The Crimson Playgoer
Sombre Scenes and Trite Story Discount Greta Garbo and Fine Cast in "Mata Hari"
It is to be regretted that stories about spies in the World War must inevitably arrive at a harsh and gloomy finish. Always there seems to be that roll of drums; the bleak yard where executions take place. Even the glamorous and passionate spoken Greta Garbo is unable to lend the happy tinge of romance and action to the story of "Mata Hari" now showing at Loew's State Theatre. Few of us will deny the remarkable charm of this great Swedish actress, but the producers of her films are strangely inept.
Following with naive exactitude the plot of Marlene Dietrich's "Dishonored", "Mata Hari" tells the story of the fascinating secret agent of the Central Powers who is employed to extract priceless secrets from allied officers but eventually sacrifices honor and country for love. Afterwards comes the scene in the sombre prison. As in "Dishonored", the heroine in one sequence seats herself at the piano, plays stirring tunes while her lover watches. Ramon Navarro is the young officer who falls victim to the spy.
There is an irritating monotony of scene and absence of any dramatic tempo throughout the picture. Lewis Stone, one of our favorites, takes the part of the head of the German secret agents, yet he is never permitted to step beyond the portals of a drab office room. Lionel Barrymore, one of Hollywood's foremost character actors has little opportunity to do more than pluck nervously at his moustache.