Unflinching in its depictions of mob violence, including a cross burning and a church bombing, it makes 1967's more celebrated IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT seem tame by comparison.
The result is not an anomaly in the auteur's oeuvre but a fervid distillation of his distinctive absurdism in urgent political terms, paving the road for Penn's The Chase and Pasolini's Teorema, even. "Wake up, boy, that mob is the boss." The agitator lies alone and dwarfed at last, the Civil Rights Movement still had plenty of beasts to face ahead.
I happened upon Roger Corman’s 1962 film The Intruder while casually surfing YouTube. Some twist of algorithmic fate led the site to suggest that movie for me. Less than five minutes into the film I understood why: William Shatner, America’s Captain, pop sci-fi royalty, utters the word ‘nigger’. YouTube knows that I like dissonance and collisions. Shatner’s role as a seductive, psychopathic East Coast demagogue stirring up a racist Southern mob is all collision.