Roger Corman, the king of underground movies and exploitative cinema, directed and produced The Intruder, which was released theatrically in 1962. Despite some of the best critical reviews of Corman's career, the film did not find success at the box office because of the theme, but even by today's standards The Intruder remains powerful.
William Shatner delivers a riveting performance as Adam Cramer, who travels from Washington to a small southern town under the guise of a social worker from the Patrick Henry Society. He seems like the perfect gentlemen, but Cramer came to stop the court-ordered desegregation in schools by preaching his hatred to the locals. He ignites an angry mob, but soon discovers their rage might be too much for him to control.
The Intruder Main Cast List
... Adam Cramer
... Tom McDaniel
... Ella McDaniel
... Verne Shipman
... Sam Griffin
... Mr. Paton
... Ruth McDaniel
... Mrs. Lambert
... Vi Griffin
When considering a film that was directed by Roger Corman and starred William Shatner, one's first thought is that it possibly has the perfect pairing of B-quality filmmaking and overacting. However, The Intruder is actually far from either. Roger Corman wanted to do something serious and this was it. He chose William Shatner, who in 1962 was a seasoned stage actor, but fresh Hollywood face who had not yet been cast as Captain Kirk. The result is a film that still stands up well even today.
It's said that The Intruder was the only film that Roger Corman made that lost money, although Corman himself admits that thanks to several re-releases, the film is now profitable. However, it's not at all surprising that the film was not initially profitable, since the topic of racism and integration would have been one of the last things that moviegoers would want to see in the theatre. Even today, the film is hard to watch because the bigotry so unflinchingly portrayed in the film still exists today.
The film revolves around Shatner's character and Shatner carries the film well. Only toward the end of the film when cracks appear in the character of Adam Cramer does Shatner exhibit some of the acting (or over-acting) that is all too familiar. Otherwise, he is spot-on and subtle. The film does gloss over Cramer's personal motivation for undermining integration, but otherwise is fairly well written by Charles Beaumont (The Twilight Zone), who adapted the screenplay from his own novel.
We were pleasantly surprised by the film, considering its pedigree. The film is tough to watch even forty-five years later, but not because it's so bad a film, but rather because it's subject matter still resonates. Corman proved that he could do a "serious" film, while it's actually nice to see Shatner acting in something where he's not overacting and chewing the scenery in every on-screen appearance. We recommend that this film is worth watching.... as long as one as the stomach for its harsh depictions of racist attitudes.
The special edition DVD's only extra is a featurette with comments from Roger Corman and William Shatner about the film. It clocks in at less than ten minutes, so though it delivers some insights, it is far from a comprehensive piece.
The Intruder DVD Extras:
- "Remembering The Intruder: Featurette with Roger Corman and William Shatner
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
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