(aka "The Stranger" or "Shame" or "I Hate Your Guts!")

 

directed by Roger Corman
USA 1962

 

Most of my familiarity with Roger Corman lies with his output as a producer of nil-budget genre pictures. Therefore, when I found out that William Shatner toplined a Corman-directed movie about racism in the American Deep South of the 1960s, I expected to experience a crass, even exploitative, story. Boy, I was dead wrong--and glad of it.

Contrary to prevailing assumptions about critics, we actually find it pleasantly surprising to be wrong, especially when a movie that was expected to be bad turns out to be great. The Intruder is a small work, but it is tense and unflinchingly honest about an ugly part of American history.

Only recently has Shatner received mainstream praise for his abilities as an actor, but his work as Denny Crane on The Practice and Boston Legal is exactly the kind of hammy crap that Shatner-haters accused him of cooking back when he played Star Trek’s James Tiberius Kirk. His performance in The Intruder reveals how charming, charismatic, forceful, and resonant he was in his prime. Here, Shatner is one of the most-convincing demagogues I’ve seen in a narrative film.

Shatner plays Adam Cramer, a racist white man who goes to a Southern town to incite violent resistance to school integration. As Corman surrounded his leads with real racist townspeople, the movie cackles with disturbingly authentic energy. The movie also features very ugly language, from vile, racist slurs to white-supremacy propagandizing.

Corman released The Intruder on DVD back when his New Concorde company was still distributing his productions on home video. Now, Corman has a deal with Buena Vista (i.e. Disney), with the Mouse House re-releasing his movies on DVD. I find it hilariously ironic that the risk-adverse Magic Kingdom is distributing a movie filled with racial epithets, especially since Buena Vista has steadfastly refused to issue Song of the South on DVD in the United States. To be fair, one should realize that The Intruder is NOT a racist work. Rather, it is anti-prejudice with a raw immediacy that genteel big-studio features like Gentleman’s Agreement are unable to convey.

Yunda Eddie Feng

Poster

Theatrical Release: 14 May 1962

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DVD Review: Buena Vista (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Buena Vista

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 83 mins
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Audio DD 2.0 mono English
Subtitles Optional English SDH
Features Release Information:
Studio: Buena Vista

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Remembering The Intruder
• Disney commercials

DVD Release Date: 25 September 2007
keepcase

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

Video:
This DVD edition of The Intruder sports a 1.33:1 transfer. The back cover art states that “This film has been modified from its original version.” The framing looks very tight on the sides, but based on a screenshot that I found on the Internet, the Buena Vista DVD is probably an open-matte transfer rather than a Pan-&-Scan travesty.

As for the video’s technical quality...well, it’s a good port of sloppily-maintained film elements. There are numerous scratches and some light sprinklings of dust. A couple of scenes are jittery, which indicates damaged sprocket holes. This also looks like an interlaced transfer.

Audio:
The DD 2.0 mono English track exhibits the same wear-and-tear as the picture. A layer of analog hiss is noticeable for just about the entire running time. During a couple of scenes with jumpy frames/edits, the audio jitters, too. Expect the usual harsh, brittle, and flat cut-offs when there are sudden spikes in volume or low frequencies.

Optional English SDH subtitles support the audio.

Extras:
Though billed as a Special Edition, this DVD has fewer, lesser extras than the one from New Concorde. From what I’ve read, the New Concorde disc has a joint interview with Corman and Shatner.

Upon loading, the disc plays a commercial for Blu-Ray and a trailer for The Invisible.

The only movie-related extra is the “Remembering The Intruder” featurette, which has retrospective interviews with Corman and Shatner. The two men were recorded separately, but they have fond memories of working with each other.

--Miscellaneous--
You get an insert w
ith chapter listings and a cardboard slipcover over the usual keepcase.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Buena Vista

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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