Raw-edged and startling, scripted by Charles Beaumont from his own novel based on real-life rabble-rouser John Kasper, Corman's film about Southern desegregation was shot on location in Missouri in a mere three weeks, with threats and obstruction from white locals mirroring the fictional action. Adam Cramer (Shatner, mesmerising) represents an organisation which seeks to stop the process of educational desegregation and thus frustrate plans of the 'Communist front headed by Jews' to 'mongrelise' society. Cramer is an insidious outsider whose impassioned speeches rouse the populace; the result is heightened Klu Klux Klan activity, attacks on black families and a liberal white newspaper editor, a near-hanging. Complex characterisation is sacrificed in the interests of representing the broad socio-political issues. Emotions intensify in accord with searing summer temperatures; visuals emphasise the economic disparities, memorably in shots of the black ghetto and of Cramer in his pristine white suit. Chilling, and especially at the moment Cramer delivers his battle-cry, 'This is just the beginning', painfully prophetic.
Cast and crew