The Intruder, 1963
Shatner plays Adam Cramer, a slick young racist who goes to a southern American town to whip up unrest against mandated desegregation of public schools. Shatner does a disturbingly good job playing a conniving and hateful character. The film was directed by Roger Corman, who has directed and produced literally hundreds of movies and TV shows. Corman is generally know for low-budget, “B” projects, and he’s usually not taken very seriously. The Intruder is serious. Serious enough that many American movie houses to refused to play the movie because the topic was too hot. It did play in Europe and was well-received and won awards. This is not a hammy, sentimental movie – it’s honest and sobering. If you haven’t seen it, you’ll be surprised.
Right before Star Trek, Shatner starred in Incubus. This horror movie was a pet project of Leslie Stevens, who wrote episodes of The Outer Limits, Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century, and a lot more. It is apparently the only movie filmed entirely in Esperanto. It is fascinating. It’s worth watching just to see Shatner speaking Esperanto. Just to hear an hour and a half of Esperanto. Just to say you saw a movie in Esperanto starring Shatner. The original film was accidentally destroyed, and the only known copy was found in Paris, in the Cinémathèque Française. Whew! The restored DVD has some interesting interviews and commentary. Weird, spooky, interesting.
Trivia: Incubus is playing on a TV in a scene of Blade: Trinity.
While you’re at it, go for the hat trick and see Judgment at Nuremburg, 1961. It’s a great movie, and Shatner’s good in it, although his part is relatively small.
Speaking of Shatneralia, I was thrilled to learn that Robert Schnakenberg’s Encyclopedia Shatnerica is finally being updated. I was searching the title on Amazon to see how many used copes were out there, when I saw that a new edition is due out in June. It’s about time! The first and only edition was published in 1998, and we all know that Bill has not been idle since then. This book is a treat and a must have for Shatner fans.
For those of you who are suspicious types like I am, I wrote to Sir Schnakenberg to confirm that this was indeed an updated edition, not just a reprint. He replied, "It is an updated and revised edition. New text, new photos, all-new design." Outstanding.
Also for geeks: Last year Robert publish a book of Sci-Fi Baby Names. If either of our two sons had been a girls, we would have used the name Miriam, ostensibly because both my wife and I think it's a beautiful name, but secretly I wanted to call her Miri, after the girl in the original Trek episode by the same name.
- IMDB: The Intruder, Incubus, Judgment at Nuremberg
- WIKI: The history of Esperanto
- Amazon: The new Encyclopedia Shatnerica, Sci-Fi Baby Names
- Robert Schnakenberg's Web site