The Legend of Lizzie Borden - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Legend of Lizzie Borden Reviews

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½ April 9, 2014
"The Legend of Lizzie Borden" is so good not only in its performances, direction, and overall production, it is historically accurate. Nominated for 5 emmys including for best actress, this film won for outstanding costume design and film editing. Actress Elizabeth Montgomery known for television's "Bewitched," gives a surprisingly chilling and unforgettable performance as Lizzie Borden. The effective use of authentic speech and dress attire of the period makes the viewer feel at once he has traveled back to 1892. "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" at times appears dimly lit as if shot with oil lamps in the Borden home, giving the film a wonderful dark sinister look. As the camera closes in and focuses on Lizzie Borden's face, the film flashbacks to important scenes in Lizzie's life, sometimes contradicting courtroom testimony. An interesting fact (although she did not know it) is lead actress Elizabeth Montgomery was actually a distant cousin of Lizzie Borden herself! As cold detached Lizzie, Montgomery is subtle and unpredictable in her expressions and demeanor. The viewer can see there is something going on behind Lizzie Borden's seemingly unemotional facade, and gets a glimpse of a disturbed woman with secrets. Elizabeth Montgomery shot some key scenes in the nude (in a closed set) to show one possible theory of how Lizzie Borden could have murdered her stepmother and father without getting any blood on her. However because this was a movie made for television, it does not show nudity. The only few distractions that perhaps take away from an otherwise perfect film are spots when a few scenes fade to black, indicating where t.v. commercials were placed. Elizabeth Montgomery breathes life in her disturbing portrayal of Lizzie Borden and is convincing in a very difficult role that earned her an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination. The story and events are examined and much of the film takes place in the courtroom with actual testimony taken from the real Borden trial. The maid Bridget Sullivan (Fionnula Flanigan) and the determined prosecutor, Hosea Knowlton (Ed Flanders)are captivating. Resembling the family patriarch, Fritz Weaver gives a fascinating performance as the complex Andrew Borden. Flashbacks of Lizzie Borden as a child and her father add mystery to the story. This production follows historical accounts with accuracy and detail. "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" premiered in February of 1975 with no special effects. The film relies on it's performances and a story brilliantly recreated about the infamous hatchet murders of Fall River, Massachusetts. The haunting score from Billy Goldenberg enhances the creepy feel to the film. "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" is mesmerizing and a must see!
½ November 7, 2012
I love Elizabeth Montgomery.
August 14, 2012
It was a very thrilling movie. I particularly liked it because it was based off of a real murder. I think Elizabeth Montgomery did a great job playing a role completely opposite of her role on bewitched.
January 9, 2012
legend is what it is. still being talked in many regions of the country.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2011
It's a traditional thriller except that it's based on real events. In fact, the movie claims that it's considered to be one of the most infamous and bizarre cases of the 19th century. Just because I'd never heard of it before doesn't change the fact. Putting aside the topic of my (never-ending) ignorance, while it might be considered well executed for a TV movie that released more than 35 years ago, it didn't suit my taste. Almost all the old-fashioned horror elements were present: an actress laughing loudly, behaving weirdly almost all the time, the sound of ticking of clocks, etc. It's kinda Montgomery's transformation to Psycho. Whatever it was, I failed to like it. Since it's "based on a true story", they could have put the creative license to better use. Some of the facts that are twisted don't do any good to the movie. Despite of its gritty subject, they should have added a few light moments. The lack of light moments was another let-down. The dialogues weren't effective either. The rhyme towards the end was exceptionally great, though.
½ November 23, 2009
the scary thing was everything in this movie was true! and i'll never view samantha the witch the same way again
½ January 1, 2009
I saw this film many years ago. After reading a book on Lizzie I decided I needed to see it again. It wasn't easy to get but worth it
½ December 1, 2008
nice to see her out of a 'bewitched' context, but besides solid enough acting from all participants this is rather poor storytelling. we know the result, and see it straight away. which makes us wonder why we're going through her trial, etc. she did it, she killed her whole family, lock her up already!
Super Reviewer
½ June 30, 2008
Great performance by Elizabeth Montgomery, good period feeling, far superior to most made for TV movies. Shows what the medium is capable of.
½ June 28, 2008
I love his movie. i especially love elizabeth montgomery's acting. she goes from all sweet, nice, and sane as samantha on bewitched to a complete nut job as lizzie borden lol. this movie touches on some of the rumors of lizzie's life ('specially her relationship with her dad). but through the movie they portray her as either guilty or innocent, u'll hafta watch and see how they saw her. i was super lucky to find it on a site online and i bought it, yay!
June 2, 2008
This movie scared the shit out of me, only because it is based upon a true story.
February 20, 2008
Elizabeth Montgomery does an excellent job.
½ February 10, 2008
When this came out....I was blown away. I guess my first taste of murder....and I love the song. hahahahahahaha
November 17, 2007
Elizabeth Montgomery at her best. I saw this years ago and liked it then.
November 13, 2007
Without trying to sound sadistic, I love this old, true murder mystery. Hadn't realized there was a movie about it. I've only seen what was shown on the History channel. I'll have to try to rent this.
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2007
A courtroom drama, a murder mystery, and a horror film. Mr. and Mrs. Borden are found hacked up by axe one morning in historical smalltown Fall River, Massachusetts. Everyone is suspicious of the daughter, Lizzie Borden, played chillingly and charmingly by Elizabeth Montgomery.

A powerful and haunting film, as we flash back to the events leading up to the murder during the trial scenes. Part of the effectiveness is the spooky music.
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