I have to admit that my taste in films hasn’t really progressed that much from when I was a boy. Show me a film with an alien, a spaceship or a superhero and I’m hooked. Todays post is a film about one of the latter, a superhero. Well, a superhero of sorts anyway.
Condorman was a Walt Disney film release from 1981, which starred Michael Crawford (yes, the hapless Frank Spencer from the seventies sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em) as Woodrow Wilkins. When I first watched the film I half expected him to still have the slightly effeminate sounding voice, so was shocked to hear Frank Spencer talking with an American accent!
Woodrow, or Woody for short, is a comic book writer, but he works to a set of principals which mean he doesn’t include anything in any of his stories that couldn’t happen in the real world. Hence this is why the film opens with Woody plunging into the River Seine in Paris whilst attempting to fly with a gigantic set of wings strapped to his back.
Woody is in Paris visiting his friend Harry, who works for the CIA. Harry is ordered to find a US citizen to perform a document swap in Istanbul, and Woody is only to pleased to help out his friend. However, when he arrives in Istanbul the Russian citizen he is supposed to be swapping papers with turns out to be a Russian spy called Natalia.
Things turn sour and the pair are attacked, but Woody manages to fend off the attackers (through sheer luck) and then pretends to Natalia that he is in fact a US secret agent codenamed Condorman.
All would be well then, if it wasn’t for the fact that Natalia then decides to defect to the west, and asks for Condorman directly to be the US agent who will assist her in doing so. The CIA approach Woody for his help, but he only agrees to do so if they will supply him with a range of gadgets that he has designed for his comic books.
Condorman is finally truly born then, and sets off with a flashy yellow sports car, the aforementioned wings from the start of the film and a whole range of gadgets that would make both Q and James Bond sit up and take notice.
I suppose really Condorman is actually more of a spy film, but given that the hero ends up donning a superhero style bird suit, I think it does also qualify as a superhero film too.
The film was panned by the critics at time of release, and it didn’t do that well at the cinema box offices either, but I still have a soft spot for it, although this is still purely based on my memories of watching it as a kid. That said, the film did get a DVD release in the last couple of years as it seems to have developed a bit of a cult following, so it looks like I’m not the only one to have enjoyed it!