The high point of his career, however, remains “The Intruder,” which is the original title of “I Hate Your Guts!” (it was also known for a while as “The Stranger”). Made on location under the direction of Roger Corman, best known for his stylish adaptions of Edgar Allan Poe, it is the boldest, most realistic depiction of racial injustice ever shown in American films and is based on an actual incident.
“It’s the best I’ve ever done,” says Shatner, who superbly portrays a satanic rabble-rouser who quickly reduces a small town on the eve of integration to a state of chaos.
“Our setting was the boot heel of Missouri. Discrimination was worse than in the Deep South because there the white southerners have taken a position – the lines of war were clearly marked. But here it was a fringe area and therefore more explosive.
“Literally, this movie was made at the risk of our lives. We even has escape plans. The state militia had to be called in when we shot scenes depicting the Ku Klux Klan bombing a Negro church.