The case of the doctored Tom Cruise publicity photo.

Inside the big picture show.
June 17 2008 12:58 PM

Tom Cruise Mystery

The case of the doctored publicity photo.*


Correction: This piece raised questions about a photograph of Claus von Stauffenberg that appeared in a United Artists promotional campaign for the movie Valkyrie. The piece pointed out that the photo UA used looked more like Tom Cruise, the star of the film, than a similar-looking AP photo of von Stauffenberg. Because of insufficient photo research by Slate's editors, we failed to discover another archival image of von Stauffenberg, which appears to be the one UA used in its publicity campaign. As a result of this mistake, the question the piece raised—whether the photo had been doctored in an effort to make Claus von Stauffenberg look more like Tom Cruise—was unwarranted. 

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Looks like someone tweaked the photo. * Finding out who may be mission: impossible. (link)

June 12, 2008

Roman Polanski. Click image to expand
Roman Polanski

Push back: Following up our report this week about the new Roman Polanski documentary, we take note of a weird statement released Wednesday under the signatures of the prosecutor and the defense attorney in the case.

Recall that both are featured in an HBO documentary, Roman Polanksi: Wanted and Desired, in which they bemoan the shabby treatment that alleged child rapist Polanski suffered at the hands of the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1977.

As we reported, the documentary originally ended with the assertion that an unnamed judge in 1998 was going to permit Polanski to return to the United States without risking jail time, but only if he appeared at a court proceeding that would be televised.

Last week, the Los Angeles Superior Court identified that judge as Larry Paul Fidler and vehemently denied that he had ever imposed such a condition. After a pause, HBO said Friday that it would change the end of the film to say that Polanski feared the proceeding would be televised, which is quite different from having a judge insist that it had to be.

The altered documentary aired Monday. Yesterday, the film's publicists released a statement signed by the prosecutor in the case, Roger Gunson, as well as defense attorney Douglas Dalton. It contends that at the 1998 hearing, Dalton pressed "for a resolution of the case that would allow for minimal news media." The statement says Dalton "recalled that Judge Fidler would require television coverage," and then adds: "Mr. Gunson recalls television coverage discussed at the meeting."

Talk about lawyer words. There's no further elaboration as to what, if anything, Gunson remembers about that discussion. Presumably, it could have gone like this:

Gunson: "So, your honor, what about television coverage?"

Fidler: "Hate it."

The statement, based on this rather threadbare set of assertions, concludes that both lawyers denounce the court's "false and reprehensible statement" disputing the notion that Fidler demanded television coverage.