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« Cult Clip: Ace of Wands (1972) | Main | Wild In The Streets (1968) »

DVD Review: Life For Ruth (1962)

Ruth Another long-forgotten 60s flick reissued by Network - but Life For Ruth is a tale that still has relevance in 2007.

Life For Ruth is set in early 60s Durham - not really kitchensink, but with enough realism to make it very believable. The tale revolves around Ruth, an eight-year-old girl and daughter of John Harris (Michael Craig) and Pat Harris (Janet Munro). Playing on the beach, Ruth loses her ball and sets out in a rowing boat with a friend to retrieve it. John Harris spots them in danger, swims out to rescue the pair, but only succeeds in saving the boy - his daughter Ruth is rushed to hospital.

A blood transfusion could save Ruth, but John refuses - he is a member of an unnamed religion that opposes such a thing. Despite the protestations of Doctor Brown (Patrick McGoohan), he maintains that his daughter cannot have blood, fearing it will stop his daughter from enjoying eternal life. Ruth dies - and the doctor wants John Harris to face charges for his actions. The case does go to court, with the jury asked to decide between the legal obligation of a parent to his child or the moral obligation Harris feels towards his religious beliefs.

It's an interesting film, especially with the knowledge that parents are still forced to make such decisions today. Michael Craig does an excellent job as the father in turmoil, while McGoohan does the usual stoney-faced act as the doctor seeking justice for a child's life. It's also got some great scenery of Durham, including many locations that have long since disappeared. On the downside, you do feel the court case is a little rushed and over-simplified and you never really get much of a sense of moral outrage, aside from a small crowd outside the house and occasional bout of booing.

But it's certainly worth watching. Another lost gem from the directorial hand of Basil Dearden - not a classic by any stretch, but an interesting film covering difficult ground for the era. Certainly worth picking up if you're a fan of early 60s Brit flicks.

Extras on the DVD:

Movie trailer
Still gallery

More about the DVD at



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