Classic Film Guide

Mata Hari (1931)

Directed by George Fitzmaurice, and co-written by double Oscar winner Benjamin Glazer, this fictionalized historical drama stars Greta Garbo in the title role as the infamous World War I spy. Mata Hari is an erotic dancer working in Paris and spying for the Germans. Initially, she's a courtesan for General Shubin (Lionel Barrymore - A Free Soul (1931)). However, when the young, attractive Lieutenant Rosanoff (Ramon Novarro) catches her eye, and has papers that her charges (Lewis Stone - The Patriot (1928)) need, she attempts to seduce him. C. Henry Gordon as the French secret service chief Dubois, who's on to her. Karen Morley plays another German agent.

When she's caught, Alex B. Francis plays her lawyer (Reginald Barlow, uncredited, is the prosecutor), Helen Jerome Eddy appears as Sister Genevieve, and Edmund Breese is the warden. Mischa Auer (My Man Godfrey (1936)) appears uncredited as a firing squad victim early in the film, and Frederick Burton, also uncredited, is her executioner.

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