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Directed by George Fitzmaurice

United States 1931 89 mins. In English

One of MGM’s greatest commercial successes of the pre-Code era and the biggest box-office hit of Greta Garbo’s career is the slick, stylish Mata Hari, which concerns the titular WWI-era exotic dancer caught in a tangle of lies and deceit. Set in Paris, the film throws many potential suitors Mata Hari’s way, some with information she wants (after all, she’s not only an exotic dancer, but also a spy), some purely based on their looks and military status—but all cast hopelessly under her seductive spell. The film is clearly an MGM product, with its ornate sets and gauzy photography, and was famously censored for its frank depictions of exotic dancing and tawdry sexual situations. Despite this, it’s an enormously entertaining work start-to-finish and naturally, “Garbo is deliciously watchable.”—The Guardian.