I knew about both before I rented the movie. But I was stunned to see the opening chase scene take place not on a cold Philadelphia street, as in the book, but in front of one of Montreal's
This was no case of Montreal filling in for New York or Chicago, either. Characters make several references to Montreal, and the camera lingers at least once on a sign for the real University Street. The cash strewn around throughout the movie looks American, though. Maybe the gang's hideout is just over the border in Vermont, or perhaps they popped down to the States for a bit of shopping in Plattsburgh.
The movie, like the book, lays bare Goodis' yearning for family, and it features a number of fine performances, notably by Robert Ryan as Charley, the gang's leader and father figure. (The Wikipedia article on Ryan omits the movie. This only adds to the small errors and omissions I have found in Wikipedia's articles on movies. Use Wikipedia at your peril!)
(The screenplay is by the French crime novelist Sébastien Japrisot, whose novels include A Very Long Engagement. You may know that book from its adaptation into a movie starring the adorable Audrey Tautou, whose last name is probably one of the more often misspelled in moviedom. )
Read an appreciation of Black Friday. Read Vincent Canby's highly unappreciative review of the movie from the New York Times.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011