If you get Google Alerts on Lizzie Borden, you’ve known for a long time that the Lifetime Movie Channel is doing a movie of our endearing Lizzie and the most mystifying, classic unsolved murder case. You would also know that filming and post production has concluded and it is scheduled to be broadcast on January 25th, 2014. But I post this here for those of you who may NOT know.
I predict the airing, and undoubtedly repeat airings, of this production will serve to perpetuate so many myths and untruths about Miss Borden and the case in general. I’ll tell you why:
1. In the first place, Lizzie was 32 at the time, not a “young girl”.
2. The murder weapon was a hatchet, not an axe.
3. The production company and research people did little to no in-depth research, as is usually the case with these formulated productions.
4. None of the cast members, ( including Christina Ricci), production crew, or director even bothered to visit the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast to get a sense of what was then a territorial layout between the sisters on the one hand and the father and stepmother on the other.
5. The LMC’s productions appeal to a target market that has an interest in “love gone wrong” kind of shows and have become noteworthy in cable news and social networking sites when trending. They have a pool of production companies and directors, none of whom are “A”-listers.
6. Budgets are tight, on “short shoot” schedules, and often sacrifice authenticity for cost effectiveness.
7. Christina Ricci playing Lizzie would be a good fit if Justin Bieber were playing Andrew Borden.
Nope, I’ll say it here and now: This will NOT be a movie that captures the depth and texture of the case, Fall River, and Lizzie herself. Just as Elizabeth Montgomery’s looks and performance is burned into the minds of a viewers from a generation ago, Ricci and the LMC will permanently embed its story into the minds of a newer – and younger – generation.
The mass of viewers (who are not Borden case afficionados) will forever believe Lizzie Borden was a young, psychopathic girl who wielded a bloody axe to do her daddy and stepmother in. Thus, the iconic one dimensional Lizzie Borden will remain.