The Intruder Roger Corman

The Intruder Roger Corman
I have to admit that The Intruder’s reputation is a tad inflated; its expose of Southern racism is so confused, so slanted and so contradictory that it doesn’t quite make the sense it needs to. But to be fair, its no-holds-barred depiction of angry whites resisting desegregation is still shocking 45 years after the fact and could even now teach Hollywood a thing or two about how not to pull punches. A pre-Star Trek William Shatner knocks it out of the park as Adam Cramer, who drifts from town to town inciting the locals to riot against integration. He blows into one sleepy burg and manages to whip up violent hatred as usual, and although he runs afoul of virtuous newspaper editor Tom McDaniel (Frank Maxwell), the white citizenry is on Cramer’s side until his penchant for overreaching threatens his project. On the minus side, the movie is too centred on the whites, with the black characters marginalised in what should to be their story. And the script gets gummed up with its motivations, giving the impression that things would have been fine if the Northern bigot had just stayed home. Still, it’s hard to walk out of this movie thinking warm, fuzzy thoughts about Caucasians — most of the ones here are vicious racists and the few that aren’t are completely impotent. And the film does not flinch in depicting the ways in which blacks were persecuted, with a climactic lynch mob scene that still packs a wallop. Though it stops well short of a cogent critique, this film goes further than most American movies would ever dare. The only extra is a brief look back with Shatner and director Roger Corman, who took a few risks in making the movie. (Buena Vista)