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Mata Hari (1931)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  26 December 1931 (USA)
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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 »
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Complete credited cast:
Lt. Alexis Rosanoff
General Serge Shubin
C. Henry Gordon ...
Karen Morley ...
Blanche Friderici ...
Sister Angelica (as Blanche Frederici)
Edmund Breese ...
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

Plot Keywords:

spy | mata hari | russian | german | dancer | See All (42) »


WHWN MATA HARI DANCED! Here is Greta Garbo's greatest picture---a romance based on the true life story of the exotic woman spy, Mata Hari. Truly all-star, this production will leave in mind and heart the memory of an unforgettable thrill! (original herald) See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 December 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mata-Hari  »

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?


While this film was in production, rumors began circulating that co-stars Greta Garbo and Ramon Novarro were having an affair. This was untrue, but they did develop a strong friendly rapport. See more »


Lt. Alexis Rosanoff: What's the matter, Mata?
See more »


Version of Mata Hari, la vraie histoire (2003) See more »


Oriental Shadows
Music by Montague Ewing
See more »

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User Reviews

Campy, but fun
9 December 2003 | by (Florida) – See all my reviews

"Mata Hari" is a pre-code film that took lots of liberties with the real life story of the World War One spy, but who cares? One watches a film like this to enjoy the old stars in action, including Lionel Barrymore, hamming it up sans wheelchair. Though Garbo has never been one of my favorites I enjoyed her performance here; she smiled quite a bit and never once said she wanted to be alone. Most of the time she just wanted to be with handsome Ramon Novarro, and who could blame her?

Funniest moment to me: Ramon's character is obviously Catholic (as Ramon was in real life) and he has promised his mother to keep a candle lit before this Madonna icon and never let the flame go out, because if it goes out then evil will descend upon him. So Mata (Greta) tells Alexi (Ramon) that his room is too brightly lit; he goes around and turns off all the lights -- except for the candle. So then she asks him to blow out the candle. "If I am everything to you then you will blow it out." He asks her in shock: "But why would you ask me to?" (a perfectly reasonable question she doesn't answer). He ends up rejecting the sacred for the profane, blowing the flame out and the room goes into darkness. The camera pulls away and we are supposed to know instinctively that they are making love all through the night. And of course evil descends on Ramon's character, and he goes blind, but what the heck, this is Hollywood.

Watch it for the stars, not for history. If you want history, read a book.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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