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Mata Hari [VHS]
Top Customer Reviews
This is a Hollywood rendering of a famous spy, Mata Hari, who, on being caught, is executed by firing squad in the end. There is no faulting Garbo's contribution, as she slithers from one scene to the next, fully convincing as the ill-fated, beautiful spy. I only the rest of the cast had put forth that much effort! Ah well.
Fans of Miss Garbo will, no doubt, fully enjoy this film, as Garbo is actually very moving in her scenes. Now don't get me wrong, I actually enjoyed this film, myself. I just wish more effort could have been put forth by just a few more of her colleagues.
I give this film four stars on the basis of Garbo's unique ability to light up the screen whenever she appears, and for the glorious costumes that populate her environment. Just sit back and enjoy the visual treat that was Greta Garbo.
However, in spite of the big names, the promising storyline, and the gorgeous costumes and sets, the picture ultimately seems to fall rather flat. Perhaps part of it could be attributed to how this is after all an early talkie, made in 1931; it would take a little bit longer yet for films to lose this stagy feeling, with almost nonstop chatter, and go back to having more freedom of motion and a balance between dialogue and scenes and moments that didn't rely so heavily on constant talk. Many of these lines themselves weren't very dramatic or original, more like empty words used to fill the time. Additionally, it just didn't seem to have a whole lot of dramatic tension or to be a very compelling interesting story till it was well more than halfway over. There's also the problem of how Ramon is supposed to be portraying a Russian aviator.Read more ›
But you won't really learn much of this from the 1931 MGM film MATA HARI. The Dutch Mata Hari is played by Swedish star Greta Garbo. Mata Hari and Garbo have precisely one trait in common: neither can dance worth a damn. Where Garbo is concerned the film tries to conceal this by a mixture of costuming and "artistic" cinematography that avoids showing Garbo's legendarily large feet and works to dodge the more obvious edges of her lack of dance talent. But Garbo is hardly the only performer who is miscast.Read more ›
Greta Garbo (1905-90) plays Mata Hari. She was a big silent film star and in her first talkie in 1930 (“Anna Christie”) she was nominated for an Oscar. This was her fourth talkie and a big commercial success. She is listed #5 on the AFI’s list of Greatest Actresses.
Ramon Navarro (1899-1968) plays a Russian pilot. He was the “latin lover” successor to Rudolph Valentino and very popular through the mid 30s when MGM cancelled his contract partly as a result of an early “red scare”. He achieved the apex of his fame in the silent era (“Ben Hur”, “Student Prince”) and didn’t have the same success in talkies.
The great Lionel Barrymore (1878-1954) plays a Russian General. He appeared in more than 200 films between 1908 and 1956, and was twice nominated for an Oscar, winning once (“A Free Soul” ) in 1931 Though he’s probably best known as the evil banker in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) and from his recurring roles in the Dr. Kildare and the Dr. Gillepsie films, he gave us many memorable performances - as the innkeeper in “Key Largo” (1948), Thaddeus Stevens in “Tennessee Johnson” (1942), Grandpa in “You Can’t Take it With You” (1938), and Billy Bones in “Treasure Island” (1934). Fans of Barrymore will enjoy watching him in his prime, before arthritis robbed him of his ability to walk.
Lewis Stone (1879-1953) plays Mata Hari’s control agent. He was a major star in the 20s and 30s and was nominated for an Oscar for “The Patriot” (1930).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good.....just very old technology, and lots of smoking.Published 17 months ago by STEVE SPEARS
Was Mata Hari a spy for Germany? Did she betray France? Or was she a free spirited woman living in France, in early twentieth century, emulating other performers like Isadora... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Rama Rao
The great Garbo is a truly believable spy and Barrymore, her admirer, is ever and always believable in any part, even a Russian. But the kid! Broke my heart. Read morePublished 20 months ago by A. Conner
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