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Shame

1962

Shame also known as "I Hate Your Guts" "The Intruder" is a 1962 film directed by Roger Corman starring William Shatner as a racist mystery man sent to stir trouble in a southern town that is about to integrate its high school. Roger Corman claims this is the only film of the over 300 he's produced to lose money.


The Intruder is a 1962 USA film directed by Roger Corman, after a 1959 novel by Charles Beaumont, starring William Shatner. The story depicts the machinations of a racist named Adam Cramer (portrayed by Shatner), who arrives in the fictitious small southern town of Caxton in order to incite townspeople to racial violence against the town's black minority and Brown v. Board of Education.
The film is also known under its US reissue titles as I Hate Your Guts! and Shame, and The Stranger in the UK release.

Plot

The introduction to Cramer is a simple shot of him stepping off a bus, carrying only a light suitcase, with innate confidence, a confidence which remains with him. On an interpersonal level, starting with the first character Cramer meets, the audience sees he is a charmer, but it is soon revealed that the character uses this charm quite professionally, in furtherance of a hard, cunning political effort to incite Caxton's existing racial tension into violence. At the same time, Cramer seeks personal pleasure with every interaction. Cramer's racist, incendiary politics are thereby proven inseparable from his pleasure. By manipulating many of Caxton's citizens on a personal level, Cramer implements a strategic plan to incite violent action by eliciting financial backing from wealthy local Verne Shipman (Robert Emhardt) to form a chapter of the fictitious
Patrick Henry Society use it to mobilize the townspeople against integration.
Following an inflammatory speech by Cramer in front of the town hall, the first act of open violence is when the Patrick Henry Society, headed by Cramer, Cross burning in the black district, followed by the harassment and near-lynching of a black driver and his family. It is then that a rational, internally secure character named Tom McDaniel (Frank Maxwell) realizes he is willing to stand up against both Cramer and the townspeople's hatred toward their black neighbors—this costs him a severe beating by his white neighbors, resulting in concussion and the loss of one eye. Realizing his grip on the mob may be fading, Cramer shrewdly manipulates McDaniel's teenage daughter Ella (Beverly Lunsford) (whom he had also seduced earlier in the movie) into making a false claim of interracial rape, which causes a mob to gather around the Caxton high school.
A parallel plot line has developed meanwhile, around Cramer's next-door neighbors at the motel, salesman Sam Griffin (Leo Gordon) and his emotionally unstable wife, Vi (Jeanne Cooper), whom Cramer seduces while Griffin is away on business. Upon returning, Sam discovers his wife has left and confronts Cramer who pulls a gun on Griffin. Griffin suspecting Cramer's motives had earlier taken the bullets out of Cramer's gun, and Cramer distraught tells him to leave the room. Accurately assessing Cramer's nature during the ensuing confrontation, he goes on to break up the high school mob using his personal skills and natural presence, as well as a true confession by Ella. Rather than approach Cramer's Psychopathy violently, or take revenge for Cramer's seduction of Griffin's wife, Griffin, without animosity confronts the mob and turns them against Cramer. Shipman, finally seeing Cramer for what he really is knocks him to the ground. The film ends with Griffin telling Cramer that his "work" is finished and that he should take the bus out of town, handing him the bullets he had taken from Cramers gun during the earlier confrontation stating that he wouldn't want to steal from him.

Production

The novel was published in 1958 and film rights were optioned by Seven Arts.

Assessment

The plot development was unusually mature and complex for its time, contrasting with the often patronizing approaches of other films of the 1950s and 1960s to the subject of race. The final act centering on Sam Griffin focuses on political manipulation of racism rather than simply providing payback for Cramer's evil acts, concluding with neither a happy ending nor an equally artificial reverse. The same even handedness informs Charles Beaumont construction of character; the only two rational and mature protagonists are Tom McDaniel and Griffin, respectively a moderate racist and a boisterous, overbearing man partly at fault for his wife's clinical depression.

Notes


  • Original soundtrack album released by Monstrous Movie Music
  • Sam Hamm on The Intruder] at


    Category:1962 films
    Category:American films
    Category:1960s drama films
    Category:Films directed by Roger Corman
    Category:Films about race and ethnicity
    Category:Screenplays by Charles Beaumont
    Category:Films based on American novels
    Category:Films set in the United States
    Category:Films produced by Roger Corman
    Category:Films produced by Gene Corman
  • More Public Domain Movies