“I am a Ligurian but I have three-quarters Sicilian blood.” This is what Paolo Villaggio loved to repeat. In fact, Palermo’s blood was flowing in his veins. Filming begins on the TV movie “How Man Is” produced by Oceans Productions for Ray, which tells the story of the famous actor and comedian. The feature film begins in Genoa in the second half of the 1950s. Paolo Villaggio and his “gang” of friends from the Genoese bourgeoisie, consisting of a very young Fabrizio D’Andre, “polio”, a professor of literature in a wheelchair, and Piero, Paolo’s different twin, carry out their merry nighttime raids. But while Pollio and Piero work and study during the day, Paolo and Fabrizio sleep and in their spare time compose songs like “i Fannulloni” and “Carlo Martello.” Paolo, a law student with a blank transcript, carries off his girlfriend, Maura, and marries her at city hall wearing a T-shirt, clogs, and swim trunks.
His father, an engineer from Palermo, fed up with Paolo’s indecisiveness, forces him to face his responsibilities as a parent and finds him a job at Cosider. Paolo stays there for about seven years: years of yawning, absent-mindedness and naval battles with his office colleague, the accountant Bianchi (the prototype of Fantozzi). The years Paolo endured only thanks to his “performances” as an artist in the theater company of Baistrucci, where he presented the audience with caustic humor with the embryos of his future characters.
It was precisely in the Teatro Genoa that he was discovered by Maurizio Costanzo, after he had gone there to see Janacci, who was sick instead, and who was replaced at the last minute by Paolo, who was thrown onto the stage by Ivo Chiesa. Costanzo offers him a contract at the 7×8 Roman cabaret theater. Moura, who knows Paolo’s struggle, resisting this job, convinces him to leave the certain for the uncertain, and pushes him to try for artistic success.
Since then, there has been a surge of successes, ranging from radio with “il Sabato del Villaggio” to a new way of making television with “Quelli della Domenica” in 1968, in which Paolo played the role of the aggressive and clumsy German magician, Professor Kranz (inspired by his mother ), who mistreats the audience, then the employee Fracchia in “It’s Sunday, but Without Commitment”, all the way to the first two films and two books about the accountant Fantozzi, who is the character of the new employee, who will give him a chance. He achieved great success in theaters in 1975, and bid farewell to his “mask”. In the history of cinema.
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