El Condor - Water Tower

The crew of Special FX Supervisor Kit West was involved from the beginning in the construction 
of the desert fortress 'El Condor'. 
Best conditions to prepare the Special Effects in secret, invisible to the cinema audience.
One of these Special Effects is the collapsing water tower.
It looks so easy in the movie, but requires a meticulous planning.
Many people have worked on this relatively short scene.
We want to know more and look behind the scenes of special effects.

Luke (Jim Brown) throws an explosive charge to bring down the water tower.
Without water in the desert, 'El Condor' is lost, and easy to take.

A pretty massive wooden tower filled with water. 
Of course not completely, but still with a good amount of water! 
So, the 'Torre del Agua' has a proper size and weight! 
The Tower needs a solid foundation. Here we see the construction crew at work (sheeting).
The boys build a concrete base for the tower.
You can very well see the difference to the construction in the background (Wall of 'El Condor').
The Wall is built fairly quickly with prefabricated components (modular system).
Almost the entire fort was built in this manner.
The whole base is made by hand, the concrete is mixed on location.
Even if the 'El Condor' will be once disappeared, the concrete base is for eternity!
The 'El Condor' ruin 2005 - The concrete base of the 'Torre del Agua'.
The base is finished. Now the boys of the SP/FX crew are required.
In the middle of the photo are Peter Dawson (left) and Antonio Bueno 'Puccini' (right) preparing
a special construction of iron beams.
The others are guys of the construction crew (locals of Almeria?).
Am I wrong, or is there SP/FX written in the fresh concrete?
Rear left someone welded the iron beams together.
Guys, what are you building there?
In the background, the walls are already plastered.
Aha, the pivot in the center is a real driving axle (truck) ... to make the collapse manageable. 
The actual tower will be on top of the iron structure. 
Antonio Bueno and Peter Dawson virtually hold the 'foot' of the tower in their hands. 
Who are the other guy
An iron 'foot' is mounted on both sides.
What follows will be a substructure of iron beams and finally the wooden water tower.
So the wooden construction of the tower will be connected with these feet.
In the background, other walls are plastered.
The 'SP/FX' construction is almost finished. But how does it work?
Kit West: "The water tower had to fall on exactly the correct spot (to protect actors in 
the scene) so we built a 'rocker' into the side of the fort. 
We used a large lorry axel as the pivot. 
A platform was constructed on top of the axel, on to which the tower and 
water tank was positioned.
The front of the platform was heldup from tipping forward by thick wooden posts and the back 
was supported by large water rams.
The wooded posts were wrapped with explosives (HE Detonating cord) 
and the effects explosion (black powder, magnesium flash powder, and napthelene) was 
positioned at the base of the tower. 
On Action, the charges were set off, at the same time the pumps 
feeding the water rams were activated, pushing up from the back.
Hence, the 'controlled tower falling'."
Okay guys, lunch break!
Spanish fx artist 'Puccini' leads the group ... to the 'bocadillo bus'. 
'Torre del Agua' crew - 'El Condor', 1969.
Around the Special FX Construction an enormous Film Set is created. 
And all this in a relatively short time! See more here: Fortress El Condor.
You can see the massive concrete platform on which the water tower will be built later.
A thick water hose leading upwards to the water rams of the FX construction.
Strong water pumps were feeding the water rams to lift up the tower!
Special Effects Supervisor Kit West ready for a bocadillo.
Jack Wallis (SP/FX) jumps out of the 'magic mobile' (the Mobile Workshop Car) and
starts running ...it's lunch break ...SIESTA!
The 'Torre del Agua' FX - Just a few seconds in the movie, but several days of work for the
construction and special effects crew.
'El Condor' movie scenes - The water tower collapses.
The wagon stands there to absorb the impact a bit (straw bags).
What a construction, what a hassle. In the finished film we see nothing of it. 
The effect looks so playful easy in the finished movie, but 
I'm sure you can now imagine how much work actually stands behind such an effect. 
An outstanding job of the SP/FX Crew!
Kit: "A certain amount of cow milk was added to the water, to enhance the 'splash' effect!"
The water basin is destroyed, but the massive wooden structure is still intact.
Not for long...
'El Condor', 1969.
In the foreground we can see the remains of the water tower. Completely destroyed!
In the background the next scene is already shot.
Smoke and dust clouds are drifting through the Fort.