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Der Rote Kreis / Den Blodrøde Cirkel

The Red Circle

Denmark/West Germany 1960
produced by
Preben Philipsen for Rialto Film
directed by Jürgen Roland
starring Renate Ewert, Klausjürgen Wussow, Karl-Georg Saebisch, Thomas Alder, Ernst Fritz Fürbringer, Erica Beer, Fritz Rasp, Eddi Arent, Edith Mill, Ulrich Beiger, Richard Lauffen, Heinz Klevenow, Alfred Schlageter, Panos Papadopulos, Albert Watson
screenplay by Egon Eis (as Trygve Larsen), Wolfgang Menge, based on The Crimson Circle by Edgar Wallace, music by Willy Mattes

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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An extortionist & unscrupulous murderer, calling himself the Red Circle, is loose in England, invariably targeting rich people for far-fetched blackmailing schemes, & killing them in cold blood should they call the police. But one of his victims, Sir Beardmore (Alfred Schlageter), a stubborn old man, refuses to pay & hires famed private detective Derek Yale (Klausjürgen Wussow) to protect him. However, Scotland Yad somehow gets wind of Yale's employment, & unconventional inspector Parr (Karl-Georg Saebisch) invites himself to guard Beardmore as well ... with a small army of police officers.

Needless to say, Beardmore is killed novertheless, by bow & arrow, & pretty much everybody who has been only in the slightest suspicious beforehands, has been seen at the scene of the crime: Beardmore's nephew Jack (Thomas Alder), the sole heir & master bow-&-arrow marksman, his girlfriend (& notorious thief) Thalia (Renate Ewert), shady French businessman Marle (Richard Lauffen), who is desperate to buy one of Beardmore's warehouses, ... none of them can however been proven guilty - yet.

Next on the Red Circle's blackmailing list are Beartmore's neighbour, the rich & greedy Froyant (Fritz Rasp) - incidently the employer of Thalia, who fires her though upon finding out she's a thief - & the banker Brabazon (Heinz Klevenow) - who employs Thalia, who has since hooked up with the Red Circle & who is to control Brabazon from within.

Brabazon soon steals all the money from his own bank to comply with the Red Circle's demands & is made his prisoner for that (which doesn't make toomuch sense anymore), & Thalia, who has taken some of the bank's money for herself, is caught by Parr & Yale with the stolen money ... & immediately employed by Yale (which makes even less sense).

Soon Froyant's blackmail money is to be handed over at Yale's office, & despite it being heavily guarded by the police, a thief has somehow sneaked into the office & managed to overcome Yale & steal his money.

Soon the list of suspect grows longer & longer, with financial counsellor Osborne (Ulrich Beiger), who has tried his hands at kidnapping, Froyant, who has stolen the files of a prime suspect from the French police, & even poice inspector Hackett (Eddi Arent), who is doing quite a bit of out-of-the-order work on his own, among them, but in the end the Red Circle turns out to be ... private detective Yale himself, who had escaped the French hangmen 15 years ago. but now he was too clever for his own good - & he probably won't escape the British hangman.

& to tie a few loose ends up, Thalia turns out to be not a thief at all, but inspector Parr's own daughter, who has been working undercover to catch the Red Circle, & now it is all over, she will look into a brighter future with Jack Berdmore ... (why she was always caught stealing stuff remains unexplained though.)


While the first of the Rialto-Edgar Wallace adaptations, Der Frosch mit der Maske at least made modest attempts to be (moderately) original, Der Rote Kreis, the second movie of the cycle, steeped kneedeep in (1930's) pulp fiction-motives, with hooded villains, killings by an array of then-favourite weapons like bow-&-arrow, poison, ..., more eccentric characters than you can shake your stick at, over-complicated blackmail schemes, impossible-to-pull heists, & both victims & suspects falling out of the cupboards (almost literally) ... & this more or less set the tone for the remaindeer of the series.

This all of course made Rialto's Edgar Wallace-series not the most original in movie history ... but at the same time gives it an old-fashioned charm that is hard to ignore.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD