February 21, 2017


Life for Ruth – 1962 | 90 mins | Drama | B&W


Plot Synopsis

Life for Ruth

After studies on racial prejudice in Sapphire (1959), and homosexuality in Victim (1961), director Basil Dearden tackled the conflict of religion and medical ethics in this provocative drama. Filmed on location in Durham, the film is inspired by a true-life story, and adapted from the play “Walk in the Shadow” by Janet Green, and book “Life of Ruth” by William Drummond.

A young girl, Ruth (Lynn Taylor), is injured in a boating accident and taken to hospital for what is regarded as a routine emergency. Her parents are informed that only a blood transfusion will save her life, but her religious fundamentalist father, John Harris (Michael Craig), ignores the doctors advice and forbids the procedure, believing that God will inexplicably heal his daughter. His embittered wife, Pat (Janet Munro), who has tolerated her husband’s religious convictions throughout their marriage finally relents and signs the required papers, but sadly too late and their daughter dies. The angry Dr. Brown Brown, (Patrick McGoohan), decides to press ahead with manslaughter charges against Harris and the case quickly comes to the law courts. After a lengthy and emotional trial, Harris is eventually acquitted. Though a free man, he must come to terms with his own conflicting feelings over his faith and his daughter’s death.

Production Team

Basil Dearden: Director
Alex Vetchinsky: Art Direction
Otto Heller: Cinematography
John D Guthridge: Editing
Harry Frampton: Makeup Department
Muir Mathieson: Music Direction
William Alwyn: Original Music
Michael Relph: Producer
James McCormick: Script
Janet Green: Script
Gordon K McCallum: Sound Department


Michael Craig: John Harris
Patrick McGoohan: Doctor Brown
Janet Munro: Pat Harris
Paul Rogers: Hart Jacobs
Malcolm Keen: Mr Harris Sr
Megs Jenkins: Mrs Gordon
Leslie Sands: Clyde
John Barrie: Mr Gordon

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