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"The Imitation Game" -- Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing


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Just finished watching a DVD of "The Imitation Game" which opened in theaters on December 25. The film is about Alan Turing, the extraordinarily gifted mathematician and pioneer of what we now know as computer science, whose many accomplishments included spearheading the effort to break the German "Enigma" code during World War II. The film details his efforts at Bletchley Park, the location near London of the Enigma decryption effort in the 40s, from the perspective of a flashback from his arrest for the crime of homosexuality in the early 1950s.

To the eternal shame of the British people, Turing was prosecuted (successfully) for homosexuality, and offered a choice of two years in prison or a course of hormonal "chemical castration," supposedly to protect society by quelling his homosexual urges. Turing chose the latter, but his life became so unbearable that he committed suicide at the age of 41 after one year of the treatments.

Thus, British homophobia basically killed one of the leading intellects of the 20th century. He certainly did not deserve to die. And although in very recent years steps of atonement have been taken, such as a posthumous pardon for his conviction, it all seems way too little and way too late. The shame will not go away.

Anyway, it's a terrific film and worth seeing.


(Note, by the way, that the DVD I refer to above is a legal "awards screener" that is sent at this time of year to people involved in the entertainment industry who vote in connection with the various awards programs in early 2015.)

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Just as well I read your footnote - I have the DVD on pre-order at Amazon but there's no release date yet and I'm expecting to have to wait months - and I was all ready to be peeved that you've got one so early! A friend saw it at the cinema a few weeks back and came back raving about how good it is.

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I thought I had better provide an explanation for the DVD.

The problem with these screeners is that every few minutes there will be an obnoxious legend crawling across the bottom of the screen saying "Property of XYZ Studio. For awards consideration only. Not for sale." It tends to break the mood.


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I agree with R, the British government is responsible for Turing's death. Homophobia ruled thanks to a military and cultural slant, and I dare say a religious bias. No country should have a state sponsored religion because of the undue influence on government by a belief system.

The U.S. is still suffering from religious based homophobia even though our laws dictate a religion/government separation. But religion was the cause of unequal rights for women and black people, at least they have made progress. I would like to believe that gay marriage is only the first step for gay civil rights but religion seems to bar the way. We had a Civil War to end slavery, what shall we do to end homophobia?

I am really looking forward to seeing this film, and like Bruin, I await the DVD.

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An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, would leave the whole world blind and toothless.

As for The Imitation Game, I have read some criticising reviews, but I'll wait until I've seen it before I pass judgement.

I'd be very surprised if I didn't find something to praise.

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