November 25, 2011

Mr Movie Fiend: A Pre-Wal-Mart Black Friday

Black Friday (1940)

One of the things I'm thankful for this time of year is a paid vacation day on the Friday after Thanksgiving. However, I usually don't do my patriotic duty on Black Friday and buy, buy, buy to try to single-handedly rescue the nation's retailers, and the economy itself, from the doldrums. Instead, I sleep in late, make myself a nice hot cup of coffee, and leisurely read about all the crazy things my fellow Americans have done in the early morning hours in desperate pursuit of cheap consumer goods. I used to get a chuckle out of the crazy Black Friday news, but lately it's become sad and downright pathological. For example, the top Google news search item this morning is headlined: Police to review videotape in Wal-Mart pepper spray incident
Los Angeles police detectives hope to retrieve video surveillance evidence from a Porter Ranch Wal-Mart store by early Friday afternoon to begin trying to identify a woman who shot pepper spray at other shoppers to get a Black Friday competitive edge. … The woman apparently sought to purchase an Xbox video game console and used the spray to clear out other shoppers. About 20 customers, including children, were hurt in the Thursday night incident, which police officials called 'shopping rage.'
Yikes! My advice to this woman and bargain shoppers everywhere is to relax --  instead of camping out in front of a big box store for hours on end and then macing your fellow shoppers to get your hands on the latest electronic gadget, put your feet up, eat a leisurely breakfast, and then take in a movie. There are some pretty good family-friendly movies showing at the nearby multiplexes, from Hugo, to The Muppets, to The Descendants for a somewhat older crowd. Don't worry, they'll make more X-Boxes, and there will always be sales.

Of course, there's also home and your handy DVD player for an even more relaxing movie experience (let's just hope you didn't score that DVD player or flat screen HDTV on some other Black Friday by muscling a poor little old lady out of the way). Maybe the ultimate relaxing experience is watching a classic film from an earlier, more innocent (and less consumer-crazed) era. I suppose given the time of year I should recommend something light and festive, but then, a 1940 film titled Black Friday is just too good to pass up.

Black Friday is not light, sentimental holiday fare, but it is an interesting mix of gangsters, horror and sci-fi. It also features the last pairing of horror greats Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff at Universal Studios, although it's a disappointing one-- they never share a scene together (more on that later). The film starts out with the somber Dr. Ernest Sovac (Karloff) handing over his scientific journal to a reporter on his way to an appointment with the electric chair. As the reporter examines the journal, we see Sovac's tale unfold in flashback.

See the full post at Mr Movie Fiend.

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