"Spy" is a person whose job involves secretly gathering and reporting information about another country, organization, group, or enemies without the consent of the information-holders. Espionage is a set of clandestine and constitutional activities carried out for government or commercial purposes. Yet, as a matter of course, spying is illegal and is punishable by law. Thus, espionage is almost always accompanied by danger; it is unavoidable that some risks will be run in this kind of work. In a word, spying is a mission that may jeopardize one's life. The duties of a spy are required most in wartime. During the 20th century, when many wars occurred, there was much demand for spying and espionage: the governments of many countries needed able spies, especially for military purposes.
In the film world, spy films have always been quite popular because of their entertaining qualities: they contain thrilling action, suspense, and the seduction of beautiful women. Among countless spy films, the most popular is the 007 series, which premiered in 1964. 007 focuses on a British gentleman spy called James Bond. Although it is difficult to find female spy movies that can rank with the 007 series, the classic Mata Hari might just be a match for 007. It is said that beauty and charm are the merits of the female spy, while the man she seeks is at the center of power and holds confidential information. Through the so-called "honey trap"—the use of a seductive woman to tempt a man into passing highly classified information to her government or syndicate—female spies play an active role in the 1930s film world. Among several 1930s female spy films, this paper focuses on Dishonored and Mata Hari. I will examine the universal themes that these two movies encompass: the anxiety of excessive information management; concealment through the power of the government; and the importance of personal dignity, rights, and happiness.