Missing [2 Discs] [Special Edition] [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1982]

Missing, Costa-Gavras's first American production (though it was shot in Mexico with a largely French crew), was one of his most powerful and accessible works, a typically astute political essay that is rooted in the emotionally compelling tale of a man searching for his missing son with the help of his daughter-in-law, and twenty-five years after its original release Missing receives a superb presentation on DVD in this edition from the Criterion Collection. Missing has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 1.85:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. Ricardo Aronovich's cinematography is beautifully rendered on this DVD, capturing the simple color schemes and elegant framings with impeccable skill, and the film has rarely if ever looked better. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, preserving the original sound mix, and the fidelity is superb, with an admirable clarity and presence. The dialogue is primarily in English, with some Spanish sequences; this release features optional English subtitles, but no multiple language options. As usual, Criterion have included a robust portion of relevant supplementary materials with this package, filling a whole second disc. Two interviews with Costa-Gavras are featured: one a short chat taped for a television news program in 1982, the other recorded for the film's French DVD release in 2006. Joyce Horman, the real-life widow of Charles Horman (and portrayed by Sissy Spacek in the film), appears in an interview exclusive to this release. The movie's genesis is discussed in a short documentary, Producing Missing, which includes interviews with producers Sean Daniel, Edward Lewis and Mildred Lewis, as well as Thomas Hauser, whose book The Execution of Charles Horman was the basis for the screenplay. Another short documentary, Pursuing Truth, is dominated by an interview with Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive as he talks about efforts to document the Charles Horman case and America's involvement in the coup that overthrew Chilean president Salvador Allende in 1973. Excerpts from a French television report on the 1982 Cannes Film Festival are also included, which features interviews with star Jack Lemmon, Costa-Gavras and three real-life figures portrayed in the film -- Ed Horman, Joyce Horman and Terry Simon. And footage from a 2002 event honoring the film's contribution in exposing international human rights violations includes short speeches from Costa-Gavras, Joyce Horman, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, Chis Lemmon (speaking on behalf of his late father Jack Lemmon) and host Gabriel Byrne. The package also includes the film's original theatrical trailer and a 38-page booklet with essays by Michael Wood and Terry Simon, a 1982 interview with Costa-Gavras and a 1982 press release from the U.S. State Department denying several allegations about the nation's involvement in the Chilean coup as portrayed in the film. Criterion's release of Missing honors this film as a impassioned polemic as well as a beautiful, absorbing work of filmmaking, and it's the definitive home video release of this picture.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer
  • Video interviews with Costa-Gavras, Joyce Horman (wife of Charles Horman), producers Edward and Mildred Lewis and Sean Daniel, and Thomas Hauser, author of The Execution of Charles Horman, the film's source
  • Video interviews from the 1982 Cannes Film Festival with Costa-Gavras, Jack Lemmon, Ed Horman (father of Charles), and Joyce Horman
  • Video interview with Peter Kornbluh, author ofThe Pinochet File, examining declassified documents concerning the 1973 military coup in Chile and the case of Charles Horman
  • Highlights from the 2002 Charles Horman Truth Project event honoring Missing, with actos Sissy Spacek, John Shea, and Melanie Mayron, among others

Synopsis

Missing
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, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Jack Lemmon
    Jack Lemmon - Ed Horman
  • Sissy Spacek
    Sissy Spacek - Beth Horman
  • Melanie Mayron
    Melanie Mayron - Terry Simon
  • John Shea
    John Shea - Charles Horman
  • Charles Cioffi
    Charles Cioffi - Capt. Ray Tower
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