Freaky Friday: Five Things About The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)


Continuing my Halloween historical series, I’m going way back to a favorite from my youth The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975). This is an actually good movie with excellent performances, a solid script, and even pretty decent historical costumes for ’70s TV.


Elizabeth Montgomery Is Related to Her Character

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)

Yep, Montgomery and Lizzie Borden are sixth cousins once removed. Between that and having played a witch on Bewitched from 1964-1972, she had some spooky cred.

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)



The Irish Maid Is Played by an Irish Actress

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)

Irish Fionnula Flanagan plays the Borden’s maid, Bridget Sullivan, who was originally from Ireland. There’s some historical accuracy for ya.

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)


The Costumes Won an Emmy

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)

Costume designer Guy C. Verhille was presented with an Emmy Award in 1975 for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for this TV movie. He was up against Bob Mackie for the Cher show, among others!

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975) The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)



A Movie Costume Is Displayed at the Lizzie Borden House

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)

One dress from this movie has been on display at the real house for many years. This house is today the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, which has historical displays, and yes, you can sleep in the very guest room where Mrs. Borden was found murdered.

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975) The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)


The Murder Theory in This Movie Is Influential

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)

While it didn’t invent the idea, The Legend of Lizzie Borden did popularize the idea that Lizzie murdered her parents while nude so she didn’t get as much blood on her clothes. That’s obviously a sensational and very filmic idea, though for a 1970s broadcast TV show, all that was seen was Elizabeth Montgomery from the shoulders up. A more recent film gets more explicit. Come back next Friday for that…

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)




Have you seen The Legend of Lizzie Borden?

11 Responses

    • Lmaris

      I wish I’d have known you then, because I too loved the movie in its original airing and would have killed to stay in the house. Probably not literally killed, but only probably.

    • Boxermom

      Why don’t you go by yourself? I went to London and Paris by myself for a week and had a ball (of course, I’m a bit of a loner). :)

  1. bunchesofun

    The movie was very well done except for one thing. Lizzie didn’t do it. The maid did. The maid had motive She was so disrespected that they didn’t even call her by her name, they called her the name of a former maid. She left the house numerous times the morning of the murders and could easily have taken the weapon (which was never found) away from the house. There is a book with this theory, and it made so much sense.

  2. Catherine

    My sister brought me a Borden Bed & Breakfast T-shirt from Fall River – my husband said the place ought to be called Forty Winks and Forty Whacks.

  3. RobinTMP

    I went to the house back in 2000 for my birthday (what can I say? she’s fascinated me for years), and they had a different dress on display, a pale blue lightweight cotton IIRC. Supposedly light blue was Lizzie’s favorite color, or so they said. As far as “who done it”, I’ve seen so many theories over the years that it’s hard to know who to believe, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the one about her being a survivor of sexual abuse at her father’s hands does make a certain amount of sense.

  4. Bonnie-Lynn

    So glad you covered this. I’ve always wondered what Frock Flicks would say about the costumes. And I love the green dress.

  5. darlenemarshall

    I remember that film! Montgomery did such an excellent job portraying Lizzie as this repressed woman who wanted to live a full life. I really remember the creepy scene with her father fondling the corpse of a young woman in the mortuary.