MISSING (1982)

Filmic Context: Print -- Online

Print Resources

Michalczyk, John J. Costa-Gavras: The Political Action Film.  Philadelphia: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1984.

In this book dedicated entirely to the works of film director Constantin Costa-Gavras, Michalczyk examines the process through which the story told in a book titled The Execution of Charles Horman becomes the controversial topic of the film Missing.  From the moment he was introduced to the script, Costa-Gavras worked diligently to ensure that the events he was seeking to capture would be done with more care than in all his past films.  Michalczyk makes note of the director’s relationship with the Horman family and his determination to make the actors depicting the real life people feel and understand the story of Charles Horman.  The disapproval with which the film is met from both the United States government and patriotic film reviewers, as well as the criticism Costa-Gavras receives for his personal politics are discussed in some detail.  The author of this book highlights the work done in preparation for filming and the opposition and contention with which this project is faced.  Synopses of the film, the “real story,” and the political nature of Chile, are offered for supplementary information.

Robards, Brooks. Beyond the Stars.  Eds. Paul Loukides and Linda K. Fuller.  vol. 4.  Bowling Green: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1993.

Robards examines “Hollywood’s fascination with the Latin settings” in its filmmaking, in particular the use of Mexico as the setting for many films of a Latin American context or theme.  He discusses Hollywood’s relationship with the countries south of the border and makes note of how those countries have been used in numerous films to cater to a perception Americans seem to have about the nature of Latin American life and cultures.

Silberman, Robert.  "The Political Thriller." The Political Companion to American Film.  Gary Crowdus, ed.  Chicago: Lakeview Press, 1994.

Silberman examines the genre of film he calls “political thrillers” by discussing many films by an array of directors.  From The Manchurian Candidate to Z to JFK, Silberman offers brief synopses of the films and reviews their impact and roles in presenting political and historical content.  Silberman identifies a type of formula that seems consistent with each of the films, thus categorizing them as political thrillers.  Films in this classification tend to evoke certain emotions from the audience, which he also gives some consideration to in this article.

Toplin, Robert Brent. History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past.  Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1996.

Toplin gives the historical background information of how Missing came to be made.  He talks about the introduction of Ed Horman, the father of the disappeared and executed young American journalist Charles Horman, to Thomas Hauser, a Wall Street attorney.  Hauser would later write The Execution of Charles Horman, detailing Charles Horman’s story and the complicity of the United States government in his murder by the Chilean military.  Toplin talks a bit about the director Costa-Gavras, examining his cultural background and his movie-making tendencies and thoroughly examines Missing as a political film and a personal story, with historical and societal implications.  This film is reviewed, firstly as a movie created to draw in and entertain an audience and, secondly, as a film with a deeper message of a political nature.  Toplin also provides readers with a history lesson, describing the nature of Chile, its people, and Salvador Allende’s government before the military junta seized power.

See also:

Associated Press.  “Libel Charges Voided in ‘Missing’ Dispute.” New York Times  9 Feb. 1984: sec. C: 17.

Buchanan, Patrick.  "If You Want To Know What Really Happened during the Coup in Chile, Do Not See 'Missing.'" Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 27 February 1982.

Canby, Vincent.  "Costa-Gavras' Striking Cinematic Achievement." New York Times 14 February 1982.

Davis, Nathaniel.  Letter.  New York Times  29 Apr. 1987, sec. A: 34.

Davis, Nathaniel.  “Missing Evidence.”  Editorial.  Washington Post  29 Apr. 1987: A19.

Dejevsky, Mary.  “U.S. Implicated in ‘Missing’ Death.”  The Independent (London)  9 Oct. 1999:6.

Dinguid, Lewis H.  “Hill Units Probe ’73 U.S. Death in Chile; Official American Role Alleged.”  Washington Post  8 Oct. 1977: A16.

Flatley, Guy.  "Movies Are Passions and My Great Passion Is Politics." New York Times 11 January 1970: II, 15.

Gilson, Gary.  "Interview with Costa-Gavras." Film & History 13.2 (1973): 11-20.

Hall, Carla.  “Debating ‘Missing’; State Department Reacts to Movie about Chile: the ‘Missing’ Debate.” Washington Post 11 Feb. 1982: D1.

Hall, Carla.  “The Scars after ‘Missing’; Nathaniel Davis on His Lawsuit and the Legacy of Charles Horman.” Washington Post  18 Jan. 1983: D1.

Hart, Jeffrey.  "Our Media Fabricates These Stories, as in the New Film 'Missing.'"  Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 16 February 1982.

Hevesi, Dennis.  “Settlement Reached on ‘Missing’ Lawsuit.” New York Times  21 May 1988: 17.

Kaplan, Peter W.  “‘Missing’: The Search & the Sorrow; the Political Drama Behind the Screen; ‘Missing’: the Political Drama Behind the Film.”  Washington Post  7 Mar. 1982: G1.

Lewis, Anthony.  “Abroad at Home; Fear of Change.”  New York Times  19 Apr. 1984: sec. A: 19.

Lewis, Anthony.  “Abroad at Home; Silence by Libel.”  New York Times  17 Apr. 1987: A31.

Lewis, Anthony.  “The Risks of Reporting.” New York Times  8 June 1986: sec. 7: 27.

Lewis, Flora.  “New Film by Costa-Gavras Examines the Chilean Coup.” New York Times 7 February 1982: 2, 26.

Loeb, Vernon.  “CIA May Have a Role in Journalist’s Murder.” Washington Post  9 Oct. 1999: A15.

"'Missing' Film Makers Sued for Libel." Los Angeles Times 12 January 1983.

Mulligan, Mark.  “CIA ‘partly to blame’ For Reporter’s Death.” Financial Times (London)  11 Oct. 1999: 15.

Rainier, Peter.  "Our Movies Are Prisoners of Their Politics." Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 29 February 1982.

Paprin, Maurice S.  Letter. New York Times  21 May 1987, sec. A: 30.

Smith, Philip.  “Ex-Ambassador Alleges Libel in Book, Movie.” Washington Post  11 Jan. 1983: A1.

Taylor, Jr., Stuart.  “Libel Suit is Filed Against ‘Missing’.” New York Times  11 Jan. 1983: sec. C: 12.

“U.S. Takes Issue with Costa-Gavras Film on Chile.”  New York Times  10 Feb. 1982: sec. C: 22.

Wells, Jeffrey.  "Costa-Gavras on 'Missing.'"  Film Journal 15 February 1982.

Online Resources

Film Scouts—Costa-Gavras

This site offers people a chance to hear the voice of the man behind so many films.  Costa-Gavras is
captured in short audio clips speaking about his experiences as a director.  Though this site focuses
primarily on his film Mad City, it is still a unique opportunity to hear segments of an interview
conducted with this director.

Films that Illuminate Foreign Politics

A compilation of films dealing with political issues in many different countries is found at this site.
Listed next to the film is the country that it focuses on.  This will serve as a helpful resource for those
searching for films of this particular genre—political dramas, political action films.

Copyright (c) 1999 by Terry Su, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of the U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived
and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.  Archiving,
redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.