The Story of Ruth (1960)
Story of Ruth
The Story of Ruth (1960) is a Hollywood version of a brief book in the Old Testament. It has to do with the roundabout way in which Boaz, a Judean, and Ruth, a Moabite, marry. Moabites and Judeans were not the best of friends. In fact, their relationship was often worse than Jets and Sharks in West Side Story (1961). Although Ruth already converted through a previous marriage, Boaz, a man of material wealth and standing, knew better. Still, he only amounted to a domino stood up to fall down. In truth, there are tons more dramatic stories and situations in scripture. But this one is hard to top in terms of biblical significance. Having been a priestess in the worship of a stone god, to whom children were bred for sacrifice, Ruth was an unlikely candidate for a Judean marriage. But just as with Jacob, whose mother guided him against the odds, Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi, helped bring about the desired objective. Boaz took her for his wife and from this partnership came the House of David and Jesus Christ.
To say that God's ways are not those of man is an understatement, and this anecdote serves to illustrate the point. Further, the filmmakers' ways are also not divine, which is no real revelation. In addition, godliness is not a product of California, where these sorts of projects used to be hatched. But the spirit migrated westward somehow, and very mysteriously, to Twentieth Century Fox. Did it originate on the Atlantic seaboard? In fact, one might as well ask, where is God in America? Maybe He can be found in the Midwest; it is difficult to ascertain, and one will experience a great deal of bad weather in the pursuit. Neither is God to be found on the air or over the internet, search as one might, manifested in sight and sound. Mormons bank on Salt Lake City. They are somewhat reasonable, at least in terms of having eliminated land to their immediate north, west, east, and south. Very probably, when Europeans in boats washed up on these shores, God, who must have been here all along, distanced Himself. That would explain the last five hundred years of New World history. In sum, why even speculate? The Story of Ruth is, after all, a movie, not the living word of God. Although, the existence of God apart from artistic representation and meaningless ritual is an integral element in the film.
And it goes seamlessly from one scene to another in a nice enough, uncontentious manner to please the modern, diversified multitudes. It is interesting to see just how well-organized the Moabites are in terms of maintaining a pagan civilization centered on Chemosh, to whom they pray and sacrifice. Mahlon, a Judean artisan, who fashions a crown for a child dedicated to Chemosh, succeeds only in forcing Ruth to whimsically smile at the notion of an invisible god. But soon enough, she is caught up in a drama that has not yet reached its conclusion. In fact, our religious insist that this very drama insures that we will live on in a world without end. No one expected as much from brawling Fingersnappers and Puertorriquenos in NYC.
No doubt, the religious prefer the book to the movie. But either way, it comes to light that blood purity is nonsense. The Story of Ruth is not bad for its kind and chances are better than good that viewers will leave the way they entered, insofar as belief, cynicism, or a mixture therein is concerned.
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