Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Murmur of the Heart (1971)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Murmur of the Heart (1971, Fr./It./W.Ger.) (aka Le Souffle Au Coeur)

In director Louis Malle's semi-biographical, controversial examination of desire and love in a classic coming of age story in the mid-1950s in France:

  • the scene of 14 year-old Laurent "Renzino" Chevalier's (Benoit Ferreux) two older boastful and pranksterish brothers, Thomas (Fabien Ferreux) and Marc (Marc Winocourt), entering his room and wrestling with him - and then showing off their penis sizes to him and getting a ruler to measure whose was largest: (Thomas: "Bigger than yours already and I'm still growing" Marc: "Midget, wanna see a man's dick? I might scare you"), and then being caught by the housemaid Augusta (Ave Ninchi): ("Filthy pigs! Shame on you")
  • the scene of a lecherous Father Henri (Michael Lonsdale) making a subdued pass at studious Laurent during compulsory confession, who put his hand on Laurent's shoulder, and began asking about his "wicked thoughts," and then gave a long warning about self-abuse: ("Did you abuse yourself again?...How many times?...Alone?...Do you realize how serious this is? If you don't stop these bad habits, God will turn away from you forever. We're all such weak pitiful creatures, prey to the vilest temptations of the flesh. For those who vow chastity, it's a struggle, believe me. Such temptations come with your age, and you give in to them. But watch out. You'll form habits that you'll later find impossible to break. Think of your future wife. She'll expect the same purity of you that you'll expect of her. I'm confident you'll master this. We have high expectations for you"); and then he touched Laurent's leg: ("Why, what muscles? Do you do much swimming?..You've developed a lot in a year. I bet both my hands won't even go around your thighs. See? They don't")
  • the brothel scene in the basement-bar of discotheque L'Oree du Bois (run by Madame Madeleine) where Laurent was taken by his brothers to lose his virginity to prostitute Freda (Gila von Weitershausen), who assured him as they began to undress in a bedroom: "Come sit by me. So this is your first time? Don't worry. I'm used to it. I always get the virgins. Everything'll be all right. Just relax, sweetie. I never kiss customers. That's only for my fiancee. Come here and I'll wash you...Come on. You're cute, you know that? You're big for your age. You're raring to go, I see. Dry off, sweetie. Since this is your first time, I'll take off my bra. But you'll have to help me put it back on. You think I have a nice figure? Do you like me? I've put on some weight lately. The food's so good around here. I hear your friends are paying for this. Nice of them. Is it your birthday? What soft skin! Softer than mine. You okay? Frightened? Don't you worry. I'm very gentle. Everything will be just fine. Just do as I say. I excite you a little, don't I? Let me lie down and you get on top. Ha-ha. What's the rush? There's no meter running. Ouch, that hurts! Gently. I'll give you the rhythm. You like that? Nice, isn't it? Not bad for a beginner. You're gifted. You'll be a lady-killer when you're older"); but then Laurent's brothers disrupted the love-making by barging into the room
  • the sensitively-rendered scenes between Laurent and his adoring Italian mother Clara (Lea Massari), while she helped care for him in a hotel following scarlet fever and a heart murmur; she admitted "I have no sense of modesty" standing in front of him in her bra and panties, but then after she caught him glimpsing her naked in a tub, she slapped him
  • at the hotel, Laurent became interested in two young girls: Hélène and Daphne; he pursued Hélène but she said she would wait to have sex (Laurent accused her of being a lesbian)
Laurent's Incest With His Mother Clara
  • later, Laurent impulsively kissed Clara, telling her: "I think you're great...Whatever you do, I'm on your side"; and the scene of giving comfort to her after she broke up with her lover - and they became more intimate when she helped him shampoo his hair; after getting drunk celebrating Bastille Day, Laurent helped Clara undress before a one-night incestuous love-making, when she told him: "I don't want you to be unhappy, or ashamed, or sorry. We'll remember it as a very beautiful and solemn moment that will never happen again...We'll never mention it again. It'll be our secret. I'll remember it without remorse, tenderly. Promise you'll do the same"

Penis Size Measurements

Father Henri's Pass at Laurent During Confession

Laurent With Prostitute Freda: "What soft skin"

Laurent with Helene


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z