We don’t get a lot of movie premieres here in Guelph, so when one happens it’s kind of a big deal. Coming to the Bookshelf Cinema this Friday is Marlene, the story of self-selecting Guelphites Marlene Truscott and her husband Steven Truscott, whose life story involves one of the worst miscarriages of justice in Canadian history. Now it’s a movie, and according to its director, a romance at that.
Steven Truscott was the youngest person ever to be sentenced to death in Canada, and it was for the 1959 rape and murder of 12-year-old Lynne Harper in Clinton, Ontario. Truscott himself was just 14 at the time, and though he was later remanded to life in prison, he always maintained his innocence. Truscott was paroled in 1969, and was finally acquitted by the Court of Appeal in 2007, 48 years after his conviction.
Throughout much of Truscott’s nearly 50-year journey from condemnation to exoneration, Marlene was by his side though they didn’t meet until years after his conviction. Marlene ended up becoming Steven’s most passionate and vocal advocate, and they got married and had a family together after he was paroled. This was a story ready made for the movies, an innocent man endures a terrible fate only to find great love in his darkest time. It was a story Wendy Hill-Tout wanted to tell.
Hill-Tout joins us on this week’s podcast to talk about the making of Marlene, how she got interested in the story, and why she decided to make Marlene Truscott the point of view for telling it. We also talk about the the political and social issues around Steve Truscott’s experience, like how young Truscott was a victim of the “tough on crime” ethos, how the media played a crucial role in promoting his case, and the role sentencing a 14-year-old to hang played in ending capital punishment in Canada.
So let’s talk about telling Marlene’s story on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
Marlene premieres Friday night at the Bookshelf Cinema with star Kristen Booth and Ryan Truscott in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. Marlene will then screen nightly at the Bookshelf from April 8 to 14. You can learn more about the work of Wendy Hill-Tout by visiting the website for her production company, Voice Pictures.
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Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Image from Marlene courtesy of Voice Pictures.