Sunday, March 29, 2009

3/25/09: Life for Ruth (1962)

A young girl with life-threatening injuries desperately needs a blood transfusion, but when her father emphatically refuses to let the surgeon do his job, he explains that his Christian faith clearly prohibits it—he takes the Bible literally when it says, "Whatsoever man eateth any manner of blood, I will set my face against that soul."

Though made in the early 1960s, the theme of science vs. religion is still very topical today, and this undeservedly obscure movie makes the most of its story. Life for Ruth brings together two actors appearing in separate Disney films I recently screened for my one-a-day project: Janet Munro (Darby O'Gill and the Little People), as the conflicted mother of the child, and Patrick McGoohan (The Three Lives of Thomasina) as the doctor who seeks legal charges against the girl's father after she dies. Filmed in stark black and white, the movie successfully attempts to show both sides of the controversy and ends up being very compelling. It's a great film, although at times it seems to have been heavily funded by the British Tobacco Council. I purchased the DVD to see more of beautiful Janet Munro, who is made to look rather drab here but does a powerful acting job. Patrick McGoohan is, as always, mesmerizing. Rating: 5/5.

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