Friday, July 6, 2012

Mata Hari (1931)

Based on the true story of Mata Hari, assumed name of Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod, an exotic dancer, courtesan and accused spy, the film starred Greta Garbo as Mata Hari and co-starred Lionel Barrymore and Ramon Novarro. Garbo's performance was praised as a brilliant portrayal of a seductive creature possessing hypnotic charms and intelligence. MGM picked up the project after Paramount abandoned its plans to tell the story of Mata Hari. The Hays Office raised concerns about the dance sequence and the "bedroom situations."

MGM's chief costume designer, Adrian, designed the costumes. Adrian began designing for films during the silent era and worked successfully through 1941. His designs set new fashion trends influencing the ready-to-wear industry. He worked with Garbo on many films including Anna Christie (1930), Grand Hotel (1932), The Painted Veil (1934),  Queen Christina (1934), Camille (1937), and Ninotchka (1939). After he retired from the movie industry, he opened a couture and ready-to-wear business in Beverly Hills. 

Image of Greta Garbo in Mata Hari courtesy of The Kobal Collection.

Kobal Collection

The Kobal Collection is a preeminent collection of images related to the motion picture industry, primarily U.S. with some international content. Established by John Kobal, the collection numbers more than one million photos from early cinema to modern day including publicity stills, portraits, celebrity photos, and costume shots. Take note the next time you read a book about Hollywood or the film industry -- it is likely that Kobal images have been included.

I am grateful to Lauretta Dives from The Picture Desk -- Kobal Collection -- for granting me 50 images to use in my blog postings. With this collection, I am launching a new series of postings with focus on costume designers, the year 1939 in film, films from the 1970s and Billy Wilder! All beautifully illustrated with images from the Kobal Collection.