La Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna

Ennio Morricone

" La Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donnais is an overtly psychedelic score that becomes a hallucinating, nightmarish experience. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

La Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna (A Lizard in a Woman's Skin) is a 1971 Giallo directed by Lucio Fulci. The quintessential element of this murder mystery is the fine line between what is real and what is unreal; has a murder really taken place, or was it merely a dream... It results in some impressively choreographed dream sequences, an overall demonic nightmarish tone and´functional´ eroticism.

Ennio Morricone has written influential works for Italian Giallos, including the important Un Tranquillo Posto di Campagna, L'Uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo and Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura, while La Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna is also an impressive effort.

It comes as no surprise that in this kind of film Morricone gladly accepted the challenge to composer an experimental, psychedelic score, but not entirely without musical concession, an element also vital to the Giallo genre. The opening cue displays a soothing piece sung by the wordless vocals of Edda Dell'Orso, which is simply very groovy and catchy, which is a key element in scores to Giallos, while introducing us to some instruments, the outlandish synthesizer wave, and a brilliant echoing motif for piano and flute that often returns. It is exemplary of the soothing material that Morricone redefined with his Giallo music to L'Uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo. It's lyrical and instantly loveable, as is the more emotional theme as heard in Sole sulla pelle, often revisited in the film in fragmented musical statements.

There are a significant amount of cues driven by conventional rhythmic bass (A Lucio Fulci) and groovy rhythms (Giorno di notte), which are always supported by a certain degree of sharp and experimental tones from strings, electric guitar, offbeat woodwinds, disorientating synthesizers, eerie brass. Furthermore, there are these two lovely solo organ cues, ´La lucertola´ (01:32 and (01:34)

La Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna is an overtly psychedelic score that becomes a hallucinating, nightmarish experience, a non-traditional musical journey, which thrives on a great level of unexpectedness. As the composer grew older, and the creativity of Italian filmmaking in the 1960s and 1970s died, his idiosyncratic, experimental sound became more limited, often seeking a sound deriving from traditional orchestral elements. For instance, he would rely on staccato piano, brass and string in random scores, which sometimes was very appealing, but could also be yet another routine suspense idea. Naturally, I speak in terms of generality, but to anyone knowledgeable enough to evaluate the maestro's career, will recognize this. Luckily, more ´recent´ years of his career showed some significant works that bring back to mind his most experimental phase, relatively uncompromising works, and music that takes you on a memorable journey, such as La Sconosciuta (2006) and La Sindrome di Stendhal (1996). Still, and I say this with such a great appreciation of his experimental works, the kind of music I have become to like most, even his non-film works with Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, never fulfilled a longing to even more experimental music.

La Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna does feature an element that is quite intolerable, unlike the experimental nature which I eternally love, which is the quirky, infamous whistling. The investigating detective Coving is a compulsive whistler, evidently dubbed throughout the film, based on the whistling in Morricone's score, heard in ´Che strano´ and ´Mimetizzata´. The actual original score doesn't feature the rather estranging whistle all that much, so the character's compulsiveness makes for an aggravating experience in the film. I cannot enjoy the score as much as I could prior to seeing the film, but in evaluating the entire score in terms of its musical merits, it is something easily forgiven, and something rather iconic really. The whistle melody was originally written for the 1969 Senza Sapere Niente Di Lei, heard in the Ricordo cue.

The score premiered in an hour-long release by Screentax in 1996, followed by a Dagored release in 2000, adding twelve more minutes, only to receive an impressive almost 90 minutes long release by Beat records in 2014. As an independent listening experience, the Dagored release is superb, whereas the Screentax misses some valuable material, and the Beat release adds some repetitive material.

Tracklist (Beat records)

Disc 1
1. La lucertola (06:25)
2. Magia nera (02:40)
3. Giorno di notte (04:41)
4. La lucertola (01:32)
5. Che strano (03:36)
6. Mimetizzata (04:31)
7. Notte di giorno (04:42)
8. Sfinge (04:36)
9. Spostato ad est (02:19)
10. A Lucio Fulci (05:27)
11. Spiriti (02:11)
12. Ancora ad est (03:18)

Disc 2
1. Sole sulla pelle (04:18)
2. Nenia per una bambola (03:16)
3. Che strano (02:37)
4. Giorno di notte (04:44)
5. Sfinge (02:14)
6. Fondate paure (02:48)
7. Mimetizzata (03:45)
8. A Lucio Fulci (04:01)
9. La lucertola (01:34)
10. Che strano (01:52)
11. Notte di giorno (05:11)
12. La lucertola (06:32)

Total Duration: 01:28:50

Tracklist (Dagored)
1. La lucertola (06:26)
2. Magia nera (02:34)
3. Giorno di notte (04:41)
4. Fondate paure (02:43)
5. Che strano (03:34)
6. Mimetizzata (04:28)
7. Sole sulla pelle (04:18)
8. Sfinge (04:35)
9. Spostato ad est (02:17)
10. A Lucio Fulci (05:29)
11. Nenia per una bambola (03:17)
12. Spiriti (02:11)
13. Ancora ad est (03:19)
14. Sfinge (II Version) (02:15)
15. Che strano (II Version) (02:37)
16. Mimetizzata (II Version) (03:46)
17. Notte di giorno (04:42)
18. A Lucio Fulci (II Version) (04:00)
19. La lucertola (II Version) (06:28)

Total Duration: 01:13:40

(written 12-07-2020)
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(total of 1 votes - average 5/5)

Released by

Beat records (regular release 2014)