Proctor, who previously appeared on a History Channel UK program on women and war, is one of three historians featured in Flirting with Danger: The Fantasy of Mata Hari, one of more than 100 documentary films that accompany episodes of the Emmy Award-winning 1990s television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Flirting with Danger: The Fantasy of Mata Hari is a companion piece to an episode called "Demons of Deception," which features the lead character meeting famed female World War I spy Mata Hari.
A Wittenberg faculty member since 1998, Proctor was asked to participate in the project in 2005 after producers at Lucasfilm, the entertainment company founded by writer, director and producer George Lucas, learned of her groundbreaking book Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War. Based on Proctor's research on the intelligence networks behind enemy lines in Europe, the book chronicles female espionage activities during World War I.
Mata Hari, an exotic dancer and courtesan originally from The Netherlands, graces the cover of Proctor's book, the Wittenberg professor's second published text following the 2002 release of On My Honour: Guides and Scouts in Interwar Britain. An unsuccessful double agent working for both France and Germany, Mata Hari was executed in 1917 by the French after her arrest on espionage charges.
Proctor was interviewed at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in Monterrey, Calif., for more than an hour, and clips of that interview can be seen throughout the documentary. As a female historian, Proctor said she was pleased to be able to make contributions in an arena – military history – long dominated by men.
"Many of the documentaries focus on men and include male historians, so the Mata Hari documentary is kind of unique in that it focuses on women and features all female historians," Proctor said. "That Young Indy meets Mata Hari is a bit unfortunate, given that she was spectacularly unsuccessful at espionage compared to the thousands of other women employed in intelligence networks and organizations between 1914 and 1918."
The first DVD box set, titled The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Volume One – The Early Years, was released in October, and a third DVD box set is scheduled for release in the spring of 2008. That all leads up to the fourth Indiana Jones feature film – and first since 1989, which is due for release in May 2008.
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was a series designed as an educational program for young people that spotlighted historical figures and important events. Historical figures, including Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud, Norman Rockwell, Al Capone and Charles de Gaulle, are featured prominently. The documentaries complement the episodes with insights from such luminaries as Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, James Earl Jones and Deepak Chopra and some of the nation's pre-eminent scholars and historians.
"It was interesting to see these kinds of fictional stories as a staging ground for historical documentary," Proctor said. "Digging into the historical figures and events that show up in the series makes for a nice documentary."
Written By: Ryan Maurer
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