Telling folks he's an advocate of social reform, Adam Cramer (Shatner) arrives in a small Southern town on the eve of school integration intending to rile the white population for political ends. While his rabble-rousing speeches agitate the town's restless, bigoted residents and earn the enmity of conscientious newspaper editor Tom McDaniel (Maxwell), Cramer's sexual manipulation of two women, Tom's high-school daughter Ella (Lunsford) and lonely Vi (Cooper), threaten to blow up in his face.
Shot on location in Missouri despite opposition from local residents, this raw, flagrantly progressive drama of white racism and mob mentality in a small town was exploitation king Corman's biggest critical success (and ironically, his only film to lose money). In the crowning performance of his career, future "Star Trek" captain Shatner plays a bold conniving bigot; one who can confidently sweet talk women and work up an anxious audience with inflammatory rhetoric, but cowers pathetically when directly confronted. Strikingly photographed and crackling with tension, "The Intruder" is one of Corman's finestmost celebrated efforts in the director's chair.