"Missing" Is Released
Missing is a 1982 film directed by Costa Gavras, starring Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea and Charles Cioffi.
It is based on the true story of American journalist Charles Horman, who disappeared in the bloody aftermath of the US-backed Chilean coup of 1973 that deposed President Salvador Allende.
The film was banned in Chile during Pinochet's regime, even though the nation is not mentioned by name in the film (although the Chilean cities of Viña del Mar and Santiago are). Both the film and Thomas Hauser's book The Execution of Charles Horman were removed from the market, following a lawsuit filed against Costa-Gavras and Universal's parent company MCA by former Ambassador Nathaniel Davis, and two others. A lawsuit against Hauser himself was dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed. Davis and his compatriots lost the lawsuit. After the lawsuit, the film was again released by Universal in 2006.
Costa-Gavras's tense political drama opens in an unspecified South American country (though clearly intended to be Chile) in the throes of a military coup. American activist Charles Horman (John Shea), who has been a thorn in the side of the country's military ever since his arrival, suddenly disappears. In trying to find out what has happened, his wife Beth (Sissy Spacek) is stonewalled, not only by the ruling junta but by the American consulate. His father, staunchly patriotic Ed Horman (Jack Lemmon), joins Beth in her search. Ed and his daughter-in-law have never seen eye to eye politically, and he refuses to entertain the notion that his son's disappearance might be part of a larger conspiracy or cover-up. But as the days grow into weeks, Ed comes to the shattering conclusion that he and his family have been betrayed by the American government, on behalf of the "friendly" South American dictator who holds his people in a grip of iron. Adapted by Costa-Gavras and Donald E. Stewart from a book by Thomas Hauser, Missing was inspired by the true story of the late Charles Horman. In spite of (or perhaps because of) condemnation from certain high-ranking officials in the Reagan administration, the film went on to win an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide