Aboard a cruise ship, a murder has taken place. The victim was in possession of a fairly hefty fortune in diamonds, so the investigator’s thought is simple: find the diamonds, find the culprit.
A wrench is thrown into the should-be-easy investigation when the weather takes a turn for the dicey, sending the ship’s passengers into a frenzy and the ship itself into a dire situation. Life jackets are thrown on and bodies packed tightly into lifeboats, with some passengers opting to jump overboard.
The ship’s crew and surviving passengers think they’ve been struck with a touch of luck when their lifeboat runs aground at a seemingly-deserted island. They have no way to call for help, but at least they’re on land, no longer floating aimlessly through the sea. However, the island is not what it seems.
The Intruder was directed by Albert Ray for Allied Pictures. This very-much-forgotten little film exists in the public domain and is available for streaming or download at the Internet Archive.
When one of the first things you see in a film is a “gorilla” which is very obviously a man in a gorilla suit, it usually means one of two things: the film will either be awful, or of the “so bad it’s good” variety. The Intruder is part shipwreck drama, part murder mystery, and part strange jungle thriller. Unfortunately, it falls closer to the “awful” category than the “so bad it’s good.”
There’s a bit of corn to be enjoyed here (“Hooray! We’ve gone primitive!,” one stranded passenger screams after being forced to spend less than a day on the island) but sadly, not as much as I had hoped. There aren’t any overzealous moments of campy fright – just a few somewhat-amusing scenes.
Prior to watching this film I’d been on a bit of a Gilligan’s Island binge, so for me the most fun part of watching The Intruder was just to spot the similarities with Gilligan, and the long-rooted tropes of the “deserted island” genre. There are even character equivalents of Mary Ann and Ginger (a “good girl” and a “wild modern” who become pals), and a detective with the same no-nonsense attitude as the Skipper.
I probably wouldn’t recommend The Intruder to many people, even the devoted fan of forgotten films. Though fun in a few spots, it’s mostly a dud. The score: 0.5/5