering all bases, El Condor even spoke to the ever increasing African-American audience that also attended the so-called blaxploitation-thrillers by starring former football hero Jim Brown, and, typical for the times, Brown's ethnicity is never even referred to. Lee Van Cleef gets to play a variation on the old comic sidekick and Mariana Hill takes off her clothes amidst the general carnage. But when all is said and done, El Condor remains ersatz spaghetti Western, whose Mexican locations are no more authentic-looking than the usual spaghetti Western vistas filmed on the island of Mallorca.