One of America’s most infamous unsolved murders will unfold in Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, premiering on Lifetime, January 25 (8 p.m., ET). Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award nominee Christina Ricci takes on the title role, while Stephen McHattie and Sara Botsford portray her father and stepmother. Screen Actors Guild Award® winner Clea DuVall plays older sister Emma. The 2014 movie, however, is not a remake of The Legend of Lizzie Borden, the 1975 made-for-TV movie starring Bewitched actress Elizabeth Montgomery.
On a hot August day in 1892, wealthy Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby, were the victims of a hatching-swinging killer in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Borden’s daughter Lizzie, an unmarried Sunday school teacher, was charged with committing the double homicide, but at the sensational trial that followed, the accused murderess was found not guilty. The gruesome story, a crime writer’s dream come true, has spawned countless books, many with different perspectives and theories which set out to prove or disprove Lizzie’s guilt.
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax captures the tension and resentment in the Borden household, but viewers can expect the movie will take creative license with the facts. Five-foot-three Abby Borden was “very well nourished and very fleshy,” at least according to the autopsy. That hardly describes Sara Botsford, the outstanding yet oft-overlooked Canadian actress who portrays Lizzie’s stepmother.
Christina Ricci had already turned 33 when it was announced she would play Lizzie Borden, making her closer in age to her character than Elizabeth Montgomery, who was 41 when she depicted the 32-year-old accused murderess. Although it’s hard to imagine the 2014 movie—or any other incarnation—eclipsing The Legend of Lizzie Borden, Lifetime’s Lizzie Borden Took an Ax sports a fine cast and a script from Mod Squad screenwriter Stephen Kay.
|Christina Ricci stars in Lifetime's fact-based movie, Lizzie Borden Took an Ax|
(Photo Courtesy of Lifetime. Copyright 2014)