The Story of El Condor

I put together this short video about one of my favorite film sets in Almería, which appears in “Once Upon a Time in Almeria: The Legacy of Hollywood in Spain” (Daylight Books 2017).

One of the most intriguing locations in Almería is the site of an elaborate fortress originally constructed in 1969 for the film El Condor. Adobe houses, horse stables, an elevated water tank, and a luxurious two story stone house surrounded a central plaza the size of a soccer field. The entire complex was circled by 30 foot walls with a network of watchtowers and stairways. The fort is situated against a steep hillside, with the towers above offering a sweeping view over the surrounding landscape.

The site was reused over the years for a variety of films, usually involving lots of dynamite. Titles include Blindman (1971) —with Ringo Starr as a love-struck Mexican thief—A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die (1972), Get Mean (1975), Conan the Barbarian, and Dollar for the Dead (1998)—a Sergio Leone tribute starring Emilio Estevez.

The painted signs that appear—‘Pension Coyote’—are leftovers from the making of Italian film Honolulu Baby (2000), set in a nameless South American town populated entirely by beautiful women. The ‘Pension Coyote’ originally served as the General’s house in El Condor, from where actress Marianna Hill strategically undressed in front of a second-floor window to distract the fortress guards, while Jim Brown and Lee Van Cleef quietly climbed the fortress walls. The crumbling fort sits on private land, accessible only by hiking from a nearby access road.

Music by Lobo Loco “Waiting Alone in the Dust

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Michael Turner
1 year ago

I was there in 1982 and on 30 April 2023. Even less remains than shown on this excellent video. One may say it was a pile of rubbish that needed to be removed. It was a sad yet interesting visit that will appear on my Michael Turner Youtube Channel.