CANNON MONTH: Mata Hari (1985)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We just covered this movie on January 17, 2022, but as we’re trying to cover as many Cannon movies as possible all March long, won’t you join us as we look back at not just the obsessive pop culture force that is Cannon, but the time they worked with Curtis Harrington and Sylvia Kristel?

13 year old me didn’t care about any 80s starlet that you’d care to mention. I’d already discovered the forbidden fruit that was Eurosleaze and with it, probably one of its classier stars, Sylvia Kristel. You know who agreed with me? Well, at least in the theory that he could make money off of her? Menahem Golan of Cannon, who came up with this movie just for her.

Curtis Harrington directed and he wasn’t pleased with the end product, but this was Cannon. He didn’t have final cut. “I wish I could have been involved in preserving what I felt was the integrity of the film. There were moments I felt were unreasonably cut. I’m not entirely happy with the cut. But (the people at Cannon) don’t care what I think,” he said at the time.

Even as a teen watching this with no sound on Cinemax, I knew that it wasn’t historically accurate. It’s about a fictitious love triangle between Mata Hari and two officers, one French and one German, who end up on the opposite sides of World War I. Despite Mata Hari exposing a German plot, she’s still arrested as a double agent and executed, even though everyone knows that she’s innocent, which wasn’t what I was looking for at 1:47 AM on Cinemax After Dark, you know?

This movie was chopped up to avoid an X rating, Kristel was dubbed and she was deep in her addiction by this point. As much as I love Cannon, they were not the studio to make this, but had that ever stopped them before?

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