The 57th of Republic's 66 serials is filled with stock footage from some of that company's previous "Zorro" serials, primarily 1944's "Zorro's Black Whip", so a lot of the footage finds Ken... See full summary »
The 57th of Republic's 66 serials is filled with stock footage from some of that company's previous "Zorro" serials, primarily 1944's "Zorro's Black Whip", so a lot of the footage finds Ken Curtis wearing the same costume as Linda Stirling and (mostly) her double Babe DeFreest wore in that serial. Disney now owned the rights to the Zorro character, but Republic wasn't about to let all that footage go to waste when all they had to do was create a character called Don Daredevil. Those who express surprise at finding TV's "Festus" as the lead in a serial evidently are looking at the career of Ken Curtis from the back end rather than from the beginning aspect of his career. The serial has political boss Douglas Stratton finding that an old Spanish Land Grant made to Ricardo Moreno and later sold to Patrick Doyle to be a forgery, and he tries to cash in by having his men attempt to stake out mineral claims and homesteads on the ranches now part of the original grant. The plot is resisted ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Chapter Titles: 1. Return of the Don 2. Double Death 3. Hidden Danger 4. Retreat to Destruction 5. Cold Steel 6. Flaming Juggernaut 7. Claim Jumper 8. Perilous Combat 9. Hostage of Destiny 10.Marked For Murder 11.Captive Witness 12.Flames of Vengeance See more »
"Don Daredevil Rides Again" will not go down in history as one of the great Republic serials. It's another variation of the time worn Zorro legend where the hero gets to dress up in that black costume, wear a mask and ride a black horse from under that ever present waterfall.
Following WWII with the onset of television and rising costs, the quality of the serials produced, particularly in the 1950s, suffered. This one in fact borrows heavily from Republic's 1944 serial, "Zorro's Black Whip"using extensive footage from that film, so much so that many of the characters are dressed in costumes to match the actors in the earlier film. It also employs many of the chapter ending cliff hangers from the earlier serial. I don't know in how many times I've seen that wagon going over that same cliff in Republic serials. The gangs also shrank from "a cast of thousands" in the 1930s to a boss and a couple of hench men as in this film.
In "Zorro's Black Whip", the Zorro character was a woman so the hero, who wears the same costume, had to be slight of build. So enter Ken Curtis.
The story concerns villain Stratton (Roy Barcroft) discovering a phony Spanish land grant which renders all of the local ranch titles void. So he and his hench men Webber (Lane Bradford) and Hagen (John Cason) begin registering claims on all of the ranches. One of the ranches belongs to Patricia Doyle (Aline Towne) whose grandfather had rode as the Zorro like Don Daredevil to thwart evil in the past.
Into the picture rides Doyle's cousin Lee Hadley (Curtis) who takes up the cause against Stratton. He decides to take on the role of the masked avenger in order to remain anonymous as he fights to defeat the bad guys. Naturally the real land grant turns up and changes hands back and forth before good old Don Daredevil prevails.
The acting, particularly on the side of right is awful. Ken Curtis (who would gain notoriety as "Festus Hagen" in TV's "Gunsmoke) is wooden and down right boring as is Robert Einer as Gary Taylor a neighboring rancher. Towne has little to do except stand in for Linda Stirling (the star of "Zorro's Black Whip"). Reliable Hank Patterson holds up his end as Buck, the reach foreman. Also Barcroft, Bradford and Cason make formidable bad guys.
As a little bit of useless trivia, Lane Bradford's father John Merton played the Cason role in the earlier film.
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