BLACK FRIDAY (1940)
Article #499 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-27-2002
Posting Date: 12-20-2002
In order to save the life of his friend, a doctor transplants part of the brain of a gangster into his head, then becomes obsesses with getting in touch with the gangster part of his personality to find some stolen money.
Karloff was originally intended for the Stanley Ridges role, with Lugosi in the role of the doctor; however, Karloff wanted the role of the doctor and got it, and since the producers didn’t feel Lugosi was up to the Stanley Ridges role, he was given a minor role as a gangster, and Stanley Ridges took the role of the English professor/gangster. I wouldn’t be surprised if this incident hadn’t fueled somewhat Lugosi’s resentment of Karloff, and one wonders what the movie would have been like if the casting had gone in the original direction. As it is, it’s one of the lesser of the Karloff/Lugosi collaborations. Karloff and Ridges do very well indeed, but Lugosi isn’t really given much to do at all. It’s not a bad movie, by any means; it’s just rather ordinary, more in line with Karloff’s Mad Doctor movies at Columbia than with the earlier triumphs at Universal.