Watched Mar 10, 2012
Jason Seaver’s review:
Well, looky here, William Shatner in a Roger Corman movie. And it's not just some goofy sci-fi/horror thing; it's a principled drama about school integration that may just be Shatner's best role. He plays a member of the "Patrick Henry Society" who comes to Caxford, Missouri in the days before its high school is set to be integrated to make sure that there's an ugly enough scene to set the civil rights movement back nationally.
Shot on the cheap, with Corman and cinematographer Taylor Byars actually getting some shots done guerrilla-style after the locals got wind of what the movie was about and they were kicked out of town, it's got a lot of the same energy as Corman's exploitation films, putting the racism and violence in the audience's face and not caring about "subtle" one whit. This sort of racism is the province of ignorant monsters, say Corman and writer Charles Beaumont, and it's a shame that enlightenment is seldom spontaneous, but the result of having the violence right in your face.
Corman and Beaumont sometimes have a little trouble getting that precise message across, and the heavy-handedness (especially with the music) can be a little much, but, you know, good on this guy who made no bones about seeing film as a business being willing to put an unpopular opinion right out there.