The film stock was colorized with 4 colors and distributed worldwide by Caesar Film.
Assunta Spina is a laundress living in Naples, engaged to a violent butcher named Michele Mangiafuoco. She is also courted intensely by Raffaele. When she accepts Raffaele's offer to dance during an open air feast in Posillipo because she feels Michele is ignoring her, tragedy strikes. Michele, blinded by rage, slashes her face and is subsequently arrested. During the trial she bears witness in order to rescue him, saying he never wounded her, but the jury does not believe her. She is enticed by the court vice-chancellor to strike a bargain—Michele will stay in the nearby prison of Naples instead of Avellino, and at the end of the punishment Michele will kill the vice-chancellor before Assunta's eyes. She must take responsibility for the act before the eyes of the police in order to save her man.
For example, the movie Cabiria by Giovanni Pastrone (1914)—one of the first known films where a camera moves through scenes while filming—was once considered a masterpiece at least in part because D'Annunzio had written the captions, but to modern moviegoers they seem excessively emphatic and redundant. The same can be said of the marked gestures of many actors and actresses of the silent era. Bertini wanted to end this affected behavior, so she focused on realism. Her performances bear a closer resemblance to reality because of some acting devices: never look into the camera, use everyday gestures, and so on. The lunch scene in Assunta Spina, for example, still has impact because of these devices. The attempt to reflect reality also reduced the need for captions explaining the action. Even though only a single year passed between the release of Cabiria and Assunta Spina, there seems to be at least a decade's worth of difference in artistic subtlety and nuance.