|Mata Hari; 1931|
Today, I thought I would be treated to some wonderful films on TCM because it was Lionel Barrymore day. Anyone who has experienced TCM's Summer Under the Stars programming knows that it can be a real treat - or a real dud.
|Lionel Barrymore and Greta Garbo|
Since Lionel is one of my favorite stars, I was expecting some real gems. As a whole I wasn't disappointed. Mata Hari (1931) by MGM was not one of the gems. I've always wanted to see this picture because I've heard the film was fantastic, the costumes looked great, and I find the real Mata Hari's story intriguing. I should have known not too keep my hopes up, since it was a Garbo film. Barrymore and Novarro were fantastic, as were several of the minor characters as well. But Garbo again proved why she is on my Least Favorite Actresses list.
|The REAL Mata Hari|
When I think Mata Hari, I think of someone who has to be charismatic enough to have everyone in the palm of their hands - someone who causes men to lose their loyalty and honor. Garbo, as usual, was cold as a fish. Everyone seemed drawn to that coldness, which frankly is incomprehensible to me. Perhaps it is my peasant stock, but I saw no reason why anyone would want to know her, let alone poor out government secrets to her.
|Greta Garbo in the Death Scene|
Naturally, she was fantastic at being stoic on the way to the death scene. This she did wonderfully well. As a viewer, I cared more about how her death affected Alexis, Ramon Navarro's character. So on the whole, everyone but Garbo was wonderful in this take on Mata Hari's life. If someone can explain the appeal of Greta to me I would be grateful, because for the life of me, I find her cold and emotionless. I just don't feel any kind of connection to her when I see her films. It's like watching a beautiful statue walk around - beautiful, but distant.