The life and times of Italy's King Ferdinand are played for laughs in this comic historical piece directed by Lina Wertmuller. Set in the 18th century, Ferdinando E Carolina opens with the aging Ferdinand falling ill and being taken to his bed, with his life story told in flashback. A naturally rambunctious and impetuous child, Ferdinand grows to young adulthood and is poised to take over the crown at 16. The powers behind the throne have arranged a marriage with a princess from Austria (despite the fact that Ferdinand has already taken a lover), but she dies of smallpox before the wedding can take place; her sister is next proposed as a fitting mate, but then she dies as well. When a third sister, Maria Carolina, is presented, Ferdinand is decidedly unenthusiastic, given the family's track record on the path to the altar. But when Ferdinand's advisors (and Carolina's mother) start to lean on him, he agrees, and he soon discovers on their honeymoon that he and Carolina get along famously in the bedroom, if nowhere else. While Ferdinand is never quite cured of his roving eye, Carolina soon has the King under her spell, and her political power soon rivals his own. While much of the cast of Ferdinando E Carolina (aka Ferdinand and Carolina) are newcomers, veteran Italian film stars Silvana De Santis and Mario Scaccia appear in supporting roles.