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November 13, 2017 2:52 pm  #341


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

I suppose we shall never know what really happened when Turing died. The investigation was not conducted the way it should have been. On the other hand I do not see a reason for murder and I wonder if an intelligent man like Turing really would have been sloppy enough to poison himself by accident. 

We should not forget the overall climate of distrust, the anti-Communist manhunt in the US, men like Burgess who created suspicion towards "unreliable gay men" in Britain. The fact that Turing's Norwegian friend was chased and told to stay away from him may have been an indicator that he did feel observed and cast out. I think I read that in the 1950s climate he would never have got the clearance for working at a place like Bletchley. 
I am not sure if the story about the fortune teller in the seaside resort is mentioned by Hodges or someone else. He visited the town with friends and went to see this woman and came back very subdued. His friends said he seemed very much changed and some days later he was found dead. I am not talking about anything supernatural here but it seems that shortly before his death he was not as hopeful and positive as some biographers say. 

Maybe you know the letter Benedict read at Letters Live and which shows that Turing closely associated his standing and credibility as a scientist with his public reputation. 

I'm afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future.

Turing believes machines think
Turing lies with men
Therefore machines do not think

Yours in distress,
Alan

It was written two years before his death but I feel that the hormone treatment and the public humiliation did not improve his situation. 
 

Last edited by SusiGo (November 13, 2017 2:53 pm)


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"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

November 13, 2017 4:24 pm  #342


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

A wholly tragic figure who is only now rightfully recognised as a national hero.
It was a total disgrace how he was treated.


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November 13, 2017 5:01 pm  #343


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Yes, it was Hodges who mentions  the Gypsy fortune teller, but as nobody knows what she told Turing, and nobody knows why he was shocked, there's no point to the story. Neither do we know anything about Kjell - how the authorities heard about him, why they hunted for him. It's all very mysterious...

besleybeans, Turing broke the law as it was at the time. The law was wrong, but that's never a valid excuse for breaking it. If you do, the first rule is "Don't get caught!" Once he had admitted everything to the police (instead of simply denying that there was any truth to what the burglar said), there wasn't all that much the authorities could do. I dare say that he actually was lucky that he got caught before the big "let's eradicate vice" wave had really started - as mentioned above, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu was treated even worse. And nobody has made a film about him and the only people who know his name are car enthousiasts ;)

Incidentally, Alan Turing hasn't exactly been the "forgotten hero" as which he is now presented either: His paper "Can a machine think" was mentioned in a 1999 lecture in my course on Human-Machine Communication, and it's on the reading list for the course on Artificial Intelligence.

On the other hand, what do you know about Tommy Flowers?

 

November 13, 2017 6:31 pm  #344


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

I'd agree with your last point, Kittyhawk.  I found it kind of irritating that when the film came out it was being publicised as if Turing was unknown.  I don't know anyone who hadn't heard of him. 

However, I don't agree with what you say about the law.  I understand that the law being wrong isn't a valid excuse in a court of law at the time, but I do think that sometimes it's right to break the law when the law is wrong.   As for not getting caught, I suppose Turing was quite successful most of the time.  In the case in question he may have naively believed that as there was talk of changing the law at the time, that he'd be dealt with more kindly.  Not all crimes are brought to prosecution.  

Last edited by Liberty (November 13, 2017 6:32 pm)

 

November 13, 2017 6:37 pm  #345


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

This may be true for the UK as a whole and people who are acquainted with this part of history but I am quite sure that e.g. in Germany many people outside the realms of history and maths/computer science had not heard of him or his fate. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
     Thread Starter
 

November 13, 2017 6:49 pm  #346


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Yes, I meant to say that he was probably much more famous in the UK than elsewhere!  

 

November 13, 2017 10:53 pm  #347


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

I'm sure there were people all around the world who were aware of his contribution to computing, but anybody that I know didn't know about his contribution to the war before the film came out (and not knowing anyone in math or computing, I hadn't heard of him in any context that I could recall). And that stuff was kept secret for a long time after the war. So I think his involvment in the war was less well-known.

Last edited by Yitzock (November 13, 2017 10:55 pm)


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Clueing for looks.
 

November 14, 2017 9:05 am  #348


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Exactly. He was probably known for his work in mathematics and computer science as well as biology but everything in connection with breaking Enigma only became public after the Official Secrets Act had expired. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
     Thread Starter
 

November 14, 2017 1:23 pm  #349


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

As I said, I heard about Turing in connection with AI - which I consider normal. Most scientists are only known to those working in the same field. How many other mathematicians do you know (of)? What DO you know about Tommy Flowers (before googling him!)? Who knows the names of other people who played important roles in Bletchley Park (people not mentioned in The Imitation Game)? Secret Service employees are supposed to be secret!

The film makes it appear as if Alan Turing had singlehandedly won the war for the Allies, and that's simply not true (and information learned from U-Boat transmissions certainly had no bearing on Stalingrad, grrr...). He was one of a team, and there's no reason for him to be any more famous than the others...  Somebody here in the thread bemoaned that Turing and Co. were simply sent home at the end of the war, without thanks and the admonition to never see each other again - none of that is true either: Turing got an OBE and probably the other important people as well (Hodges mentions it was a standard recognition for civil servants of Turing's official rank). And they did meet again later if the occasion arose - Hugh Alexander appeared as a character witness at Turing's trial. Turing also informed Joan Clarke of his arrest and the upcoming trial (like his other friends) - she didn't discover it afterwards as shown in the film.

Liberty wrote:

...  but I do think that sometimes it's right to break the law when the law is wrong.   ....

Oh, I agree 100%! I'm firmly convinced that 90 km/h on a dry, large, well-maintained road that's straight as a ruler and has no other traffic of any sort as far as I can see is much too low, which is why I regularly drive faster...

 

November 14, 2017 4:29 pm  #350


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

I agree with many remarks above, but still, in my opinion, a biopic, even if based on real events/ characters is a feature film. If the people don't distinguish between facts and fiction it's a pity, but to require the filmmakers to adhere strictly to facts would be denying them the artistic creativity. TBH I couldn't mention a single biopic which doesn't take some liberties with the story. 
The main point, I think, is not to do a disservice to the characters the film talks about. 
From that point of view, I had strong objections against "Argo", for example, not because they made the escape of American hostages from Iran more dramatic than it was in fact, but because they minimized the role of the Canadians.
So there are many liberties in TIG, but not nearly as many as in "Enigma", for example, and I think the film scored well, because 1) it made familiar Turing's achievements to many people who knew nothing/ very little of him before  2) made it clear just how important the work of the people in Bletchley park was (how many average viewers were even aware of its existence)? 3) made a very poignant point about how devastating and horrible the anti-gay law in GB was  and how it ruined people's lives.

 

November 14, 2017 6:11 pm  #351


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Agreed. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
     Thread Starter
 

November 14, 2017 7:18 pm  #352


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

miriel68 wrote:

....
The main point, I think, is not to do a disservice to the characters the film talks about. 
From that point of view, I had strong objections against "Argo", for example, not because they made the escape of American hostages from Iran more dramatic than it was in fact, but because they minimized the role of the Canadians.
...

But you are not bothered by TIG minimizing the role of the Polish builders of the first Bombes, or not even mentioning a key figure like Gordon Welchman? And Alan Turing himself is shown as an arrogant arsehole, which he most probably was not in real life. I feel that the film does a disservice to the characters it talks about (apart from Joan Clarke and Christopher Morcom - and the fictional Detective Nock also comes across as more positive than I'd have expected) and an even bigger one to the ones it does not talk about.

I wouldn't mind a biopic or docudrama take some liberties - but TIG has nearly everything wrong - from how the film is constructed (Turing wouldn't have told a policeman about his work in Bletchley Park) to the little details like Turing's knowledge of German (he did read and speak it - so why does the script say the opposite? Just so they can show Turing being full of himself?).

For me the best thing about TIG is that now I want to know more about Bletchley Park and Tunny and Colossus (the most secret stuff wasn't encyphered by Enigma) - so yes, as a starting point the film is okay.

OT: I enjoyed Argos immensely, but I saw it as fiction and learned only afterwards that something similar had really happened. And I enjoyed the suspense at the airport so much - probably some of the most gripping moments I've seen in recent years - that I, too, totally forgive them for making it up. Just like I totally forgive Graham Moore for inventing Joan Clarke doing the crossword test - the scene was just too enjoyable!

 

November 15, 2017 10:14 am  #353


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

I do not see Turing as an arrogant arsehole at all. He sometimes comes across as arrogant because he is honest to the point of being blunt. And he lacks social cues. But I found him to be a quite sympathetic character.

Perhaps you're not so fond of Benedict's later works? It seems you have some major criticism towards TIG, Dr. Strange and Sherlock, so it might be that he is going in a different direction than you would prefer when it comes to what kind of movies/shows he does and the characters he chooses to play?

Last edited by Vhanja (November 15, 2017 10:40 am)


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November 15, 2017 12:07 pm  #354


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

I have something against bad writing. Anywhere, but as we are in "Benedict's Non-Sherlock Work"  I'm not telling you what I think about The Fits, Le Bal or La Relève... I have major criticisms towards 90% of the movies I see, including Star Trek into Darkness and the Hobbit trilogy. Why should I not criticize a movie just because Benedict Cumberbatch has a role in it?

You seem to have a different definition of arrogant than I do. To me "Are you paying attention? Good. If you're not listening carefully you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself, and you will not interrupt me. ..." sounds arrogant. Not to mention that it was the first WTF moment of the movie, because I had heard practically the same lines already at the beginning of Inside Man (2006) ("My name is Dalton Russell. Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully and I never repeat myself." thanks, IMDb!)

The job interview (Denniston: "...everyone thinks Enigma is unbreakable." Turing: "Good. Let me try and we'll know for sure, won't we?") doesn't do anything to change the first impression, either. So to me movie-Turing comes across as arrogant - book-Turing not. Movie-Turing also comes across as being detested by his colleagues and needing lessons in how to behave from Joan Clarke - no hint of it in the book.

Let's keep Dr. Strange and Sherlock to their respective threads. But if you had read my posts in the former more thoroughly, you would have seen that just because I find somebody an "arrogant arsehole" doesn't mean that I don't like them! I agree with you that BC's Alan Turing comes across as rather sympathetic (I'm assuming you mean that new (American?) meaning of "somebody we are willing to show sympathy to" (basically the same as the German "sympathisch" and the French "sympa(thique)")?) My point was that the movie as I have seen it does not represent the Alan Turing I have read about (as I have understood the book. Which, btw. doesn't mention Autism or Asperger's even once...).  As I thought that representing the subject correctly was the main point of a biopic based on a book,  for me there's more wrong with the movie than there is right.

Another WTF moment upon first watching the movie, even before reading the book: When they stop working at midnight and throw everything away - who believes that information is only relevant on the day it was sent? And in fact they did decipher messages days or weeks after they were sent because the work took time. And of course, breaking the Enigma code wasn't all of the work, because then they'd had to figure out unit numbers and map references... Oh, and the crytanalysts only deciphered messages - they didn't decide what to do with the information, they didn't get to play god!

But I would have forgiven simplifying everything that happened in Hut 8 (or elsewhere in Bletchley Park/British Intelligence) if the rest had been truer to actual events and characters. As it is, I put the movie in the same "more fiction than fact" category as "Femmes de l'Ombre". Which doesn't mean that Benedict Cumberbatch didn't do good work - but for me that's not enough to make a good movie.

Last but not least I was horribly disappointed by the DVD bonus material. I seriously expected some true facts, a comparison of fiction and reality, explanations where and why they had to simplify - but all we got was snippets from the film to illustrate the supposed reality and statements from people involved in the making of the film. Boring and superfluous... (actually, most of it was probably promotion material for the film while it was in the cinemas)

 

November 15, 2017 12:36 pm  #355


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Criticism is fine. I just wonder if too much criticism may spoil the fun. For me it would. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
     Thread Starter
 

November 15, 2017 1:13 pm  #356


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Yeah, it would for me as well.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"We'll live on starlight and crime scenes" - wordstrings
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Team Hudders!
 
 

November 15, 2017 2:53 pm  #357


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Obviously everyone is going to have different things that don't appeal to them in a film, but when it comes to film, especially a non-documentary film, dramatizing facts is not bad writing in my mind. A film like The Imitation Game, while to some extent intending to get more people to know about something happened, is not only about sharing the events but also getting to the heart of the people who were involved and what they experienced (and perhaps getting people interested in learning more about the people who were portrayed). Up to a point, I don't expect everything to be exactly as it happened. It's about the experience of the characters. And I think The Imitation Game is well-written because it succeeded in making me feel the sense of urgency and frustration and fear and everything else that those people went through during that time. And it made me aware of another part of the war effort that I did not know about before. 
Maybe in real life they didn't have to always stop decoding their messages at midnight. But when that happens in the film, it gives you sense of how things change so quickly, that you can't fall behind what is going on or else more people could die and war could be lost. From what I remember, it wasn't so much that the information was irrelevant after that time, as far as the content of the message, but it meant that the Enigma code would be reset again and so they wouldn't be able to decode the next one with the same cipher (or whatever you call it, key?). It keeps things moving a long and maintains tension.
One thing that is true is how much Christopher meant to Alan (as is evident in Turing's letter that Benedict read at Letters Live), and I thought that was another part of the story that was done effectively. Even though in real life Christopher is not the name that was given to the machine that Turing built, in a dramatic sense it is beautiful and helps you to understand how much Christopher meant to him and inspired him to pursue what he ended up pursuing in life. Dramatically, and for a narrative, it makes sense. It gives things a cohesion, a sense of wholeness. Real life doesn't always have that sense of wholeness, but art can.


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Clueing for looks.
 

November 15, 2017 2:56 pm  #358


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Kittyhawk wrote:

. To me "Are you paying attention? Good. If you're not listening carefully you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself, and you will not interrupt me. ..." sounds arrogant.

Well, if there is one thing that bothers me about TIG, it is this monologue. It doesn't make any sense in the context of the movie, because when we finally see Touring telling his story, he is "not in control" and he is very much already broken man.

Maybe I should feel offended by inaccuracies of the film - after all, my aunt's godfather worked on Enigma in the 1930s - I am always willing to make allowances when we are talking about a feature film. It is FICTION, after all. It is worse with documentaries because they pretend to be a "document" and they so often offer a very subjective version of facts.

As for arrogant: I think the film makes it clear AT is not "arrogant" but "different": once his colleagues understand it, they actually accept him and befriend him - it is another message of the film I liked very much: you can be different and still find people who will accept you as you are.

 

 

November 15, 2017 5:33 pm  #359


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

Yitzock, you have a point - in a way. In another way, it just bothers me that people know believe to know that Turing had Asperger's or was autistic, that they believe to know that he committed suicide (I still don't buy it!).

For me life is about learning, and the things I see and read stick with me (I once got a point in an exam when quoting a fact from a Dick Francis novel(!) - luckily they were well-researched), and from a docudrama or biopic I expect a higher degree of accuracy than from a fictional story. For me, if people don't want to stay near the facts, then they should change the names and not say "based on a true story".

miriel68, what you say about people accepting someone who is different is a beautiful message - but Alan Turing doesn't seem to have had much of a problem with his colleagues anyway (probably because he didn't play the solitary genius role in which the movie shows him at the beginning of his time of Bletchley Park). All through his adult life he's had friends, and at least one long-term lover.

SusiGo, Vhanja - how do you manage to switch off your brains so you can enjoy the movie?

 

November 15, 2017 7:36 pm  #360


Re: The Imitation Game (spoiler thread for those who have seen it)

I find your question frankly offensive.


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
     Thread Starter
 

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