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Category Archives: Theatre & Film

Lizzie Borden – For Brevity’s Sake

Sometimes we just need to chuckle about it all.

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 Artist Charles George Deviantart.com) does a variation on a theme.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a couple more of his clever illustrations:

Lizzie swoons in court when skulls of her father and stepmother are presented by Prosecutor Knowlton.

A forlorn and depressed Lizzie stares out a window in an attic room at her home on 92 Second Street – or is it Maplecroft?

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Chloe Sevigny Interview on Lizzie Borden

In this very recent Town & Country mag interview Chloe Sevigny admits her film “Lizzie” is fiction but it’s what she says about Lizzie the person where she gets it all wrong.

First of all let me say that whenever I ready ANYTHING about Lizzie Borden where it states unequivocably that an “axe” was used (instead of a hatchet), a red flag goes up in my critical, case purist mind.  Alas, it was mentioned almost immediately.   The trouble with the content of  remarks made in this interview is that urban legends are reinforced once again.

Sevigny maintains Lizzie Borden was stifled under her father’s rigid control and had no outlets to vent her frustrations.  Truth be told, Lizze at age 32, was just on the cusp of joining the core of that society she so craved.  For the past 7 years she had been active in the Congregational Church, taking part in almost all it’s departments, i.e., Fruit and Flower Mission,  also Reverent Buck’s Mission where she taught Chinese children, Womens’ Board of the Fall River Hospital, etc. etc.  She pretty much came and went as she pleased, entering and existing by the front door as her sister, Emma, did while her father and stepmother used the back door.  Lizzie went out frequently to make calls but most of her social engagements involved the Central Congregation Church.  And just the year before she had gone a 16 week Grand Tour to Europe.   She was no captive of her father’s doman, that’s for sure.

I have repeatedly said Sevigny’s film is soft porn.  Just as there are books with hooks there are films produced for targeted audiences.  This film is no exception.  But I’ll still go see it.  And I’ll keep buying those books.

 

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New “Lizzie” Movie – Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart

 

The Reviews are now out on this long anticipated indie film showing at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival..  I labeled it soft porn (not that there’s anything wrong with that) long ago and, thus, the hook.  Sounds like slop pails will be needed for Borden case enthusiasts viewing both the new and regurgitated misinformation.  Salacious and simply wrong on almost all counts as I can conclude according to the reviews.

The REAL story, the TRUE story has enough emotional tension, suspense, mystery, historical significance, and much more that it seems to me Lizzie Borden’s story still screams out to be made.

Meanwhile, check out this new chat board to voice your opinion and read the reviews below of the latest rendition.  Poor Lizzie.

http://africanuniondiaspora.org/index.php/2018/01/20/chloe-sevigny-on-the-totally-unexpected-carnal-nude-scene-in-her-lizzie-borden-drama-sundance-2018/

http://www.sundance.org/projects/lizzie#/

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/lizzie-review-1076232

http://filmhaimdb.xyz/news/ni61878462

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Parody on Lizzie Borden by Garrett Heater

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THE best play on Lizzie Borden, bar none,  is Lizzie Borden Took An Axe by Garrett Heater.  So I was particularly pleased to receive this information:

“Hello old friend!
 
I hope this finds you well!
 
“Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” wrapped up a 3rd consecutive sold-out run at the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion in Syracuse this October! Some of the cast members and I even squeaked in a trip to the Fall River bed & breakfast! 
 
During the run of the show we decided to create a short skit: “A Borden Family Christmas.” There are plenty of gems in it to keep the most orthodox Bordenophile laughing. We had such a blast making it.
 
Here is the trailer we released in November: “
 

This video is very funny and very “inside”.  I love it!

Some years ago I did my own parody – cllck below.

Scroll down to “It’s a Wonderful Life – when Deadwood was still on HBO.

If you ever have a chance to see Garrett’s play, BUY TICKETS IMMEDIATELY!!

 

 

 

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NANCE O’NEIL MOVIES ON DVD – FOR SALE

RECYCLED POST  FROM FEBRUARY, 2014 – DVD’S STILL AVAILABLE.

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Nance O’Neil (October 8, 1874 – February 7, 1965) was an American actress of stage and cinema of the early 20th century.

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She transitioned successfully from the theatre to silent movies and on to sound movies into the early 1930’s.

Nance O’Neil was associated with Lizzie Borden from 1904-1905, and it is often asserted or speculated they were lovers although no credible evidence of any sort has ever surfaced to validate that claim.

She was featured in many films from 1913 to 1932    The two most referenced and easily available on VHS are Cimmaron  and The Royal Bed  both in made in1931.

The years 1930 and 1931 were very productive film years for Miss O’Neil.  She worked with some very well known, even legendary, actors, such as Barbara Stanwyck, Basil Rathbone, Anita Louise, Zasu Pitts and Edgar Kennedy.  She also acted with a young Lawrence Olivier in Westward Passage, one of her last films made in 1932.

It was quite unusual for a Broadway tragedienne of the early 1900’s to have such a long career in transitioning to movies.  O’Neil must have had a terrific agent or good connections.  Or perhaps, because she had been such a big star on the stage, producers thought her name would be an added draw to audiences.

I am offering here three films of Nance O’Neil from the 1930’s on DVD:

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The Secret Service (1931) with Richard Dix I just loved this movie.  It holds up after 80 years!  Think of Richard Dix as Agent 007.  Nance plays his mother in this exciting film full of dramatic tension and surprises!  Easy to see why Dix was such a popular actor aside from his Westerns.

Image1I must say she looks like a man wearing a wig in this film, particularly in this scene.

Ladies or Leisure (1930) directed by Frank Capra is a wonderfully engrossing drama starring Barbara Stanwyck.  Jerry Strong (Ralph Graves, Submarine) is the wealthy son of stuffy but permissive parents who allow Jerry to follow his ambition to be a painter. DSCN1672When he hires party girl Kay Arnold (Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity) to be a model for one of his paintings, the two fall in love despite their obvious differences. But eventually, class distinctions push Kay away back toward her old life, one just shy of prostitution. Directed by Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), LADIES OF LEISURE was also one of Stanwyck’s first roles and the one that made her a star. Newly remastered.

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Nance O’Neil plays the mother of Jerry Strong and has some terrific scenes with super closeups. In one she trys to convince “Kay” to let go of her love for the betterment of his life.  It is quite touching and highly dramatic.  One can easily see O’Neil’s acting chops in this film.

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Both Stanwyck and O’Neil have been perceived as lesbians.  It’s true Stanwyck had an abortion at 15, married two times.  Her second husband, actor Robert Taylor, was also rumored to be Gay.  That marriage was arranged by Louis B. Mayor of MGM when both were stars there.

In what seemed like an inappropriate  “thank you dear for seeing my point” kiss, Nance plants one smack on Barbara’s lips.  It almost looked like it to Babs unexpectedDSCN1685ly, and she gently seems to push O’Neil back.

As a loves story, this movie holds up, not corny at all.

 

 

Floradora Girl has a similar theme as Ladies of Leisure only this time the girl wants to get rich.  Here again, O’Neil plays the wise woman to set the girl on the moral high ground. This movie stars Marion Davies and was produced through her film company established by William Randolph Hearst to showcase her stardom.  Perhaps O’Neil met the august Hearst during this time.

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Yep, the 1890’s and early 1900’s were the American Theater’s heyday, and the 1930’s were Hollywood’s Golden Years.  And Nance O’Neil rode the crest of the former and was still afloat for the latter.

EACH IS $20.00 OR $45.00 FOR ALL THREE!  IF INTERESTED, EMAIL ME AT:

phaye@outlook.com

POSTAGE WILL DEPEND UPON LOCATION AND BUYER’S PREFERENCE FOR DELIVERY.

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Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals – Lizzie Borden?

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My guess is that if there were a living bloodline relative of Lizzie or Emma Borden, Barbara Walters would be interviewing that person on Investigative Discovery’s new show, American Scandals”, produced by Lincoln Square Productions. The biggest and most popular branch of The Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery has many cousins, such as Deadly Women where our Miss Lizzie has been featured.

But Barbara’s fort’ is in the interview of the subject or those who are significantly relevant to the subject. So we have Kato Kaelin on OJ; John Ramsey on his son, Burke; Mark David Chapman on John Lennon and – well, you get the idea. (see article)

I have written to Lincoln Square Productions giving a special appeal they do an episode on the biggest and longest lasting American Scandal, Lizzie Borden. Barbara Walters does Lizzie Borden. Let that waft over your cerebellum for a moment. Of course, Babs would have to speak to Michael Martins and Dennis Binette because nobody, repeat nobody, knows Lizzie better than they do. As to the impact on contemporary times the episode would naturally draw in Donald Woods who would be a refreshingly new face. So I’m hoping, just hoping.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Theatre & Film, TV, Theatre & Film

 

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Defending Lizzie – New Indie Film

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Well, here it is folks – what we’ve all been waiting for— A feature length independent film of the Borden story with a terrific script, acted by age-appropriate actors, directed by a talented director with a passion for the case, and, for the very first time – wait for it —— filmed inside the actual house where the murders took place.

The “Defending Lizzie” official website with full history, can be found HERE.

“Defending Lizzie” is based on the screenplay co-written by author Karen Poulsen and Jerry Orzel,  and adapted from  Ms. Poulsen’s play of the same name.  Ms. Poulsen’s play is one of the most authentic I have ever read and yet has at its foundation a most believable Lizzie under pre-murder circumstances.   The play is a compelling read and quite thrilling.   All characters are carefully crafted from her significant research and the screenplay has maintained authenticity of character, dialog, and plot trajectories.  Further, unlike other productions, the story takes on factual occurrences often ignored or portrayed with gross inaccuracies.

This project has recently gained the partnership of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum  and we are all grateful to Lee-ann Wilber, General Manager, and Donald Woods, owner, for recognizing and giving support to this exciting endeavor.  The “Wonderful World of Lizzie” and all its orbiting satellites will benefit with the production of this film.  (I’m encouraging the new owner of Maplecroft, my friend, Kristee Bates, to allow some special filming of the interior which would be – you got it – another new FIRST!).

Mr. Borden 6Andrew Borden

 

Abby 4 Family 1 Bridget 3 Dr Bowen 1 Emma 1 Piece & Emma 1 Jennings 3 Jennings & Lizzie 1  Mrs. & Mrs Borden 1 Officer Desmond & Lizzie 1

Because this is an independent film with limited financial resources, a fundraising campaign is being launched on August 4th.   Primary funding will be used for transportation, housing and feeding of cast and crew to film on location.  The film is scheduled to be released in summer  2016.  You can help make this project achieve its destiny by contributing and I will post the link above under “Important Links” when it goes live.

Below is my interview with Jerry Orzel, the Director and co-writer.

Tell us briefly about your background as a filmmaker.

My first endeavor into film was “Revelation 22:22” which was a full feature
zombie film that I made fresh out of college. I wrote and directed a commercial
for a Holiday Inn Express contest that won the People’s Choice award.
I’ve been a freelance videographer / editor for the passed 15 years, and I’m
currently a media producer with the Volusia County School District.

What drew you to Lizzie and why Karen Poulsen’s play?

Karen’s play was well received by the audience and theatre
community. It was designed for minimal scenery, although it took place
in several locations. The characters were compelling and complex. She told the
story in a unique way that I instantly knew it had the perfect foundation for a
movie. The amount of research Karen has done over the past 30 plus years,
shows in the details of the script.

What will be your biggest challenges in filming “Defending Lizzie”?

Locations and wardrobe will be the most challenging, we don’t have the backing
of a large studio and we don’t have all the resources of a big budget production
has, but what I do have is a clever and resourceful wardrobe team lead by Ida
Bailey. She, along with Tosha Williams, made dresses by hand, altered items, and
used their connections with community theaters, assisted in wardrobe for the
trailer. Locations on the other hand have been challenging and fun. I had the
pleasure of getting into some really great places and talking to the owners. Our goal
is to shoot on location in the Lizzie Borden B&B, and use Fall River itself as a
backdrop for Defending Lizzie. Using the B&B along with other locations in Fall
River would add the production value that other movies lack. We would be the
first movie about Lizzie Borden to use the actual house. To me that in itself
would be a huge accomplishment as a filmmaker.

It’s been said the film is 80% factual an 20% artistic license or conjecture. Can you
describe what that 20% is?

Not every detail from Lizzie’s life is documented. To get from one historical fact
to the next we used a little artist license, even within the 20% we took has some
facts. One or two characters were combined into one.  In doing this we are able
to keep production cost low, and still keep historic elements in the movie. We
created scenes between characters that may not have actually happened but
what they discuss is important to the story and it’s characters.

Which film festivals are you planning to submit Defending Lizzie?

Right now I’m currently just focused on getting the funding needed to get the
movie shot. I’ll submit Defending Lizzie to as many film festivals as I can, and
attend as many of those as I can. It’s fun to watch the audience watch the
movie, you get to see how they react to it, and as a film maker I get see what
works and what didn’t.

Will you be showcasing the film to special groups?

When we get Defending Lizzie done, I would like to hold 2 screenings prior to
hitting the film festivals. One in central Florida around where the cast and crew,
are located, and one in Fall River. I feel it is important to give the community a
chance to see how much of an impact they had in helping make Defending
Lizzie.

Will your film be available on DVD for purchase and if so, when?

It depends if it gets picked up by a distributor, There is the possibility of it being
available thought VOD (Video On Demand) I know Netflix has an independent
division; Redbox, or we’ll self-distribute it ourselves thought Amazon, eBay and
the movie website. Somehow, some way it will be made available.

Can you elaborate on how your fund raising campaign will support this project?

Our Indiegogo campaign launches on August 4th on the 123rd anniversary of the
Borden murders. All funds will go directly into producing Defending Lizzie. We
have a “bare bones” budget, that will able us to shoot 90% of the movie in
Florida, and just get exterior shots of a few locations in Fall River. If we are lucky
enough to get the full amount needed, we would spend about 16 days of
production in Fall River. The budget is as big as it is because that’s what is costs
to make this type of movie. The fact that we are paying our cast and crew,
separates us from other independent films. I strongly believe in compensating
everyone that is working on this production. They have a talent whether it’s in
front of the camera or behind, and without them we have no movie.

Aside from Lizzie, who do you consider the most compelling character in the Borden case?

Andrew Borden.  It is interesting to me that a man would build himself up from
basically nothing, and become a successful business man then live as frugal as
he did. I can understand not wanting a flashy lifestyle, but not to even have
indoor plumbing is really penny-pinching.

What would you like to say about the film or the Borden case given this
opportunity?

Defending Lizzie will be in a class all of its own when it comes to telling the
Lizzie Borden story.  At its heart, it’s a murder mystery and the Borden case
could not be a better story to tell.  Defending Lizzie will be what movies used to
be like, a story is driven by characters, an interesting plot, and of course –
mystery.

Do you think Lizzie was guilty?

Not sure, I’m on the fence with that. I know that as the director, I want to show
Lizzie had another side. She has always been portrayed as a heartless, selfish, little brat. There is another side of Lizzie, a side of her that other movies
haven’t shown, a side that will make you feel sorry for her if she truly is
innocent of the murders. Lizzie, in this story, is walking a fine line between being
innocent and guilty

Defending Lizzie – Finally, a  feature length, theatrical movie – – –  filmed in the right place.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in Theatre & Film, TV, Theatre & Film