Lifetime’ “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” was not only one of the network’s best made-for-TV movies in ages, it was also based on the very true story of Massachusetts woman Lizzie Borden, played by Christina Ricci, who was tried and acquitted of killing her parents with an ax.
The case is a thing of legend in the Northeast U.S., but perhaps isn’t quite as famous in other parts of the country. Here’s a quick guide as to what actually happened and what Lifetime took liberties with:
In the movie, just as in real life, Borden was accused of the murders but was ultimately let off. The film also managed to mention some of the real-life evidence: That LIzzie had inquired about buying poison in the days before the murders, the number of times each victim was sliced with the ax, that Lizzie burned her dress after the police wanted to admit it into evidence, that Lizzie fainted when the skulls of her murdered parents were presented in court.
The movie actually did an admirable job of alternately making us think that Lizzie did and didn’t do what the prosecutor called “an incredible crime, a bloody and unthinkable crime” — especially since it was committed by a woman.
The popular opinion of the case throughout the years seems to be that Borden probably did it, but there wasn’t enough evidence to convict. But “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” took a definitive position: Girlfriend did it, and she even confessed to her horrified sister after her acquittal. In the movie, Emma left Fall River, Mass. and never spoke to Lizzie again after the confession, but in real life the sisters lived together for more than 13 years before Emma moved out of their home.
What did you think of “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax”?