Act of the Heart


1h 43m 1970

Brief Synopsis

Martha Hayes, a woman fanatically devoted to Jesus Christ, ekes out a meager existence in Montreal, Canada. As a singer in an Anglican Church choir, Martha meets and is fascinated by Father Michael Ferrier, an Augustinian monk who's the guest conductor for an interfaith concert. How far is Martha willing to go to show her devotion to God?

Film Details

Also Known As
Acte du coeur
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Nov 1970
Production Company
Quest Film Productions
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 43m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

Martha Hayes, a religious young woman from a rural province in Canada, arrives in Montreal to earn money for her parents and finds lodgings with Johane Foss, a widow who is seeking a tutor for her son, Russell. A Protestant who sings in the church choir, Martha is thrilled to be selected by Father Michael Ferrier, an Augustinian monk, to sing a solo in the church concert. Working closely with Martha, Father Ferrier explains the strict religious beliefs of his order, including St. Augustine's symbolic association with the flaming heart. Martha soon finds her feelings for Father Ferrier developing into love. When Russell is injured in a hockey game, Martha comforts Johane at the hospital by reminding her that God will look after her son, but when they receive news that Russell has died, Martha feels that God has abandoned her and rushes to Father Ferrier's church. They begin an emotional argument that ends with their making love in the church. Father Ferrier leaves his order to live with Martha, who takes a job singing in a nightclub, and Ferrier begins broadcasting a social crusade on radio and writing for a local newspaper. Disheartened by his crusade's lack of success, he explains to Martha that an "act of the heart" is needed to attract public attention. After Ferrier has left for a television program, Martha goes out to a field, pours gasoline on her head, and sets fire to herself.

Film Details

Also Known As
Acte du coeur
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Nov 1970
Production Company
Quest Film Productions
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 43m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Montreal and Rivière du Loup, Quebec. Opened in Montreal in September 1970 as Acte du coeur.

Miscellaneous Notes

The Country of Canada

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970