Lifetime axes ‘Lizzie Borden’

“Lizzie Borden Took an Axe,” a movie that is based on a true story illustrates the murder that has remained a legend in American society. In a majority of well-known murder cases, the tribute usually goes to the person or persons who were killed.  But in this case the believed murderer, Lizzie Borden, is the main fascination and focus.  

“Lizzie Borden took an axe.  Gave her mother forty whacks.  When she saw what she had done.  She gave her father forty-one.” This nursery rhyme embellished and continued Lizzie Borden’s legacy to inspire for over a century. Today there are still movies, books, songs and theater performances being made about this horrific controversy.

Borden’s stepmother, Abby Borden, was stuck with a one-handed axe 19 times and the father, Andrew Borden, was struck 10 times on his skull approximately two hours later. 

Premiering on the Lifetime channel last Saturday night was another recreation of the scandalous murder of Mr. and Mrs. Borden.  “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” incorporates the true facts of the story, but includes the ways they believe Borden tried to hide the evidence of this controversial murder. 

The movie provided an interesting insight into the crime as the majority of the scenes matched what actually happened.  Except some events such as burning the dress, committing the crimes naked, or knowing for sure that Borden killed her parents are not proven.  

The movie started with the day of the murder as Borden finds her father dead on the couch in the sitting room. After that dramatic event, the movie flashbacks to when tensions began to arise greatly in the Borden household. Borden’s father, Andrew Borden, kept her on a tight leash and she felt she was kept in a prison at her father’s rule.  

With a four-person household and two dead, investigation began and Borden was a prime suspect.  Other than the housekeeper, Bridget, who was cleaning the windows outside, there was no one else on the property the day of the murders.  Even though there was no physical evidence to prove that Borden was the murderer, there has been no other explanation that makes sense. 

Another interesting aspect is how Borden’s story about what happened that day was not consistent. Her story was constantly changing because she could not keep up with her lies.  She said she was in the barn during the murder to find her fishing supplies, but later investigators found out she never owned any fishing supplies.  She also told the police that she was downstairs when her father came home but then later said she was upstairs.  

By being upstairs the assumption was made that she had just killed her stepmother in the guest bedroom where she was found.  Approximately two hours later, her father was murdered, which meant that the murderer had to remain hiding in the house until no one was around and for the father to fall asleep.  

Christina Ricci played Borden and she played the role perfectly by expressing the hidden rebellious secretive side.  She conveys a look in her eye as an entry into her psychotic mind.  She put on a front to hide behind another persona that she was only a woman so there was no possible way she commit this crime.  

In this era, murders of this sort were unheard of, especially by a woman.  One of the main reasons this case remains unsolved is because people believed a fragile beautiful woman such as Borden could not kill her own parents so violently.  

This suspenseful thriller was informative to be able to see the overall history of the Borden case while taking artistic license with the story.  For a Lifetime movie, this was a well-done method to tie the whole storyline of Borden together into a intriguing fashion.