Based on a novel by William Faulkner, and filmed in and around the author’s hometown of Oxford, Mississippi, Intruder in the Dust’s gritty realism was unusual for the pre-Civil Rights era and also for MGM, a studio known for its glossy production values. Juano Hernandez plays a strong-minded African-American farmer who is accused of murder. He refuses to try to prove his innocence, as he knows that the bigoted townspeople wouldn’t believe him. A white teenager (Claude Jarman, Jr.), whom the farmer had befriended convinces his lawyer uncle (David Brian) to take the proud farmer’s case and prove his innocence. Faulkner was very pleased with the picture, and it is considered one of the best adaptations of his work.
Directed by Clarence Brown, 1949, 87 min., b&w, Unrated
“Perhaps because he was a southerner himself, Clarence Brown, best known as Greta Garbo's favorite director, brought an unusual amount of feeling and taste to the material….The story is treated with an unsensationalized clarity that seems unusually sophisticated for the period, and the other cast members—David Brian, Claude Jarman Jr., Porter Hall, and Elizabeth Patterson—are almost as good as Hernandez.” Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
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