In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »
Rowland V. Lee
When his friend Professor Kingsley is at deaths door, brain surgeon Dr. Sovac saves his life by means of an illegal operation that transplants part of injured gangster Red Cannon's brain. Unfortunately, the operation has a disastrous Jeckll and Hyde side effect and under certain conditions the persona of Cannon emerges. Sovac soon learns of the duel personality and of half a million dollars the gangster has hidden away. He attempts to find the money through the manipulation of his friend, an attempt that brings Kingsley closer to madness as he alternates between a meek professor of English and a brutal gangster out for murderous revenge on those who tried to kill him. Written by
Carlos Valverde <email@example.com>
Bela Lugosi was originally cast as Dr. Sovac and Boris Karloff as Kingsley/Cannon, but Karloff's interpretation of the gangster was unconvincing and he was replaced by Stanley Ridges. Karloff instead got the role as Dr. Sovac and Lugosi got a minor role, although his second billing remained. (Bojarski, "The Films of Bela Lugosi", 1980) See more »
There are so few films in which either Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi are in where they do not steal each and every scene, but Black Friday is indeed one such film. Character actor Stanley Ridges delivers the performance of his career as a dottering English literature professor that has the brain cells from a gangster implanted into his brain in order to save his life. Dr. Slovac, deliciously played by Karloff, performs the necessary surgery and soon puts his friend's life in peril as he tries to force him to relive memories in order to find five hundred thousand dollars. Ridges basically flows from one personality to another. The transformation is incredible as he looks and speaks and moves like a completely different actor in every way. He certainly deserved some recognition for this acting feat. The story has the feel of a gangster film mixed with supernatural elements. Lugosi has a small(and I would argue thankless) role as a gangster. He has little to do with his role and does little with it. The cast is fine overall with a surprisingly good performance from the lovely Anne Nagel as the former gangster's moll. Fine Universal production values, intriguing writing by Curt Siodmak, and the performance of a lifetime from Ridges make this film a cinematic treat. Just for added measure are a couple of guys named...Karloff and Lugosi. Too bad they do not share a scene in the film!
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