Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm such a do-do bird. Seriously. I made my Top Ten Must See Made for Television Horror Movies of the 70s list with a lot of thought... I swear I did. So how on earth did I forget The Legend of Lizzy Borden?!?

It hit me like a ton of bricks while I was compiling a new list (btw, lists = great distractions at work!). Legend is not just considered a classic made for television movie; it also gave Elizabeth Montgomery some real street cred as an actress. She was so far removed from her sweet witch housewife role in Bewitched that folks could never look at her the same way again. And what came afterwards was a string of interesting, if not completely amazing, roles on the small screen.

I haven't seen this movie in many years but it certainly left its mark on me. Based on a true story, Legend traced the path of Lizzie Borden who was accused of brutally murdering her father and step-mother. At her trial witnesses recount what may or may not have happened. Lizzie keeps a poker face through the proceedings and when it's all over you will still be left with questions. Fantastic storytelling made even better with incredible performances from the entire cast (which include Katherine Helmond from SOAP as the mousy sister), but of course most of the movie’s phenomenal success can be credited to Ms. Montgomery who was so chilling your blood is guaranteed to freeze. No joke.

A Terrifying Beauty

Lizzie was nominated for numerous awards including three Emmy's, winning Best Costume Design and Editing. Elizabeth was nominated for best actress but the award went to Katherine Hepburn for Love Among the Ruins. In fact, Elizabeth never did take home an Emmy, even though she was nominated NINE times! The whole thing is beyond me. If one movie has ever paved the way for an actress to break out of a stereotype, it was Legend. Elizabeth also starred in these other made for television movies:

The Victim (1972)
A Case of Rape (1974)
Dark Victory (1976)
A Killing Affair (1977)
Act of Violence (1979)
The Rules of Marriage (1982)
Missing Pieces (1983)
Second Sight: A Love Story (1984)
Between the Darkness & the Dawn (1985)
Sins of the Mother (1991)
With Murder in Mind (1992)
Black Widow Murders (1993)
The Corpse Had a Familiar Face (1994)
Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan (1995)

Elizabeth was a consummate actress who chose her roles wisely. It was obvious that she loved what she did and we loved watching her. She may have never taken home that coveted statue but she endeared herself forever to fans of the made for television movie. And really, isn’t that way cooler?

1 comment:

Craig Edwards said...

She was a terrifically talented lady and an absolute goddess - Robert Foxworth is one lucky buzzard!