🎥 The Story of Ruth – 1960

The Story …

At approximately 8 years old, Ruth is sold by her father, as his strongest and prettiest daughter, to a priest of Chemosh, to be trained in the service of the Moabite deity.

Months later, deemed the most attractive and unblemished candidate, Ruth is selected from a lineup of child priestesses in training to be sacrificed during the annual ritual to Chemosh.

As soon as she is selected, a large blemish appears on Ruth’s arm, and she is deemed unsuitable. Another child is sacrificed in her place …

Years later, Ruth is a favoured priestess serving as a spiritual teacher of a young Moabite girl, Tebah, being prepared for that year’s sacrifice to Chemosh.

Unhappy with the ritual crown created for Tebah, high-priestess Eleilat, along with Ruth, instructs Mahlon, a Judean artisan, to revamp the crown with jewels and glitter.

Mahlon delivers the crown to Ruth at the temple, and he begins to question her about the existence of Chemosh. Ruth starts out mocking Mahlon’s “invisible god,” but ends up becoming intrigued and doubtful of her religion as time draws near for Tebah’s sacrifice.

Ruth ultimately falls in love with Mahlon and disgraces herself at Tebah’s sacrifice by screaming in horror as the child is ceremonially stabbed on an altar by the high priest. Ruth flees but is captured and punished.

The Moabites blame and condemn Mahlon, his father Elimelech, and brother Chilion for Ruth’s heresy. Chilion and Elimelech die in the prison, while Mahlon is condemned to the quarries for life. Ruth comes with mercenaries to free Mahlon, but he is mortally wounded as he flees the quarry.

He marries Ruth in a cave soon afterwards, and promptly dies. Naomi (married to Elimelech), Orpah (married to Chilion), and Ruth are now widowed. Orpah returns to her Moabite family, and Ruth chooses to accompany Naomi to Bethlehem, famously proclaiming “Whiter thou goest, I will go.”

Moab and Judah are ancient enemies, and Ruth is initially met with hostility. Upon arrival, they witness Boaz, a close kinsman of Elimelech’s, punish a Moabite who has poisoned a water hole by forcing him to drink the poisoned water.

When Boaz learns that Naomi has returned, he sends provisions to them, respecting his obligation as a kinsman. Believing Boaz to be fiercely anti-Moabite, Ruth compels Naomi to refuse the provisions. Captivated by Ruth’s beauty, Boaz arranges for another kinsman, Tob, to take Boaz’s provisions to Naomi and Ruth.

Tob initially doesn’t want to oblige, but after seeing Ruth, Tob agrees to Boaz’s arrangement, taking credit for generosity. A wise Naomi is sceptical of Tob’s uncharacteristic caring. Meanwhile, Boaz visits Naomi and Ruth to convince them to accept his help.

After Boaz assists Ruth against a mob of hostile women at a well, Ruth becomes aware of his noble nature. Eventually, Boaz and Ruth fall in love, but Tob claims his right under Jewish code to marry Mahlon’s widow as closest kinsman.

Two Moab agents arrive in Judah seeking Ruth. Pretending to be from Reuben, they claim to have witnessed Ruth worshipping Chemosh in secret at Naomi’s farm.

As a member of the Council of Elders, Boaz must sit in judgment of Ruth. At trial, Ruth admits to having been a Moabite priestess who last participated in ritual sacrifice only months before, shocking those in attendance—including Boaz, who does his best to defend her.

The Moabite agents are exposed as false witnesses when Naomi asks them to name the 12 tribes of Israel and Ruth asks them to recite the 10 commandments, which they cannot do. Nor will they bless Jehovah and curse Chemosh, as Ruth challenges. Ruth is acquitted.

Tob refuses to give up his claim to Ruth, despite her informing him that she loves Boaz. Naomi suggests to Ruth a way out of her obligation to marry Tob.

At their wedding ceremony, Ruth informs Tob in front of the guests that she sought out Boaz where he was sleeping at the harvest festival. Humiliated, Tob renounces Ruth. Boaz then declares he will marry Ruth, and both declare to the officiating Rabbi that only vows of love passed between them.

They are married, becoming the progenitors of a great king and a messiah …

Credits :

  • Written by Norman Corwin
  • Based on Book of Ruth
  • Produced by Samuel G. Engel
  • Narrated by Eduard Franz
  • Cinematography : Arthur E. Arling
  • Edited by Jack W. Holmes
  • Music by Franz Waxman
  • Production Company : Samuel G. Engel Productions
  • Distributed by 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date : June 17, 1960

Cast :

  • Elana Eden as Ruth
  • Stuart Whitman as Boaz
  • Tom Tryon as Mahlon
  • Peggy Wood as Naomi
  • Viveca Lindfors as Eleilat
  • Jeff Morrow as Tob
  • Thayer David as Hedak
  • Les Tremayne as Elimelech
  • Eduard Franz as Jehoam
  • Leo Fuchs as Sochin
  • Lili Valenty as Kera
  • John Gabriel as Chilion
  • Ziva Rodann as Orpah
  • Basil Ruysdael as Shammah
  • John Banner as King of Moab
  • Adelina Pedroza as Iduma
  • Daphna Einhorn as Tebah
  • Sara Taft as Eska
  • Jean Inness as Hagah
  • Berry Kroeger as Huphim
  • Jon Silo as Tacher
  • Don Diamond as Yomar

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