The Legend of Lizzie Borden

Synopsis: Elizabeth Montgomery stars as Lizzie Borden, a 19th-century Massachusetts woman, who is put on trial for the brutal slaughter of her father and step-mother in the family mansion. She is accused of hacking up her parents with an ax after carefully removing her clothes to avoid bloodstains. Based on fact and considered shocking at the time for a TV-movie.
Director(s): Paul Wendkos
Production: Paramount Television
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations.
96 min

Doctor Bowen, please!

Is he coming?

He's not at home.


Good morning, Lizzie

I've just been out shopping.

The stores are like ovens.

Lizzie, what is it?

Oh, Miss Churchill, do come in.

Someone has killed father.


In the sitting room.

You see? I'm... I'm glad you're here, Alice.

I came as soon as Bridget told me.

It's going to be all right.

Everything's going to be all right.

It's going to be all right.

He's been dead less than half an hour.

Where's your sister, Lizzie?

She's visiting the Braunagels

in Fairhaven.

I'll call at once,

I'll ask my wife to send a telegram.

Thank you, Dr. Bowen.

You must try with me.

Will you like it like that?

Come on. All right.

Almost. There you are.

I haven't seen your stepmother, Lizzie.

Is Abby out?

Yes, but I thought I heard her come back.

She's probably in her room.

Nobody is back, miss Lizzie.

I looked when I fetched the sheets.

Then try up front.

She must be in the spare room.

- Yes, Miss Lizzie.

- Oh, Maggie, do as I say.

I'm not going up there alone!

Oh, come along, Bridget,

I'll go with you. Come on!

You must get some rest.

What is it?

Well, why did you send me the telegram?

- What was it?

- She... She's up there!



Thank you.

Good day, Miss Borden.

Miss Emma?

I'm sorry, Emma, but I must.

It's all right.

It's okay, Julien.

I'll stay as long as you need me.

Thank you.


She's in her room.


Did you... Kill father?

No, Emma.

I did not.

No more, Emma, please, no more.

Lizzie, doctor Bowen says...

But I can't think, I can't think.

What is that he's giving me?

It's just something to quieten your nerves.

But I m-, I must think, I must.

- Hush...

- Papa..

Somebody killed father. Why?



You must put all that out of your mind now.

You never should have gone away, Emma.

I know, I know, dear.

But I'm back now.

What are we going to do, Em?

I've always looked after you, haven't I?

Just like I promised mother.

Yes, Em. Well, then.

You see?

Everything is going to be all right.

You... Just go to sleep now.

Yes, Em.

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Dear God in heaven, forgive us our sins.

Dear God in heaven...

Excuse me.

Couldn't wear black.

At least veils.

Not even a tear.

It was a terrible ordeal.

Miss Borden.

A word with you, sir.

Who are you?

Can't you see I'm busy?

I'm the city marshall, I tell you,

we have instructions for you.

- Instructions?

- After the family has left the graveside,

both bodies have to be taken

to a receiving tomb

- where the heads have to be removed.

- Removed?

And shipped to Edward Wood, professor of

forensic medicine at Harvard University.

On whose order, may I ask?

His honor, the mayor.

Naturally, the sisters are not to be told.

As you were saying, Mister Mayor?

I have a request to make of the family.

Please remain inside the house

for a few days,

it will be better for all concerned.

Why, is someone here suspected?

I want to know the truth.

- Lizzie, please, don't... Don't upset yourself.

- I want to know the truth, Emma.

Well, miss Borden, as much

as I regret to tell you, yes,

you are suspected.

We... Tried to keep it from her

as long as we could.

I'm ready to go now.

Oh, that won't be necessary.

If you're disturbed by the crowds out there,

just notify the officer in the yard.

Then I'm to be a prisoner in my own home?

You shall have all the protection

the police department can afford.

Well, we shan't trouble you any further.

Naturally, we want to do

all we can to help in this matter.

There will, of course, be an inquest,

closed to the public, if you prefer.

Whatever you wish.

My name is Bridget Sullivan.

I'm 26 years old and unmarried.

How were you adressed

in the Borden household?

I was sometimes called Maggie,

but only by miss Emma and miss Lizzie.

How long were you in Mister Borden's employ?

Two years and nine months

at the time of his death.

And did the Bordens keep

any other domestic servants?

Well, sometimes a young man came from

the farm to chop wood,

but he hasn't been round

since last winter.

Then you and miss Borden were the only

persons in the house

the morning of the slayings?

- Aside from the victims.

- Yes, sir.

Now, miss Sullivan, can you describe

the events of that morning

from the time you arose?

It was very hot that day, I...

I... I felt a sort of a dull

headache as I got up.

It must have been the mutton broth

from the night before.

Mutton broth?

Yes, sir.

- We'd had it for five days running.

- I see.

And was Miss Borden also sick that morning?

Not at all.

She seemed to have enough to eat.

Good morning, Mister Borden.

There is that Johnny cakes

or cookies for breakfast.

Which shall it be?

Johnny cakes and cookies.

No appetite for your indigestible

Irish stuff this morning.

Any more of that mutton and broth?

Yes, sir, but I suspect

it's gone off in this heat.

Really wants to be choked out,

it's not fit for human consumption.

Well, it's not, want not, serve it!

Meany old skinflint!

Watch your tongue.

I've heard you calling him it often enough.

Still, it's not your place.

After I served themselves breakfast,

I commenced to wash up.

That's when Mr. Borden left for downtown.

You locked the door after him?

Yes, sir, I locked it.

Mr. Borden was very strict about that.

When I finished my dishes,

I took them into the dining room.

Mrs. Borden was there, dusting.

- Where is father?

- Went downtown.

He left while you were upstairs.

Oh, Bridget, get your pail and some water.

I want the windows washed.

Today, Mrs. Borden?

It's awful hot.

Inside and outside, both,

they're intolerably dirty.

Please, Mrs. Borden...

Look, I'm feeling poorly today.

Couldn't it wait, perhaps?

Stinking milk cow!

I went down into the cellar and got a pail

and a brush and went outdoors.

I started to work on the north

side of the house.

Maggie, are you going to be

out there long?

Yes, but you needn't lock the door

unless you want to.

I can get fresh water from the barn.

After a while,

Mrs. Kellysberg came to the fence

and I went over to talk to her.

Then I went back to me work.

There's a lot of windows in that house

and I had to go to the barn

three or four times for fresh water.

During all that time, I...

Did not see anybody come to the house

until Mr. Borden came home.

Is there any mail?

Not for you.

Where is Abby?

She had a note and went out.

Did she say where?

Someone in town was sick, I think.

Would you like to take a nap

before dinner?

After I've read my paper.

There's a cheap sale of dress goods

at Sergeant's this afternoon.

Eight cents a yard.

- Aye, I'm going to have some.

But not today in this heat.

I feel too ill.

Why don't you finish those windows later?

You can rest before the new meal.

I think I'll do just that.

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William Bast

William Bast (April 3, 1931 – May 4, 2015) was an American screenwriter and author. In addition to writing scripts for motion pictures and television, he was the author of two biographies of the screen actor James Dean. He often worked with his lover Paul Huson. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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