Black Friday
Universal Pictures

Directed by Arthur Lubin
Written by Kurt Siodmak & Eric Taylor
A Burt Kelly Production

Released March 13, 1940

     Boris Karloff is a researching brain specialist.  When his close friend, Stanley Ridges, is seriously injured in a gangster battle, Karloff performs brain transplantation from the dying gangster to his friend, Ridges.  After latter recovers, Karloff finds that the dead gangster had a fortune hidden in New York and sets out to revive spark of the gangster's brain to discover the whereabouts of the cache for his own use.
 
   
  Karloff finds he can change Ridges from gangster to professor with ease, and the transition swings back and forth between the two characters until Karloff secures the money.  But he is forced to kill the dual personality to save his daughter's life when she is attacked by the gangster.

Anne Gwynne
gives a solid performance as imperiled damsel.  Bela Lugosi is seen briefly as gang leader.  Karloff plays the scientist straight, but gains little audience sympathy with his mercenary attitude combined with
his drive for the new scientific discovery. 

Main acting honors go to Stanley Ridges who excels handling tough assignment in the dual role of meek professor and tough gangster.

 

Full Storyline

As Dr. Ernest Sovac is ushered to the electric chair to die for the murder of his friend, Professor George Kingsley, he passes his diary to a waiting reporter, who reads the story of his crime: On Friday the 13th, Kingsley is run over by a car driven by hardened criminal Red Cannon. The professor suffers a severe concussion, and to save his life, Sovac transplants brain cells from the dying Cannon into Kingsley's skull.

As Kingsley recovers, his wife Margaret discovers that her formerly timid husband now flies into murderous rages. Reading that Cannon hid half a million dollars in stolen money, Sovac decides to take his old friend to the gangster's haunts in New York, in hopes of jarring Cannon's memory and recovering the money so that he can build a hospital. Sovac's plan works as Cannon's brain and personality take over Kingsley's body and he undertakes a vendetta against former gang members Louis Devore, William Kane, Frank Miller and Eric Marnay.

On the night after murdering Devore, Kingsley switches back and forth between his own and Cannon's persona but although Sovac realizes that he can no longer control his patient, he continues his experiment. After Canon influences him to murder Kane, Kingsley is wounded by the police and returns to the hotel to find his wife and Sovac's daughter Jean (Anne Gwynne) awaiting him. Discovering the truth about her father's experiment, Jean demands that they all return home to Newcastle together.

That night, Kingsley retrieves Canon's money and, after killing Miller and Marnay, murders Sunny Rogers, Canon's old girl friend. The Kingsleys and the Sovacs return to Newcastle, where Kingsley peaceably resumes his teaching chores until the sound of a siren changes him back to Cannon. Going to the Sovac house, he attacks Jean, forcing Sovac to kill his friend to save his daughter. As the reporter finishes reading Sovac's diary, the doctor meets his death in the electric chair.

Cast:

Boris Karloff

Anne Gwynne ... Jean Sovac 

Stanley Ridges

Bela Lugosi

Virginia Brissac

Anne Nagel

Paul Fix

Edmund MacDonald

Production:

Kurt Siodmark & Eric Taylor- Writers 

Arthur Lubin- Director 

Vera West- Costume Designer 

Hans J. Salter- Composer 

Jack Otterson- Production Designer 

Burt Kelly- Producer 

Russell A. Gausman- Set Designer 

Philip Cahn- Editor 

Woody Bredell- Cinematographer


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