Condorman (1981)

PG | 90 mins | Adventure | 1981

Director:

Charles Jarrott

Writer:

Marc Stirdivant

Producer:

Jan Williams

Cinematographer:

Charles F. Wheeler

Production Designer:

Albert Witherick

Production Company:

Walt Disney Productions
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HISTORY

Walt Disney Productions originally referred to the film as The Condor Man, then Condor Man, before settling on Condorman prior to production.
       Opening credits include the following written statement: “Our thanks to the principality of Monaco; the village of Zermatt; the city of Paris; Société des Bains de Mer de Monte Carlo; Casino de Monte Carlo; L’Aéronavale Francaise (French Naval Aviation) for their cooperation in the making of this film.”
       According to a 12 Jul 1979 HR article, the film was initially scheduled for production in 1979, but was one of two pictures that Walt Disney Productions rescheduled for 1980.
       HR news items on 19 Feb 1980 and 13 May 1980 noted that Raquel Welch turned down the co-starring role. The filmmakers, searching for a “sex symbol” similar to Welch, cast Barbara Carrera in the role of “Natalia.”
       An article in the 8 Oct 1979 DV reported the film would begin principal photography late Apr 1980 in France, as well as other places in Europe. The 5 Aug 1980 HR reported that Condorman was filmed in France, Switzerland and Monte Carlo. Various locations in Monte Carlo also doubled as Yugoslavia, Italy, and the South of France. Second unit locations included the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, the Matterhorn tram cable in Switzerland, roads in Southern France, and the Mediterranean sea off Nice, France, and St. Tropez, France. According to the 25 Jun 1980 Var, principal photography finished “recently” with the “completion of process sequences” at Pinewood Studios in England.
       While various contemporary sources noted ... More Less

Walt Disney Productions originally referred to the film as The Condor Man, then Condor Man, before settling on Condorman prior to production.
       Opening credits include the following written statement: “Our thanks to the principality of Monaco; the village of Zermatt; the city of Paris; Société des Bains de Mer de Monte Carlo; Casino de Monte Carlo; L’Aéronavale Francaise (French Naval Aviation) for their cooperation in the making of this film.”
       According to a 12 Jul 1979 HR article, the film was initially scheduled for production in 1979, but was one of two pictures that Walt Disney Productions rescheduled for 1980.
       HR news items on 19 Feb 1980 and 13 May 1980 noted that Raquel Welch turned down the co-starring role. The filmmakers, searching for a “sex symbol” similar to Welch, cast Barbara Carrera in the role of “Natalia.”
       An article in the 8 Oct 1979 DV reported the film would begin principal photography late Apr 1980 in France, as well as other places in Europe. The 5 Aug 1980 HR reported that Condorman was filmed in France, Switzerland and Monte Carlo. Various locations in Monte Carlo also doubled as Yugoslavia, Italy, and the South of France. Second unit locations included the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, the Matterhorn tram cable in Switzerland, roads in Southern France, and the Mediterranean sea off Nice, France, and St. Tropez, France. According to the 25 Jun 1980 Var, principal photography finished “recently” with the “completion of process sequences” at Pinewood Studios in England.
       While various contemporary sources noted the budget was between $8 and $12 million, the 25 Jun 1980 Var estimated that the total cost reached nearly $14 million, making it Disney’s second most expensive, non-animation film to date.
       A brief in the 3 Aug 1981 LAT stated that the film’s release had been pushed back one week, from 7 Aug 1981 to 14 Aug 1981.
       A 13 May 1980 HR article noted that Disney had high expectations for Condorman, as Disney’s executive vice president in charge of production, Ron Miller, authorized a sequel and expected to make a series of Condorman films.
       on 16 Sep 1981 Var announced that Disney would have to “write off” $9.5 million due to the poor domestic box-office grosses of Condorman, and Disney’s earnings were expected to be ten percent lower than the previous year.
       An item in the 12 Nov 1981 DV reported that writer Linda Lane claimed Condorman was similar to her cartoon character “Laser Lady” and filed a $16 million lawsuit against Disney for “copyright infringement, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Oct 1979
p. 1, 7.
Daily Variety
12 Nov 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 1979
p. 1, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 1981
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
3 Aug 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1981
p. 12.
New York Times
31 Aug 1981
p. 16.
Variety
25 Jun 1980.
---
Variety
5 Aug 1981
p. 22.
Variety
16 Sep 1981.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Prod mgr, France
Asst dir
Asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit cam
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir, France
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Cost
Cost
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd supv
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec photog eff
Title anim
Anim eff supv
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairstylist
STAND INS
Stunt supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Laboratories, Color by
Laboratories
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the novel The Game of X by Robert Sheckley (New York, 1965).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Condor Man
Release Date:
1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 August 1981
New York opening: week of 31 August 1981
Production Date:
began late April 1980
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Productions
Copyright Date:
11 February 1982
Copyright Number:
PA129009
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo
Sound
RCA Photophone Sound Recording
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Woody Wilkins, a cartoonist and comic book writer, stands on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, dressed as his character, a spy named “Condorman.” Below, his friend, Harry, photographs Woody as he flies off the building. The wings work for a moment, but one breaks and Woody falls into the river. Later, at Harry’s apartment, Woody tries to figure out what went wrong. For authenticity, he wants to do everything Condorman does in his story and, since he plans that Condorman’s first mission is for the French government, Woody visits Harry, who is stationed in Paris as a file clerk for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The next day, Harry’s boss, Russ, announces that Harry will oversee the exchange of secret papers with Russians in Istanbul, Turkey. The Russians want the exchange to be handled by civilians and Harry picks Woody, who is excited about the mission. When Woody meets his Russian contact, Natalia, at an Istanbul restaurant, she asks if he is also a civilian and he insists he is a spy named “Condorman.” Natalia worries about Turkish agents guarding the door, but Woody assures her that he will stop them. Mostly by accident, Woody manages to defeat the thugs. He hands Natalia the papers and, impressed, she kisses him. She returns to Moscow and is surprised to find her boss, Krokov, waiting at her apartment. She tells him the CIA also sent a top agent, but when she investigated the spy she found no file for “Condorman.” Meanwhile, back in France, Woody bases his new character “Laser Lady” on Natalia. At CIA ... +


Woody Wilkins, a cartoonist and comic book writer, stands on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, dressed as his character, a spy named “Condorman.” Below, his friend, Harry, photographs Woody as he flies off the building. The wings work for a moment, but one breaks and Woody falls into the river. Later, at Harry’s apartment, Woody tries to figure out what went wrong. For authenticity, he wants to do everything Condorman does in his story and, since he plans that Condorman’s first mission is for the French government, Woody visits Harry, who is stationed in Paris as a file clerk for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The next day, Harry’s boss, Russ, announces that Harry will oversee the exchange of secret papers with Russians in Istanbul, Turkey. The Russians want the exchange to be handled by civilians and Harry picks Woody, who is excited about the mission. When Woody meets his Russian contact, Natalia, at an Istanbul restaurant, she asks if he is also a civilian and he insists he is a spy named “Condorman.” Natalia worries about Turkish agents guarding the door, but Woody assures her that he will stop them. Mostly by accident, Woody manages to defeat the thugs. He hands Natalia the papers and, impressed, she kisses him. She returns to Moscow and is surprised to find her boss, Krokov, waiting at her apartment. She tells him the CIA also sent a top agent, but when she investigated the spy she found no file for “Condorman.” Meanwhile, back in France, Woody bases his new character “Laser Lady” on Natalia. At CIA headquarters, Russ learns about Woody’s comic book character; however, the Russians still believe Condorman is real and Natalia wants him to handle her defection. Woody realizes this is his chance to actually live Condorman’s story and Harry promises that the CIA will build whatever gadgets and vehicles Woody designs. Disguised as a gypsy, Woody hikes the mountains in Yugoslavia to meet Natalia. When they are stopped by two Russian agents sent by Krokov, Woody wildly shoots his specially designed cane-gun at the men. The agents dive for cover, allowing Woody and Natalia to escape. As they drive away in a gypsy camper, Natalia admits she used to date Krokov and he will do anything to get her back. In Monte Carlo, Monaco, Krokov learns of her escape and sends his best hitman, Morovich, to retrieve her and kill Condorman. In Palovnia, Yugoslavia, Morovich and his KGB pursuit squadron speed into town just before Woody and Natalia pass through. In the ensuing car chase, Woody presses a button and they descend from the camper shell into a customized Condorman sports car, complete with special gadgets. The pursuers initially elude Woody’s weaponry, but Woody fends off everyone except Morovich. Woody drives off a pier and the car transforms into a speed boat. Krokov is furious about Woody’s escape, particularly upon learning that he is a comic book writer. Later, Natalia and Woody are arrested in a remote town in Italy. While in jail, they see a newspaper headline announcing that they killed someone in Monte Carlo. Although Krokov planted the story and his men are en route to the Italian prison, Harry, disguised as an “Italian inspector,” rescues his friends. As they leave the police station, Morovich arrives, but they hide in the crowd of a local wedding. When Morovich enters the church, Natalia interrupts the ceremony, claiming the groom is her husband, and points to Morovich, demanding that her “Uncle Luigi” force the groom home again. A church-wide brawl ensues, allowing Woody, Natalia and Harry to escape. Meanwhile, Krokov studies Woody’s comic books and realizes his next plan is to cross the Alps. There, children stare at Natalia as they clutch Woody’s “Laser Lady” comic book; Woody admits he is not actually a spy as they flirt over dinner. The next day, they climb the lower Alps to aerial tram cables where Woody’s jet ride equipment will carry them up the mountain. Harry is afraid of heights and insists on riding with Woody while Natalia rides alone. When they are halfway up the mountain, Morovich shoots Woody and Harry, and they fall off the tram. At the top, Natalia is caught by Krokov’s men and flown by helicopter past Woody and Harry, who pretend to be dead. As Woody and Harry plan to rescue Natalia, Krokov agrees to spare Natalia’s life if she reports her “defection” was an attempt to kidnap Condorman. Krokov offers to blame the failure of the mission on Morovich and kill him, but in the meantime, Natalia must be Krokov’s hostess at the next day’s meeting of oil ministers. Meanwhile, Harry and Woody receive orders to return to Paris, but they ignore the CIA to save Natalia. At a Monte Carlo casino, Woody, dressed as a rich Bedouin, is invited to the oil ministers’ party. There, Woody arrives dressed in white robes and Harry disguises himself as an Arab. After Woody finds Natalia, Harry ignites several explosions. In the resulting confusion, Harry drives off as Woody and Natalia run to the roof; Woody sheds his robe, revealing a Condorman suit beneath. Natalia holds onto him as he flies off the roof and across town to meet Harry at the docks. Krokov and Morovich watch from the villa as the trio jump into a speed boat and race off. KGB boats chase them, but Woody uses his laser gun and smoke machine to take them out. Krokov and Morovich are soon in pursuit. Woody races to rendezvous with a helicopter, which lifts their boat to safety as Morovich, ignoring Krokov’s orders, tries to ram them. Krokov dives out of the boat just before Morovich crashes into the rocks. Later, at a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, Woody and Natalia kiss as Harry points to the Goodyear blimp welcoming Natalia to the United States. Russ and his boss watch from the blimp and ponder the next mission for Condorman. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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