The story of Steven Truscott is more like one of a Hollywood crime movie than true life.
Steven was arrested and sentenced to death in 1959 for the rape and killing of a schoolmate two years younger than himself when he was 14-years-old.
Throughout the trial, and his subsequent imprisonment, Steven maintained his innocence. Fortunately, his execution was not carried out, and instead his sentence was changed to life in prison.
Steven Truscott’s now wife, Marelene Truscott, became interested in his case seven years after his trial after reading a book by a journalist who believed in his innocence. Believing in his innocence herself, Marlene even helped with a failed appeal to get the conviction overturned.
A decade after his trial, Steven Truscott was paroled; he changed his name and moved to Vancouver to start a new life, eventually reconnecting Marlene. They soon fell in love and were married, Marlene always believing in his innocence.
Nearly five decades later, in 2007, Steven’s claims of innocence were vindicated when his verdict was overturned, thanks to the help and work of Marlene, who pored over literally thousands of documents looking for the information which subsequently cleared Steven’s name.
While the Truscott story has been told through several books over the years, it has now been turned into a feature film titled Marlene, penned and produced by Calgary filmmaker Wendy Hill-Tout.
“It was a real travesty of justice,” said Hill-Tout, about why she made the film.
“(Marlene) was like a dog with a bone. Eventually they won their case.”
According to Hill-Tout, it took close to 10 years to get the film from inception to filming, with the film ready for release in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the producers of the film put it on the festival circuit where the film’s art department won some awards for their showcasing of the sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties.
With healthcare restrictions easing, the show is now touring Ontario and Western Canada, with a stop scheduled in Stettler on May 11 at the Jewel Theatre with a 6 p.m. showtime.
“It was special to direct this one,” said Hill-Tout.
“It’s so great to have an audience again.”
Hill-Tout and Alberta actor Aidan Fink, who plays 14-year-old Steven, will be on hand at the Stettler screening for a question and answer session after the screening.