MATA HARI (1931) B/W 91m dir: George Fitzmaurice

w/Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, C. Henry Gordon, Karen Morley, Alec B. Francis, Blanche Frederici, Edmund Breese, Helen Jerome Eddy

From The Movie Guide: "The subject of Mata Hari, the WWI Javanese-Dutch spy, was not new to film, but when Garbo agreed to play the role of the beautiful exotic dancer who traded sex for secrets, it was not only news but also cause for MGM to produce a lavish and memorable film. ...

"Garbo is stunning, full of her special mystique as the exotic dancer-spy, in one scene wearing a revealing costume and snaking her body around a lascivious-looking, many-armed statue in an odd interpretive dance. Fitzmaurice directs with great style here and makes the most of the lavish production techniques available to him. Both Garbo and Novarro had accents that later caused some critics to sneer, particularly at one of Novarro's lines which sounded like 'What's the mata, Mata?' Of course, little shown here is based on real events. The historical figure, Gertrud Margarete Zelle MacLeod (1876-1917), danced in Paris and stole secrets from the French for the Germans, low-level secrets at that, until she was uncovered as a spy and shot, not in Russia, but at Saint-Lazare in France on October 15, 1917."