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Gerardo (Gassman) starts out as a vaudeville performer and noting that acting abilities can be used for less legit purposes, he creatively assumes different guises in order to con people out of anything from a pair of shoes to ultimately mucho lira. In one of his escapades he passes himself off as Greta Garbo, donning an appropriate disguise, and has all manner of paparazzi ready to take the bait. He did not learn all his inventive and often spontaneous tricks alone, his cellmate Chinotto (Peppino de Filippo) was a great mentor. But even his cellmate could not coach him on how to remain single after his girlfriend Annalise (Anna Maria Ferrero) sets her heart on matrimony.