Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Intruder (1962)

William Shatner (of all people) tries to foment anti-segregation sentiment in the South in this Roger Corman hot-button flick. Shatner's infamously intense and mannered style of acting makes for a hell of a demagogue, though at times it can be a bit much. The film kind of goes that way as well -- like its lead, it's not subtle ever. The sort of in-your-face crudity of Corman's approach, though, does give it a forthrightness and an effectiveness that a more tasteful attempt at the material might yield. Characterizing it as such also glosses over the occasional small touches that Corman throws in when he doesn't think anyone's paying attention; for instance, when a character gets accused of a rape at a pivotal juncture in the narrative, Corman shows him resigned and almost expectant of the accusation rather than shocked or defiant. Also worth mentioning is the script's use of language -- aside from the use of the N-word (which, if anything, is more shocking today than in '62, if only because the casualness with which it appears), the use of "boy" as a designation of inferiority yields an interesting twist at film's end. It's not perfect, but it's a sight better than Crash.

Grade: B-


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