I'll Sell My Skin Dearly Review
Vendo Cara la Pelle
The only spaghetti western by Fizzarotti, best known (in his home country) as a director of so-called musicarelli; it stars French-American actor Mike Marshall, who had already appeared in Con lui cavalca la morte; his character is called Shane (!) and he's on his way back to his home ground to avenge his father, mother and sister. They were all slaughtered by a greedy rancher called Magdalena (!), who wants to have the entire valley for his own. The event has turned Shane into a merciless killer who disposes of his victims in a cruel, occasionally barbaric fashion. He is ambushed by the alarmed villains and shot in the leg, but is saved and nursed back to health by a widow and her young son. The experience softens his heart, but Magdalena is now interested in the widow's ranch ...
The script is a nice combination of two famous westerns, Death rides a Horse and - of course - Shane. But from each film, a character is missing. The massacre of the family - shown in a flashback - is similar to the opening scene of Death rides a Horse and we also get a scene with Marshall practicing his shooting skills near the place where his family was buried, like John-Philip Law did in Petroni's movie. The person missing, is of course the Lee van Cleef character, the 'good criminal' who was present at the scene of the massacre. Well, he is not completely absent (I mean the character, not Lee): he (re)appears shortly before the final shootout between Shane and Magdalena: he is ... but I won't give it away, it's a well-contrived plot element you have to discover yourself.
With the camera focusing on Marshall's wide open, steel blue eyes, this Shane looks more like a psychotic killer than a western hero, and - as said - his behavior is likewise in a couple of scenes. Marshall is not a great actor (like some have said his eyes are the only things shining) but the revenge theme is overall well-handled. The background story - the Shane factor, so to speak - about the villain coveting the properties of local farmers - is far less successful. We get a boy (he has a dog and plays the harmonica!) who admires Shane and gets some shooting lessons from him, plus a mother who fancies the blond gunman but ... there's no father, so in this film Shane can come back after his departure direction sunset (you'll hear the voice of Brandon de Wilde echoing in your head: Come back Shane!).
The conflict depicted in Shane is that of homesteaders and townspeople versus ranchers who still believed in free grazing, and a similar theme is suggested here when Magdalena says he needs more space for his horses. Problem is: there are no horses and the deserted valley offers more space than a horse breeder could ever ask for. But this is of course a low-budget Italian genre movie, not a major Hollywood production. All things considered, it's not a bad little spaghetti. There are a few fine lines ("You can bury a corpse, but you can't bury a memory!") plus a great nasty spaghetti moment when the hero buries a man alive. Stelvio Massi's camerawork is fine but the editing is rather sloppy and you notice that Fizzarotti had problems to get his movie at feature length. Conversi, as Magdalena's hot-headed henchman, smacks everybody on the nose, often for no reason at all, and there also an interrogation scene that initially looks promising (there's some Russian roulette involved) but goes on far too long and ends in a ridiculous anticlimax when Conversi starts shooting those who have survived the nasty game ("Here, try my gun!").
Director: Ettore Fizzarotti - Cast: Mike Marshall, Michèle Girardon, Valerio Bartoleschi, Dane Savours, Spartaco Conversi, Serafino Profumo, Ake Wahl, Germano Longo - Music: Enrico Ciacci, Marcello Marocchi
The Musicarello (plural: musicarelli) was a subgenre in Italian cinema, aimed at younger audiences. At the base of the movies, was a hit single by a popular artist. The scripts often reflected a non-conformist, anti-bourgeois attitude and lifestyle, but the message was not political. The successful Elvis Presley vehicles - notably Jailhouse Rock (1957) - were a major source of inspiration; the great breakthrough for the subgenre was I Ragazzi del Juke-box, directed by no other than Lucio Fulci (making his first steps in cinema).
Popular artists whose names are associated with the genre are - among others - Gianni Morandi, Rita Pavone, Adriano Celentano and Bobby Solo.