by Ernesto G. Laura - Compiled by A.N.I.C.A. (National Association of Motion Pictures and Affiliated Industries) Rome, Italy - Edited by CIES Soc. Coop. r.1 (Institute for the Promotion of Italian Motion Pictures Abroad) Rome, Italy under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment
It was not surprising, therefore, that producers thought of counteracting the influx of Hollywood film revues with Italian film revues linked, to be sure, to the popularity of a given comedian but most of all entrusted to the richness of the cast, the number of chorus girls, the quality of the scenery and choreography. After DOVE STA ZAZA? [WHERE'S ZAZA?: 1948] of Giorgio C. Simonelli, with Nino Taranto, and I POMPIERI DI VIGGIU [THE VIGGIU FIRE-BRIGADE: 1949] of Mario Mattoli, with Toto, the most ambitious attempt was represented by BOTTA E RISPOSTA [QUESTION AND ANSWER], directed in 1950 by highly respected writer and director Mario Soldati, and starring the Italian comics Taranto and Renato Rascel, the Frenchman Fernandel and the American Louis Armstrong, with the sophisticated choreography of Katherine Dunham. The film-revue genre failed, however, to get off the ground and almost immediately died out.
The popularity of the comedians remained so producers got the idea of making low-budget films to order for them, shot in haste and dumped onto the market. Every comedian who met with the slightest success in the music-hall was given his films: the above-mentioned Taranto and Rascel, Carlo Dapporto, Macario, Walter Chiari, Toto.