Napoli, gli inizi del secolo. Assunta Spina è una bella stiratrice ed ha per amante Michele, ma Raffaele continua a girarle attorno. Un giorno, durante il pranzo di onomastico a Marechiaro,...
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Napoli, gli inizi del secolo. Assunta Spina è una bella popolana, padrona di una stireria ed ha per amante Michele, macellaio, che, in un accesso di gelosia, la sfregia. Viene arrestato e ... See full summary »
Napoli, gli inizi del secolo. Assunta Spina è una bella stiratrice ed ha per amante Michele, ma Raffaele continua a girarle attorno. Un giorno, durante il pranzo di onomastico a Marechiaro, la donna invita Raffaele a ballare : per Michele è troppo, prende il coltello e la sfregia. Viene arrestato e condannato a due anni, da scontare nel carcere di Avellino. In tribunale, la donna viene avvicinata da Federigo Funelli, un cancelliere che si offre di aiutarla per far restare Michele a Napoli. La donna accetta l'aiuto dell'uomo e ne diviene l'amante, fino ad innamorarsene. La sera dell'antivigilia di Natale Assunta aspetta Federigo a casa, ma arriva Michele, scarcerato in anticipo. La donna confessa tutto, e l'uomo, pazzo di gelosia, affronta il rivale e lo uccide con un coltello, dileguandosi. Quando arrivano gli agenti, Assunta dichiara di esser stata lei ad uccidere Federigo e viene portata in prigione. Written by
With a relatively simple but well-told story, plus many good atmospheric details, this Italian feature is an effective melodrama that is still worth seeing. It is also worthwhile as a chance to see Francesca Bertini, who was so renowned in her day, in a role that gives her quite a wide variety of material to work with. Her fine performance would be enough to carry the story by itself, but the movie also has several other strengths.
The story itself is relatively straightforward. Assunta (Bertini) is engaged to be married to Michele, but Assunta's old flame Raffaele is too strong-willed to let her go. He makes an ever-greater nuisance of himself, building up quite a bit of tension, which sets off a turbulent sequence of events. The story is set against a believable and realistic background of life in Naples. The on-location filming includes scenes of many of the sights in and around Naples, and is an important part of the film's success. It also works well in putting the main characters into their social setting by, among other things, showing brief glimpses of Michele and Assunta at work.
This is the kind of story that works especially well as a silent film. The ways the characters say things are unimportant - what's important is their relationships and their attitudes, and the cast define these very well without sound. Besides Bertini's starring performance, Gustavo Serena is also quite believable in portraying the mercurial Michele. The story moves at a good pace, without any extraneous padding, and without rushing itself. All in all, it's a worthwhile little movie from the years when feature-length films were just starting to become more common.
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