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A villain chiefly known by his prison number 39013 (Charles Middleton)
has made it his mission to wreck, Granville (Miles Mander), the very man
who had him thrown into prison. Granville is an eccentric millionaire with
hands pretty much in every industry there is, so 39013 sabotages
Granville's companies one after the other ...
The Three Daredevils Gene
(Charles Quigley), Tiny (Herman Brix) and Bert (David Sharpe) perform some
circus-style stunts at the opening of one of Granville's ventures, which
is set on fire though, and this causes the death of Gene's little
brother/the trio's mascot Sammy (Robert Winkler), and now the Daredevils
want to track down 39013 to avenge their fallen friend - thus they seek
employ with Granville's company as his amateur detectives so to speak, but
are at first bruskly sent away by his second in command Dixon (Ben
Taggart). However, they make friends with Granville's granddaughter
Blanche (Carole Landis), and she sees to it that her granddad personally
hires them - which sounds easier than it is, since Granville hides behind
a glass wall since his stroke and won't let anybody but a selected few
come near him ...
However, he also has another secret: Granville is
secretly 39013 - well, not really really, but he has at one point abducted
the real Granville and incarcerated him in his own home while assuming his
role for the few who actually are allowed near him. And since he hides
behind a glass wall these days, nobody is able to examine him too closely,
not even Blanche.
At first, 39013 considers the Daredevils clueless
fools only, but once they start to sabotage his sabotages, he grows wary
and tries to somehow send them to death trap after death trap - but
somebody in his evil organisation is apparently a snitch, and in the guise
of the Red Circle, he or she tips off the Daredevils again and again. So
either it's a chemical plant, a tunnle, a electro-therapeutical clinic, an
oil pipeline or refinery or
whatnot, the Daredevils always stop the vicious plans of 39013 just short
and escape all death traps set on them, often using their acrobatic
Besides the informations from the Red Circle, the Daredevils
also receive the occasional notes from Granville directly, pinched into
old newspapers, but it takes them quite some time to find the newspaper
that tells them where he's hidden. And by then, 39013 has alread attached
him to a timebomb. But the Daredevils are no fools, and eventually they
unmask the fake Granville, save the real Granville just in time and ...
well, almost die in another of 39013's deathtraps of course - but almost
only, ultimately the villain and his cronies see themselves forced to make
a hasty getaway during which 39013 is blown to smithereens by one of his
own death devices.
But who is the Red Circle, you may ask. Well,
actually it's Blanche, who has actually found out the fake Granville is
not the real one but was forced into silence by the baddie threatening her
grandpa's life ... but the notes she wrote did not give her away as the
Daredevils of the Red Circle has pretty much
everything a great serial needs: Almost nonstop action, circus-like
stunts, over-the-top setpieces, perfectly staged and edited fight scenes,
an old dark house, secret passageways, an (over-)convoluted mystery, great
cliffhangers ... in other words, this is one very worthwhile and expertly
staged serial, and probably one of the best of its era!