The Intruder is the greatest irony of Roger Corman's film career. In 1962, after cranking out dozens of exploitation quickies and gaining recognition for his widescreen Edgar Allen Poe series, he put up his own resources ... more »to produce a serious work of drama on the explosive issue of racism and integration. Shot on location in a small town in Missouri, where he and his crew faced bigotry first hand when the locals found out exactly what they were actually shooting, the film went on to win rave reviews and film festival prizes and became Corman's first film to lose money. William Shatner delivers the most controlled performance of his career as Adam Cramer, a cool, charismatic white supremacist who rouses the smoldering white citizens of a small Southern town to mob violence on the eve of school integration. As the crowd slips from his control and events escalate, Cramer's true intentions are laid bare, and as he flails about in desperation Shatner's performance slides into near hysteria. There are few weak performances in the smaller roles and the film at times slips into didactic speeches, but Corman's strong direction drives home the film in powerful scenes and striking imagery: Cramer's incendiary speech on the courthouse steps, the deathly quiet KKK ride through the black part of town. By the climax Corman understands that controlled silence is even more terrifying than a mob's thundering cries. --Sean Axmaker« less
"I was so pleased to watch this DVD. Never having seen the film before, it was a real treat.Don't let the low budget or the Roger Corman and William Shatner names keep you from seeing this film.A black and white documentary-style telling about the early days of integration, "The Intruder" follows the efforts of Patrick Henry Society rabble-rouser Adam Cramer (Shatner), as he tries to convince a small Southern town to fight against court-ordered integration of local schools.Worming his way into the hearts of the townspeople, he soon finds that his racist views can lead to outcomes that cannot always be predicted or controlled.Written by Charles Beaumont, a big hand behind "The Twilight Zone", every moment is filled with tension thanks in no small part to Shatner's presence. Shatner gives a wonderful performance as the racist villian. For those who consider his only contribution to entertainment to be Captain Kirk or T.J. Hooker, they have a pleasant surprise awaiting them.Here is a young Shatner, a daring Shatner, a Shatner with youthful energy, even at times a subtle Shatner, five years or so away from the role that made him a pop icon. His stage training serves him well in the role of Cramer, and his stage roots show. His speech on the town hall steps is frightening and mesmerizing and believable.Truly a very important work, both socially and culturally, every scene of "The Intruder" is a lesson for film students, history students, and anyone interested in the struggle of the Civil Rights Era. The film should be mandatory viewing in high school history classes.Included on the disc is a discussion between Shatner and Corman as they discuss the film, the dangers of shooting the film in the South at that time, how certain scenes were shot, and other behind-the-scenes reminiscences."
ROGER CORMAN AND WILLIAM SHATNER TEAM UP & IT'S NOT "BIG BAD
Heather L. Parisi | St. Augustine, FL USA | 10/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This nearly-lost treasure has been restored to its original length and form on this 40th Anniversary Edition DVD.
A lot of attention is given as to whether or not Roger Corman made or lost money on this movie. I am fairly certain [especially after seeing the interview with him and Shatner on this DVD] that this is one film he is proud to have lost money on. His only regret for losing money on it is probably because it means very few people saw "The Intruder" when it was released in 1962.
It's a funny thing how kids love to see this movie today. First, it's because "Captain Kirk" is the star and, second, it's all the nasty language that is not politically correct that comes out of his and almost everyone else's mouths. Racial slurs abound that don't just attack Blacks, but Jews and eventually everyone that doen't agree with their racist ideals. But then as the film continues, something happens, something wonderful -- the kids get the message. The way I use to recite "Kirk's" lines from "Star Trek" in the 60s [and still do], my teenage daughter and 22-year-old son recite Adam Cramer's (William Shatner) lines from this newly-released DVD which was filmed before "Star Trek". They just love Adam Cramer because he is so perfectly contemptible. He seems like a caricature today, but 44 years ago he represented strong opinions that were widely held in many parts of this country.
So, back to today. What is the significance of all this?
Probably, it is both a hard and gritty time capsule of how things were and a true-though-not-so-admirable history lesson for our children. From the reactions I have seen to "THE INTRUDER" over the past 5 years, I would say that the kids are getting the point very clearly.
ABOUT THE DVD:
This is a terrific transfer in every way. It is the Widescreen Theatrical Version. DVD features include: Interview with Roger Corman and William Shatner [quite good], Original Theatrical Trailers, Cast and Crew Biographies, Interactive Menus and Previews. It is rated PG-13.
On the back of the DVD case the following description of the film is given: "Arriving in a sleepy Southern town on the eve of integration, slick, charismatic Adam Cramer [William Shatner] is an ominous influence, inciting its white citizens into a racial fervor and plunging the once quiet community into a state of chaos."
What isn't in the description above is the raucous and shameful manner in which the future Captain of the Enterprise behaved. His immoral behavior, including the blackmailing and implied molestation of a minor girl and the rape of a vulnerable, married neighbor [Jeanne Cooper], is perfectly suited to his inflamatory racial speeches and the violence and murder that insued as a result of his instigations. We get to see here where and how the future Captain Kirk began making those speeches which a few years later brought understanding to the galaxy [at least on TV].
THANK YOU CAPTAIN KIRK AND ROGER CORMAN!"
WARNING --- WRONG ASPECT RATIO for Special Edition!
Mr. Film Guy | Tennessee | 05/31/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Corman fans have been waiting for this DVD for a long time, and I am thrilled that we will be able to see it in a (hopefully) sharp new DVD transfer.
***HOWEVER***, according to the specifications listed, this "Special Edition" DVD from Buena Vista Home Video is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which is the wrong ratio for this film.
The earlier, 2001, "40th Anniversary" DVD release (from Corman's own company New Concorde, not Buena Vista!) shows a listing as *widescreen* format.
Therefore, this "Special Edition" in 1.33:1 is evidently a cropped, "pan-and-scan" transfer.
For viewers familiar with Buena Vista Home Video this probably comes as no suprise, for BVHV is notorious for releasing many of the Disney classics in cropped pan-and-scan versions (often mistakenly called "full screen"), instead of in their proper, original widescreen theatrical aspect ratios.
According to one user, the back of this Special Edition ADMITS the error by the usual disclaimer: "This film has been modified from its original version." (Some have said it is an open-matte transfer rather than pan-and-scan; however, others have said that the framing seems too tight and close, which suggests pan-and-scan. Open-matte would "loosen" the framing, not tighten it).
HOW CAN A DVD CLAIM TO BE A "SPECIAL EDITION" WHEN IT BOTCHES THE ASPECT RATIO?
Bottom line: for those who want to see THE INTRUDER in it's original widescreen ratio, do a search on amazon and find the 2001 "40th Anniversary" DVD release, in it's proper widescreen ratio, available from several Amazon sellers.
Please note that another review below for the "Special Edition" states the DVD is in "widescreen" --however--- that review is copied in it's entirety from the **2001 EDITION's** Amazon page, and therefore it's mention of "widescreen" is assumed to be inaccurate for this "Special Edition".
Again, Amazon's own specifications indicate an improper 1.33:1 ratio (see "Product Details" above: "Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1").
Buena Vista Home Video should be ashamed!
Instead of ordering this "Special Edition", I've just ordered the 2001 "40th Anniversary" version, and evidently, according to the ratio listed in "Product Details" above, if you want to see the whole film, you will have to order the 2001 edition too, instead of this one. Just a friendly word of warning."
x-52 | LA, CA United States | 03/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I came upon this film by chance on tv, and was stunned by how well it was executed. Not only does this deal with a tough issue on racism, it portrays two sides of a coin. I don't want to give away the plot, but it is well worth checking out. Arguably the most important film Roger Corman has attempted. I think he succeeded. I am also a lifelong Trek fan, and as much as I admire Shatner's performances in Trek II and Classic series, I believe this to be his finest performance. nuff said..."
Very frightening portrayal of racism...
Bebina40 | san francisco, ca United States | 02/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love William Shatner, but I wanted to see his work before Star Trek, so, despite the racism theme, I decided to purchase this gem of a film. I've always thought William Shatner was a wonderful actor, and I think that people are always criticising him because they are envious. Ordinarily I would not want to watch this sort of film because of the strong feelings I have of Human Rights and equality and it was quite disturbing at times. It was very frightening and realistic, especially when he gets the entire town riled up. I thought it ended well, was a wonderfully made and above all, portrayed film. You must see it, if not for the acting, but for the determination that you would not let such a thing happen in your town."