A year before breaking through with his celebrated farce Big Deal on Madonna Street, Mario Monicelli made the black comedy A Hero of Our Times, its title ironically reflecting the impoverished economy and morality of postwar Italy. Alberto Sordi (I Vitelloni) stars as Alberto Menichetti, a hard-charging boor who distrusts everyone he can’t manipulate. Emasculated at work and in the home he shares with his aunt, he resolves to exploit the affections of his widowed boss (Franca Valeri). Based on the best-selling novel by Vasco Pratolini and bolstered by a supporting cast of past and future talents, from Alberto Lattuada (director of Sweet Deceptions, also screening in this series) as the president of Alberto’s firm to spaghetti Western staple Bud Spencer (acting under his real name, Carlo Pedersoli).