Tom Cruise merits apology for Slate article concerning the Hitler movie "Valkyrie"

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What looked at first like another PR blow to "Valkyrie," the twice-delayed Tom Cruise film based on the true story of a German officer who plotted to assassinate Hitler, turned out to be a case of mistaken photo identity.

A report posted on last week suggested that United Artists had doctored a portrait of Claus von Stauffenberg to make it more closely resemble the "Top Gun" actor. One problem: The two images scrutinized in the story, posted June 17 under the heading "Tom Cruise Mystery: The case of the doctored publicity photo," didn't come from the same source.

David Plotz, the editor of Slate, said after the Web magazine was contacted by The Associated Press that the conclusion of the article was wrong, and a correction was planned.

"We did not do the photo research that we should have done," Plotz said Tuesday evening.

United Artists released its side-by-side publicity portraits last year to draw attention to the resemblance between the real von Stauffenberg and Cruise. In the black-and-white images, Cruise and von Stauffenberg are each in a similar profile pose, wearing similarly blank expressions.

Slate's story, by contributor Kim Masters, compares the von Stauffenberg photo supplied by United Artists to an image from the photo archive of The Associated Press.

The posting includes commentary from two Slate designers and an overlay, created by a third designer, with the AP photo lighter and bearing less resemblance to Cruise atop the darker, more heavily contrasted image released by United Artists....

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