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Davis v. Costa-Gavras
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
654 F. Supp. 653 (1987)
The film Missing was a dramatized version of the disappearance and death of Charles Horman, an American in Chile, shortly after the 1973 coup. The film was heavily based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Thomas Hauser. Ray Davis (plaintiff), an American officer who had been involved in the events on which the film was based, brought a defamation action against the film’s director and cowriter, Constantin Costa-Gavras (defendant); Universal Studios, Inc. (Universal) (defendant); and MCA, Inc. (defendant). Davis alleged that the purpose of the film was to portray him as responsible for Horman’s death. Although Davis himself was not portrayed in Missing, the film used a symbolic fictional character, Ray Tower, as a composite of American military personnel involved in the coup. Costa-Gavras, Universal, and MCA moved for summary judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pollack, J.)
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