An often underrated or simply overlooked figure of note in the history of Italian cinema, Pietro Germi had the misfortune to be labeled a "follower" of such seminal figures as Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio de Sica and Cesare Zavattini in the annals of the most notable and studied movement within Italian film, neorealism. Simultaneously, he was castigated for not following the movement closely enough, seemingly indulging his fondness for Hollywood films and genre formulas, making crime films and Westerns at first and later specializing in comedy. As the "art cinema" distribution circuit grew in the 1950s and 60s, Germi was usually not deemed quite as distinctive or as idiosyncratic as the filmmakers who benefited most from such modes, namely Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini. Finally, Germi's work was often simply too popular in his native land to be taken as anything but enjoyably crafted fodder. It is true, of course, that some of Germi's hard-hitting dramas and his darkly satirical comedies were acclaimed internationally, so he is not an entirely unknown or unappreciated figure (his best known film, "Divorce Italian Style" 1961, even won an Academy Award). And one might argue as well that perhaps his oeuvre is not quite as great as that of some of his contemporaries. But what is equally true is that for some time Germi's work was too often considered for what it was not, rather than appreciated simply for what it was, outside narrow frameworks of comparative context. For this "craftsman" was also an artist with an arresting visual style and often ferociously expressed (whether dramatically or comically) thematic interests.