UCM.ONE continues “The Blue Series” (German: “Die Blaue Serie”) with the French film classic “Mata Hari – Agent H21” with a fascinatingly enigmatic Jeanne Moreau and Jean-Louis Trintignant as her lover. The film from 1964, co-written by François Truffaut, is noticeably influenced by the Nouvelle Vague and now appears for the first time on DVD…
With the film “Mata Hari – Agent H21” UCM.ONE releases the second part of “The Blue Series” in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Based on the true life story of the Dutch dancer Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, the film tells the story of the spy Mata Hari, who worked for the German secret service under the code name H 21.
Under her stage name Mata Hari Dutch-born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (Jeanne Moraeu) causes a sensation as an erotic nude dancer in Paris during the First World War. She moves in the highest circles and had several wealthy lovers. At a reception hosted by the Countess du Maine, she meets Captain François Lasalle (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who becomes her lover. However, this meeting was no coincidence but was arranged by the German secret service, for which Mata Hari works as a spy. She is supposed to give documents that François carries with him to a contact man while her lover is sleeping. But Mata Hari falls in love with François, who soon proposes to her, but who she rejects, otherwise she would have to give up her espionage activities.
Only under pressure does she accept her next assignment.The Germans threaten that something will happen to François if she does not continue to cooperate. She is supposed to steal the plans of a French ammunition depot from a safe. The key to the safe is in the possession of Colonel Pelletier who she is supposed to seduce, so she can take it from him while he is sleeping. The plan succeeds, also thanks to her chauffeur Julien, who is her protector and accomplice. The plans are to be handed over in Barcelona. For the trip Mata Hari has to withdraw money from the bank in Paris, where the French authorities set a trap up for her and arrest her. A military court sentences her to death. François has since been killed by a German patrol and her accomplice Julien has also been arrested. Mata Hari is executed in Vincennes by the French military police.
About Jeanne Moreau:
Jeanne Moreau (*1928) was the daughter of a British dancer and a French brasserie owner. From 1946 she studied at the Paris Conservatory and then at the Comédie-Française, where she introduced to classical theatre. She soon became known as a sensitive, differentiated character actress. In 1952 she joint the experimental Théâtre National Populaire by Jean Vilar, who was also the founder of the renowned Avignon Festival, where she also performed. She subsequently appeared on various theatre stages and on Broadway. Moreau enjoyed the reputation of being one of the best actresses of her generation and was honoured with numerous theatre awards.
From 1948 onward, Jeanne Moreau also appeared in movies. After smaller roles like in Jacques Becker‘s “Touchez pas au Grisbi” of 1953, where she played at Jean Gabin‘s side, she had her first bigger success with Louis Malles “Ascenseur pour L’Échauffaoud” in 1957. Her final breakthrough came in 1958 with the then controversially recieved movie “The Lovers“, also directed by Louis Malle. This was followed by numerous leading roles in French and international productions, among others in movies by Michelangelo Antonioni (“La Notte“), Orson Welles (“The Trial“), Luis Buñuel (“Diary of a Chambermaid“), François Truffaut (“The Bride wore Black” or Roger Vadim (“Les Liaisons Dangereuses“). She went down in film history utlimately with the role of Catherine in the cult film “Jules and Jim” by François Truffaut from 1962. In 1976 she made her directing debut with “Lumière“. But she also returned successfully to the stage between her film engagements.
Jeanne Moreau was married twice, from 1949 to 1951 with the actor Jean-Louis Richard, with whom she has the son Jérôme, who is today a successful painter. From 1977 to 1980 she was married to the director William Friedkin. On the morning of 31 July 2017, Jeanne Moreau was found dead in her apartment by her cleaning lady. She was buried at the Cimetière de Montmartre.
Original title: Mata Hari, agent H21
Director: Jean-Louis Richard
Screenplay: Jean-Louis Richard, François Truffaut
Dialogue: François Truffaut
Actor & actresses: Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Claude Rich, Henri Garcin, Georges Riquier, Frank Villard, Albert Rémy, Hella Petri, Nicole Desailly, Carla Marlier, Jean-Marie Drot, Marcel Berbert, Georges Géret, Henri Coutet, Charles Denner, Max Desrau, Van Doude, Marie Dubois, Yvette Etiévant, Guy Fox, Édouard Francomme, Marcel Gassouk, Charles Lavialle, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Mansard, Serge Rousseau, Pierre Tornade
Producer: Eugène Lépicier
Cinematography: Michel Kelber
Cutting: Kenout Peltier
Production design: Claude Pignot
Costume design: Kenout Peltier
Music: Georges Delerue
Production companies: Filmel, Les Films du Carrosse, Simar Films, Fida Cinematografica
Year of production: 1964
Genres: Drama, Romance, History
Company: Frankreich, Italy
Lenght: 95 Min
Rating: FSK 16
Apect Ratio: 1.33 : 1
Colour: black & white
German: Mata Hari, Agent H.21
Spanish: Mata-Hari, agente H-21
Portuguese: Mata-Hari, Agente H-21
Italian: Mata-Hari, agente segreto H21
Filmlabel: M-Square Classics
Premiere Italy: December 31, 1964
Premiere France: January 29, 1965
Premiere West-Germany: Juli 29, 1966
DVD-Start: December 06, 2019 (Germany)
VoD-Start: December 06, 2019 (Germany)
About Jean-Louis Trintignant:
Jean-Louis Trintignant was born in 1930 in Piolenc in Vaucluse to a wealthy industrial family. At the age of 20 Trintignant made his theatre debut and moved to Paris to study at the IDHEC film school. In the early 1950s he went on tour with several theater productions and in 1955 he appeared in a film for the first time. Only one year later he celebrated his breakthrough in Roger Vadim’s “And God created Woman” at the side of Brigitte Bardot. At this time Trintignant also flirted with a professional career as a racing driver, a passion to which he remained true throughout his life. From 1956 Trintignant did his military service for three years before he was able to return to Paris and to acting. In his friend Claude Lelouche‘s feature film “A Man and a Woman” he played the leading male role alongside Anouk Aimée and thus celebrated his international breakthrough. The film became the most internationally successful French film to date.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Trintignant was one of the most sought-after European character actors. This period saw leading roles in such well-known works as “The Great Silence” from 1968, “The Man who lies“, for which he received the 1968 Berlinale Prize for Acting, and “Z” von Costa-Gavras, for which he was awarded the prize for Best Actor in Cannes. Trintignant also appeared in numerous films in the 1980s, including his role in the 1986 sequel “A Man and a Woman: 20 years later“. From the 1990s he became more and more selective in the selection of his film roles. In 1994 he appeared in Krzysztof Kieślowski‘s last film, “Three Colors: Red“. In 2012 he once again celebrated a great triumph with Michael Hanekes “Amour“, which won the Golden Palm in Cannes.
In addition to occasional film roles, he also regularly played theater before announcing his professional retirement in 2013. Only for Michael Haneke he appeared again in 2017 in “Happy End” and 2019 for Claude Lelouch, again at the side of Anouk Aimee, in “The Best Years of a Life“, another sequel of “A Man and a Woman”.
Facts about the film
• Mata Hari (Javanese: eye of the day) was the stage name of the Dutch dancer Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (* 7 August 1876 in Leeuwarden; † 15 October 1917 in Vincennes, France). As a spy for the German secret service she used the code name H 21. She was sentenced to death for double espionage and high treason by the judges of a French military tribunal on July 25, 1917 and executed on October 15, 1917 in Vincennes near Paris.
• Mata Hari’s life story has been the subject of over 250 books and a dozen films.
• Recorded at original locations in Paris
• Jeanne Moreau and Jean-Louis Richard were briefly married (1949-1951). They have a son, Jérôme Richard.
Press reviews and quotes
“A remarkable film adaptation that keeps its distance from the thriller as well as the emotional drama.” (Dictionary of International Film)
“Cinematographer Michel Kelber – French Can Can – succeeds impressively well in black and white shots and Georges Delerue’s score is the usual enrichment for a film.”(derekwinnert.com)
“The well-known story of the suspected spy from the First World War, in a remarkable film adaptation, which freely presents the tragedy of this woman’s fate.” [filmdienst.de]
“An ironic reconstruction of the history of Mata-Hari.” [cinematheque.fr]
“A star-studded film biography with Jeanne Moreau and Jean-Louis Trintignant about the legendary femme fatale with the dangerous double life.” [telerama.fr]
“Michel Kelber’s photography is excellent and the dialogues are often brilliant. (4 of 5 stars).” [films.oeil-ecran.com]
Uncut cinema version, for the first time in cinema format on DVD, now digitally remastered | picture format: WS 1.66:1 (anamorphic), black and white film | running time: 95 min | sound format: German DD 2.0, French DD 2.0 | artwork gallery | FSK 16 | The Blue Series No. 2