MATA HARI 1931- What a twisted and dark film, beauty and seduction used to manipulate men, Greta here seems much like the dark Helga/Susan Lenox that I was expecting to emerge from her treatment in that film. Here Mata Hari is already this seductress of great beauty, manipulating men, in particular a Russian gentleman (Lionel Barrymore) and a young Russian pilot hero (Ramon Navarro). She uses her alluring beauty to put herself in a position to steal secrets for her mysterious German liaison officer (another familiar face from another Garbo film Lewis Stone) not caring one way or another what happens to the men and almost herself. She tries to hide nothing, while concealing everything, 'The trick Mr. Potter is not minding that it hurts.' She is the devil and yet our young Russian hero, in the scene above as he betrays what he holds sacred for a love he holds in the highest of esteems, sees some goodness amidst the beautiful evil. The spark he sees is too late for any of our characters in this tale of woe, but its ending does hold some redemption. There is something still good inside her, but we all know what happens here (Padme knows at least). This is a good film, it wavers from unredeemable, to a woman raging against all the forces around her war, lusty, old men, the evils of her employer, and at last her own misguided heart which causes betrayal in all sorts of ways.
I understand the sentiment Sandy to hate her, but a man who is willing to betray his own vows, his own heart has only himself to blame for the path he chooses. There is a part he plays and in part of his betrayal, it destroys her own. Best Garbo I've seen yet, slight edge over QUEEN CHRISTINA.