Black Friday

1940

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir

3
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 2174

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 06, 2021 at 09:12 AM

Director

Cast

Raymond Bailey as Louis Devore
Paul Fix as William Kane
Bela Lugosi as Eric Marnay
Boris Karloff as Dr. Ernest Sovac
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
643.81 MB
988*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 10 min
P/S 21 / 64
1.17 GB
1472*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 10 min
P/S 18 / 90

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by evilskip 8 / 10

Karloff and Lugosi NOT together

Okay when I sat down to watch this film the other night it was with dread.All I had ever heard was how this wasn't a horror movie and it was a cheat because Lugosi & Karloff didn't have any scenes together.

Guess what?It was a darn fine movie.This falls more into a gangster/mad scientist type of genre but is a lot of fun just the same. Stanley Ridges actually steals the movie with his performance as the teacher/gangster.Karloff is his usual wonderful self.Lugosi does a great job in the allegedly thankless role of Varney the gangster.

Rather than go into the details of this little gem why don't you see if you can find a copy of it and watch it.

Reviewed by jluis1984 7 / 10

Gangsters enter the horror genre...

The figure of the gangster in fiction has always been a very popular and fascinating image since the hardboiled crime fiction of the late 20s made the gangster a new model of antihero for the modern times. Through the decade of the 30s, gangster films and crime melodramas would become very popular among the audiences, culminating in the development of the Film Noir, the highly stylish kind of crime films that reigned supreme during the 40s and the 50s. Considering the popularity of gangsters in movies, it wasn't a surprise that soon they became used as characters in a wide array of stories, and horror films weren't an exception. Among the films that successfully mixed horror with crime melodrama, 1940's "Black Friday" was definitely one of the best. An often forgotten movie that had in his cast two of the most important figures in the horror genre: Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

"Black Friday" begins on a Friday 13, with Professor George Kinglsey (Stanley Ridges) giving his last class of English literature at the University of his town as he has been offered a position in a different school. However, on is way to the train station, Kinglsey is ran over by a car, putting his life in serious danger. In a last attempt to save Kingsley's life, his good friend Dr. Ernest Sovac (Boris Karloff) performs an illegal operation: Sovac implants parts of another man's brain into the professor's. Fortunately, the experiment is successful and Kingsley begins to recover his health quickly. However, something has changed in his good nature, and soon Sovac discovers that the personality of the man he used to save his friends can take control of the professor's body. And the problem is that the man was Red Cannon, a notorious gangster who now wants revenge.

With a screenplay written by Eric Taylor and Curt Siodmak, "Black Friday" is essentially a modern reinterpretation of R.L. Stevenson's classic horror novel "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" with gangster Red Cannon acting as the movie's Mr. Hyde. Like Stevenson's story, "Black Friday" is an interesting character study about human morality; however, while the professor's split personalities do represent two extreme sides of the human nature, the real drama is on Karloff's character, Dr. Sovac, who is at a crossroads between his willingness to help his friend and his desire to use him to prove that his theories about the brain are correct. While it is not on the level of Siodmak's posterior work (his immortal "The Wolf Man" for example), he and Taylor make a great job in creating an interesting story and developing remarkably their main characters.

A seasoned director of low-budget crime melodramas, Arthur Lubin makes a very effective work at the helm of "Black Friday", and manages to give the film the exact kind of atmosphere that made gangster films very popular in those years. The great work of cinematography done by his regular collaborator Elwood Bredell plays an important role in this, and in many ways one could say that "Black Friday" is one of the direct precursors of the Film Noir style. Despite the low-budget, "Black Friday" has that very polished and elegant look that movies produced by Universal in those years had, although this film lacks the ominous Gothic atmosphere of the classic 30s horror movies, as it relies more on its characters than in visual style. As usual, Lubin's directing of his cast is remarkable, and he manages to bring the best out of his actors, specially of Stanley Ridges.

While acting alongside legendary icons such as Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, it's hard to avoid being overshadowed, however, Stanley Ridges not only manages to do that, he also achieves to deliver the best performance in the whole film. In his dual role, Kingsley is simply amazing, going from the good hearted Kingsley to the sociopath Cannon with remarkable ease, making the two characters look as if they were played by two actors. Even though Ridges steals the film, Karloff is still great as Sovac, which is a slightly more complex variation of his trademark "Mad Scientist" character. Bela Lugosi is also wonderful as Cannon's rival Eric Marnay, although sadly his role is extremely small despite having top billing. Finally, Anne Nagel is very effective as Sunny Rogers, the classic femme fatal of the movie.

With excellent performances by an effective cast, as well as solid directing by Lubin, "Black Friday" is a very good movie for its time and an example of the kind of horror movies that would dominate the decade. However, in all fairness this movie is not exactly a masterpiece as a small yet important problem that prevents it from reaching its true potential. The main problem is the serious miscasting of both Karloff and Lugosi, who really seem to be in the wrong role. Don't get me wrong, both make a great job in their characters (Lugosi has a couple of amazing scenes), but it's difficult not to think that Lugosi is playing Karloff's character and vice-versa (apparently, Karloff was supposed to play Ridges' character). Another detail is that those expecting the classic Gothic style of Universal's horror films will be sorely disappointed.

In many ways it could be said that "Black Friday" represents the ending of an era for the horror genre, and the beginning of another. Karloff and Lugosi, the ones who started the Golden Age of Gothic horror in the 30s, appear here in a movie that forecasts the moody noir-influenced horrors of the 40s. While different to the rest, "Black Friday" is still an excellent horror and a chance to see Stanley Ridges in his best role overshadowing two icons. 7/10

Reviewed by lugonian 5 / 10

The Man With Two Brains

BLACK Friday (Universal, 1940), directed by Arthur Lubin, stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi together for the fifth time. In this mix of science fixture and gangster melodrama, they share no scenes together, resulting to a Karloff showcase, with Stanley Ridges giving a memorable performance in a role originally intended for Karloff in the role originally intended for Lugosi. More about that later.

The story begins in prison with Doctor Ernest Sovak (Boris Karloff) walking his last mile to the electric chair (on a Friday the 13th) for the murder of his closest and dearest friend, Professor George Kingsley. Before he is to meet with his destiny, Sovak stops for a moment to give his diary to a young newspaper reporter (James Craig) so that he can die leaving the world "the benefit of his scientific knowledge." As the reporter opens the doctor's diary, the scene shifts to an extended flashback where Sovak (offscreen) narrates the events that had lead him to his present state with the camera focusing from time to time on the his written passages written under the calendar date: George Kingsley is a kindly middle-aged but somewhat absent-minded college professor of English literature. He dismisses his class and enters the automobile driven by his friend, Ernest Slovak, along with his wife, Margaret (Virginia Brissac), and Slovak's daughter, Jean (Anne Gwynne). Stepping out of the automobile, Kingsley observes the sound of gunshots before two automobiles approach his way. One runs him down while the other, driven by gangsters headed by Eric Marnay (Bela Lugosi), head down another direction, fulfilling their mission by doing away with "Red" Cannon, a rival mobster, now belonging to "the history of crime." Placed in an ambulance along with Red Cannon, who will live only with a spine fracture, Sovak accompanies Kingsley, suffering from a near death concussion, to the hospital. Learning that the gangster Cannon has left behind $500,000 in stolen money, Sovak, in order to save his friend, decides to test his theory of "brain transplantation." He goes through with the operation by placing the gangster's brain into Kingsley's, logging every detail in is diary. Kingsley survives the operation, but goes through the split personality of becoming Cannon, avenging the men who tried to do him in, and resorting back to Kingsley. Several deaths result and the money is found. As Kingsley returns to his classes, the gentle professor cannot control his inner self whenever he hears police sirens, causing him to become the cold-blooded killer Cannon, out to get Sovak, his next-in-line victim.

The supporting cast features Anne Nagel as Sunny Rogers , a night club singer and Red Cannon's girl; Paul Fix as William Kane; Edmund MacDonald as Frank Miller; John Kelly as the gabby taxi driver; with Murray Alper and Joseph King, among others.

BLACK Friday is an interesting film of character study that proves to be a disappointment at times, mainly due to having Karloff and Lugosi working apart instead of as a team. According to Bob Dorian, former host of American Movie Classics, in his 1989-90 profile on BLACK Friday (originally titled "Friday the 13th"), mentions that the original script had Lugosi playing Sovak and Karloff as Professor Kingsley. While Karloff's kindly professor was believable, he wasn't convincing as the gangster. The doctor part went to Karloff, Ridges played the professor and Lugosi, already signed to appear, was reduced to play one of the mobsters. While Lugosi's role is limited, in fact, miscast, he is given one harrowing scene hiding inside the closet, only to be locked in by Cannon after discovering his whereabouts. Cannon places a refrigerator outside the door where the victim (who tried to rub him out) suffocates to death. Marnay's (Lugosi) constant pounding and bitter cry of "Let me out!" remains in memory long after the scene is over. An Academy Award nomination for Lugosi? I don't think so.

BLACK Friday did become part of the Universal Horror film horror collection on home video and later DVD through MCA Home Video. It's cable TV broadcast history consisted that of the Sci-Fi Channel (late 1980s) and American Movie Classics (1989-90, 2000-02). If the underscoring in the closing cast credits sound familiar, it was lifted from Karloff and Lugosi's previous collaboration of SON OF FRANKENSTEIN. That score would be used again in other Universal products through much of the early 1940s.

Although Stanley Ridges worked in numerous films over the years, this was one of the few times in which he had a leading role or two. Ridges does a good job here, probably better than anyone realizes. No doubt that BLACK Friday would have drifted to obscurity had it not been for the top names of Karloff and Lugosi heading the cast. In the tradition of many 1940s films, telling its story via flashback, BLACK FRDAY is certainly one not to be taken very seriously. (**)

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