A semi-fictionalized account of the life of Mata Hari, an exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I.




(by), (by) (as Leo Birinski) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Anna Karenina (1935)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The married Anna Karenina falls in love with Count Vronsky despite her husband's refusal to grant a divorce, and both must contend with the social repercussions.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Freddie Bartholomew
Susan Lenox (1931)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Fleeing her cruel uncle and an arranged marriage Susan Lenox falls in love with a kind stranger but circumstances force her to become a woman of easy virtue.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Jean Hersholt
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

While at a ski lodge, Larry Blake sees instructor Karin Borg and decides to sign up for private lessons. The next thing he knows, she is Mrs. Blake. When he announces that he is going back ... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Constance Bennett
Camille (1936)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Parisian courtesan must choose between the young man who loves her and the callous baron who wants her, even as her own health begins to fail.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Queen Christina of Sweden is a popular monarch who is loyal to her country. However, when she falls in love with a Spanish envoy, she must choose between the throne and the man she loves.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith
Anna Christie I (1930)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young woman reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor, but struggles to tell them about her dark past.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A wife neglected by her husband, a medical researcher in China, falls in love with a dashing diplomatic attaché.

Director: Richard Boleslawski
Stars: Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, George Brent
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An attractive Russian spy seduces an Austrian officer in order to get some important plans, but when she actually falls in love with him, both of them are placed in a dangerous situation.

Director: Fred Niblo
Stars: Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel, Gustav von Seyffertitz
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Childhood friends are torn apart when one of them marries the woman the other once fiercely loved.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: John Gilbert, Greta Garbo, Lars Hanson
Anna Christie II (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young woman reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor, but struggles to tell them about her dark past.

Director: Jacques Feyder
Stars: Greta Garbo, Theo Shall, Hans Junkermann
Conquest (1937)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A Polish countess becomes Napoleon Bonaparte's mistress at the urging of Polish leaders, who feel she could influence him to make Poland independent.

Directors: Clarence Brown, Gustav Machatý
Stars: Greta Garbo, Charles Boyer, Reginald Owen
Grand Hotel I (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford


Complete credited cast:
Lt. Alexis Rosanoff
General Serge Shubin
Blanche Friderici ...
Sister Angelica (as Blanche Frederici)
Sister Genevieve
The Cook-Spy


During World War I, Mata Hari is a German spy, working in Paris. She has already seduced the Russian general Shubin, and has now set her eyes on lieutenant Rosanov, a young up-and-coming officer. In order to get her hand on secret documents in his possession, she spends a night with him. But the secret police is on to her, only waiting to get enough evidence to arrest her. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Temptress Of The Secret Service See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 December 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Мата Хари  »

Box Office


$558,000 (estimated)


$931,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ramon Novarro wears internal lifts in his boots so that the difference in height between himself and Greta Garbo was increased on screen. See more »


Mata Hari: Shiva, I dance for you tonight, as the bailars dance in the sacred temples in Java.
See more »


Referenced in Sunny Side Up (1994) See more »


Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse
Music by Robert Planquette
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

What's the Mata with Hari?
8 July 2012 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

MATA HARI (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1931), directed by George Fitzmaurice, is more of a showcase for Greta Garbo in the title role rather than a biographical study on the legendary female spy of World War I. Having already played a lady spy in the silent melodrama, THE MYSTERIOUS LADY (MGM, 1928), this particular stature and situations that occurred are nothing new here. By contrast, from fictional to actual character portrayed, this is a somewhat improved story overall, scripted by Benjamin Glazer and Leo Birinski, and highlighted by interesting casting of Mexican actor, Ramon Rovarro, in support.

Opening title: "In 1917, war-ridden France dealt summarily with traitors and spies." Traitors and spies are demonstrated in the opening scene as DuBois (C. Henry Gordon), chief of the spy bureau, gives orders at the firing squad the execution of three traitors, the third being a condemned man (Mischa Auer) refusing to reveal any information about a notorious woman, Mata Hari, who happens to be a great threat to France. Mata Hari, a spy working under secret orders for Adriani (Lewis Stone), is known for hypnotizing and seducing military officials for secretive information, and DuBois's mission is to gather enough evidence to have her arrested and executed. DuBois suspects General Serge Shubin (Lionel Barrymore) to be involved with Mata Hari, but, too, is unsuccessful in gathering evidence against him as well. After getting together with his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Romanoff (Ramon Novarro) of the Russian Interior Air Corps, Serge invites him to come to the café and watch an exotic dancer perform. The dancer is Mata Hari (Greta Garbo). Although Serge is romantically involved with Mata Hari, Alexis becomes interested and soon involved with her, causing friction on their friendship after Alexis finds Mata Hari alone in Serge's apartment. Her seductive ways has Alexis falling under her spell again, enough lose the important documents entrusted to him meant for the Prime Minister over to Mata Hari. After Alexis becomes blinded in an airplane accident, Mata Hari, realizing her love for Alexis, puts herself in great danger for betraying Adriani, committing murder and having DuBois hot on her trail.

The screen version, reportedly loosely based on Mata Hari herself, is no doubt tailor made for Garbo's talents as well as MGM's answer to Marlene Dietrich's fictional World War seductive female spy of X-27 in DISHONORED (Paramount, 1931). Faster paced than her previous early sound efforts (1930-31), Garbo appears much more relaxed in the role and very much accustomed to the new medium of "talking pictures" by this point. MGM reliables of Lionel Barrymore and Lewis Stone (both of whom became standard players in many Garbo films over the years) add to the amiable support, along with the Mexican-born Novarro playing a Russian pilot. Somehow Novarro does better than expected, without making any attempt speaking with a Russian accent. Being the only pairing of Garbo and Novarro, MATA HARI turns out to be the only Novarro film produced during his MGM sound years (1929-1934) to have any distinction. His mustache, dark hair and fleecing eyes in one scene come as a reminder of another popular MGM leading man, John Gilbert, who might have tackled the role of Alexis had it not been for his lack of successful box office appeal he once earned in the mid twenties. Others in fine support are Karen Morley playing Carlotta, the dark-haired spy working under orders of Adriani; Alec B. Francis as Major Caron; Blanche Frederici and Helen Jerome-Eddy briefly appearing as Nuns; Frank Reicher as the Cook/Spy; and Edmund Breese (The Warden).

Notable scenes worth mentioning include Mata Hari getting Alexis to make passionate love to her. Before he does, she alluringly talks him into proving his love for her by turning out the continuous burning candle of the Holy Lamp of Madonna (a patron saint to guard him from evil); and the stalking of Mata Hari by Jacque, a club-footed giant (face unseen).

Of the many major MGM feature film releases of 1931, this and THE CHAMP starring Wallace Beery were once notable exceptions as those to have continued revivals on broadcast television in the New York City area through the mid to late 1980s before making its way to cable television, notably Turner Network Television (1988-92) and Turner Classic Movies (1994-present). Distributed on video cassette and later to DVD, MATA HARI continues to become one of the most notable and worthwhile Greta Garbo films, along with "Queen Christina"(1933), "Anna Karenina"(1935), "Camille" (1936) and "Ninotchka" (1939) all of which she was born to play. As much as the Novarro films from this period are virtually forgotten to today's generation, his legend rests simply on his silent screen performances of both BEN-HUR (1925) and THE STUDENT PRINCE (1927), along with the one notable movie where he was "just wild about Hari." (***1/2)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Mata hari had no participation in spying kinxxxsize
uncensored 1931 mata hari dreamsong
Discuss Mata Hari (1931) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: