The “Italian comedy” is a very popular genre born in Italy in the fifties and sixties. The term refers not so much a genre in its own right, like westerns or thrillers, but a time of success in Italian cinema which mostly produced brilliant comedies which shared certain content, such as satire of the bourgeois lifestyle and environment.
The key representatives of the genre are, in addition to Germi, directors such as Mario Monicelli, Luigi Comencini, Steno and Dino Risi, and scriptwriters Age and Scarpelli, Rodolfo Sonego and Suso Cecchi D'Amico. One of the charming things about the genre is precisely the fact that it has no specific canons or definite scripts, but is open to improvisation by the starring actors.
Franco and Ciccio (Francesco Benenato known as Franco Franchi and Francesco Ingrassia known as Ciccio) were Italy's best-known pair of comedians of the sixties and seventies. Together they appeared in 114 films, in many of which they starred, while in others they appeared alongside Totò, Domenico Modugno, Vittorio Gassman and many more.
Though they have been criticized for the quality of their films, often labelled B-movies, made with a small budget and focusing on their ability to improvise, Franco and Ciccio were a great success with audiences and became the most successful pair in Italian cinema in terms of box office takings. Their films and their artistic scope are now a part of the country's cultural heritage of the sixties and seventies.