Combustible Celluloid
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With: William Shatner, Frank Maxwell, Beverly Lunsford, Robert Emhardt, Leo Gordon, Charles Barnes, Charles Beaumont, Katherine Smith, George Clayton Johnson, William F. Nolan, Phoebe Rowe, Bo Dodd, Walter Kurtz, Oceo Ritch, Jeanne Cooper
Written by: Charles Beaumont, based on his novel
Directed by: Roger Corman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, language, some violence and sensuality
Running Time: 84
Date: 05/14/1962

The Intruder (1961)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Integration Nation

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For years I had heard about this movie, directed by Roger Corman and starring William Shatner. I looked everywhere for it. I intended to have a hoot watching it. Imagine, a bad "B" movie with another bad over-the-top Shatner performance, directed by the king of the "B's" himself! (I had already watched several Shatner movies with friends, Kingdom of the Spiders, White Comanche, and The Devil's Rain, and had great laughs.)

One day, I got a tip that a local video store had the movie in stock. They had copied a PAL tape from England, where the movie was called I Hate Your Guts!. I brought it home, taped it for myself and watched it.

My first reaction was that it was not funny. Rather, it was intense and too serious. My second reaction was that this movie was just darn good. Shatner gives a very scary performance (this was pre-"Star Trek"). Corman's direction is gritty and uncompromising. Shatner comes to a small town whose high school has just been integrated by law. He stirs up the townspeople with speeches of hatred and bigotry. Twenty-five years later, the similar Mississippi Burning came out and was timid in comparison.

I found myself quite surprised and moved by The Intruder. I had read Corman's autobiography, which contained an entire chapter about The Intruder and the troubles they had making it, and how it eventually lost money. But it's a great film, and one of my favorite Cormans (along with A Bucket of Blood, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Tomb of Ligeia).

The Intruder was finally re-released on video in 1998 under one of its phony titles, Shame, and on DVD in 2001 and 2007.

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