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Mata Hari (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 26 December 1931 (USA)
A semi-fictionalized account of the life of Mata Hari, an exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I.

Director:

George Fitzmaurice (uncredited)

Writers:

Benjamin Glazer (by), Leo Birinsky (by) (as Leo Birinski) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Greta Garbo ... Mata Hari
Ramon Novarro ... Lt. Alexis Rosanoff
Lionel Barrymore ... General Serge Shubin
Lewis Stone ... Andriani
C. Henry Gordon ... Dubois
Karen Morley ... Carlotta
Alec B. Francis ... Caron
Blanche Friderici ... Sister Angelica (as Blanche Frederici)
Edmund Breese ... Warden
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Sister Genevieve
Frank Reicher ... The Cook-Spy
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Temptress Of The Secret Service See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 December 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Мата Хари See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$558,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$931,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,227,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Towards the climax of the film, when Mata Hari confronts General Shubin, she is wearing a ring on her left ring finger. She hurries out of the room, and moments later she encounters Rosanoff. He takes her by the hand and the ring is no longer there. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Alexis Rosanoff: I love you as one adores sacred things.
Mata Hari: What sacred things?
Lt. Alexis Rosanoff: God, Country, Honour... you.
Mata Hari: I come last?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Diary for My Children (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Two Guitars
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Better than average rendition based on famous Femme Fatale of WWI who used her beauty to seduce
19 December 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

A semi-fictionalized account of the life of Mata Hari , an exotic dancer who was accused of spying for Germany during World War I . Based loosely on the real-life story of the World War I alluring spy , though the title character was real, the events in the film are mostly fictional . The exotic dancer uses her contacts in European high society, along with her seductive charm , to collect military secrets during the war . It starts in Paris 1915, Folies Bergere , where Mata Hari is playing a spectacle impersonating an oriental dancer along with Goddess Kali sculpture . Mata Hari beguiling everyone from a Russian officer (Lionel Barrymore) and a pilot (Ramon Novarro , he wears internal lifts in his boots so that the difference in hight between himself and Greta Garbo was increased on screen ; and being the first time Novarro took second billing since becoming a star) . Mata Hari successfully plays both sides against each other until at last her deceptions catch up with her.

This is the classic adaptation by filmmaker George Fitzmaurice with Greta Garbo as the notorious dancer playing exotic dances and Ramon Novarro as her lover . While this film was in production, rumors began circulating that co-stars Garbo and Novarro were having an affair ; this was untrue, but they did develop a strong friendly rapport . The Greta Garbo/Ramon Novarro combo turned Mata Hari into a major worldwide blockbuster, with $2.22 million in worldwide rentals . This is a melodramatic biography about notorious dancer with smouldering allure who had relationships with high-ranking military officers, politicians , millionaires and others in influential positions in many countries . This is Greta Garbo's one of the greatest picture , a romance based on the true life story of the exotic woman spy , Mata Hari . Truly all-star such as Lionel Barrymore and Ramon Novarro's highest-grossing picture after Ben-Hur ; this production will leave in mind and heart the memory of an unforgettable thrill , emotion and sensitivity . Furthermore , an important support cast such as Karen Morley , Henry Gordon , Lewis Stone and uncredited Mischa Auer in opening scene as condemned man who won't betray Garbo's love . This George Fitzmaurice's romantic spy melodrama Mata Hari was well received by critics and enthusiastically embraced by moviegoers .

Although the story is inspired on real events, it's mostly a historical fiction , the actual deeds are the followings : His true name was Margaretha Zella(1876-1917), a Frisian-Dutch known dancer and double agent during WWI. She was a successful courtesan , though was known more for her eroticism and sensuality rather for her stunning classic beauty. At 18, she answered an announce in newspapers about a man looking for spouse . She married Netherland Colonial Official and they moved to Indonesia , at island of Java. But the marriage was a disappointment and the couple early separated in 1903. Meanwhile she practices Indonesian traditions, uniting a local dance company learning the exotics jigs. Later she revealed her artistic name, Mata Hari, for 'eye the day' of the sun. She moving back to Europe , winning fame and fortune as exotic dancer. She was one of the leaders of the contemporary dancers, such as Ruth Dennis and Isadora Duncan that looked to Asian world for inspiration. During WWI, as neutral origin citizen was able to cross national borders freely , she travelled among Netherland, France, Germania, Spain but her several movements inevitably attracted attention. In early 1917 the German staff in Madrid transmitted messages to Berlin referring the activities of a German spy , code named H-21. French Intelligence intercepted it and identified as Mata Hari. Then she was detained and put on trial, framed of spying for Germany and condemned death warrant , accused to cause deceasing of at least 50.000 allied soldiers. She was founded guilty and executed by firing squad at the age of 41.

Other versions based on famed courtesan/spy are : a silent version ¨Mata Hari¨ with Magda Sonja , ¨Agent H 21¨ (1964) by Jean Louis Richard with Jeanne Moreau and Jean Louis Trintignant and ¨Mata Hari¨(1985) by Curtis Harrington with Sylvia Kristel , Derek De Lint , Christopher Cazenove , Oliver Tobias , Gaye Brown and Gottfried John.


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