52 user 43 critic

Black Friday (1940)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 12 April 1940 (USA)
Dr. Sovac transplants the brain of a gangster into his professor friend's body to save his life, but there is a side effect that causes a dangerous split personality.


Arthur Lubin


Curt Siodmak (screenplay) (as Kurt Siodmak), Eric Taylor (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Dr. Ernest Sovac
Bela Lugosi ... Eric Marnay
Stanley Ridges ... Prof. George Kingsley / Red Cannon
Anne Nagel ... Sunny Rogers
Anne Gwynne ... Jean Sovac
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Margaret Kingsley
Edmund MacDonald ... Frank Miller
Paul Fix ... William Kane
Murray Alper ... Bellhop
Jack Mulhall ... Bartender
Joe King ... Chief of Police
John Kelly ... Taxi Driver
Robert Morgan Robert Morgan ... Hotel Associate


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 <revchuck@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Reign Of HORROR... a man-made monster on the loose!


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Under the original script title of Friday The Thirtheenth, Bela Lugosi was to play Dr. Ernest Sovac and Karloff was Prof. George Kingsley, with Red Cannon featured as a hoodlum. Unfortunately, drastic changes were made that scriptwriter Curt Siodmak would later reveal were insisted on by Karloff as "He was afraid of it. There was too much acting in it. It was too intricate." After the reshuffle , Karloff unjustly appropriated Bela's role and, incomprehensibly as to why Bela wasn't given the part of Prof. Kingsley, Bela Lugosi was left with a minor role as rival gangster Eric Marnay. See more »


Professor Kingsley is seen to scream and throw up his hands before the car is doing anything more than moving forward and is not headed in his direction. See more »


Dr. Ernest Sovac: Evidently my friend has gone out.
See more »


Featured in Svengoolie: Black Friday (2014) See more »

User Reviews

A better film that the marketing...
30 December 2012 | by JoeB131See all my reviews

if you found this film in your "Bela Lugosi Collection" or some other feature with Karloff and Lugosi, you will probably be disappointed the two horror stars were minor players.

This movie is really about the Stanley Ridges character of a College professor who finds part of the brain of a gangster implanted in his head. You have some very nice transformational scenes where the actor changes personality by merely changing his hairstyle and mannerisms.

It is said Karloff was supposed to play the professor/gangster, and Lugosi the doctor, but they changed casting at the last minute when Karloff balked at what he thought would be too complicated a role. Ridges pulls it off perfectly. And sadly, the guy is probably not remembered for much of anything else.

Ruthless gangster by night, meek college professor by day.

Really a B-movie, but fun to watch.

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Release Date:

12 April 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Friday the Thirteenth See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$125,750 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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