imitation game movie

jwsmobile jws at
Tue Feb 10 07:09:18 CST 2015

On 2/10/2015 3:33 AM, Brent Hilpert wrote:
> On 2015-Feb-10, at 2:39 AM, Pontus Pihlgren wrote:
>> On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 05:12:03AM -0500, Charles E. Fox wrote:
>>>         When Hollywood handles a story strange things happen. We are
>>> lucky they mentioned
>>> Bletchley Park at all.
>> Indeed, the movie "Enigma" ( didn't
>> include Turing at all.
> I haven't seen the Imitation Game, but did view the trailer and what I saw there left me with the sense while it might be fine as entertainment, the historical inaccuracies would be annoying.
> Maybe I shouldn't judge too much by the trailer but it left the impression it was going to be dramatised along the stereotypical lines of the 'solitary-brilliant-genius-battling-alone-against-the-dumb-officious-bureaucrats-who-would-never-understand-what-he-was-doing' (to get the Bombes constructed). I'm rather skeptical that was at all accurate to the way things transpired.
> As I recall, Enigma was different in that it wasn't trying to be an historic docu-drama, it was just using Bletchley and WWII code-breaking for the setting of a fictional story.
I always worry about any storyteller who confused breaking Enigma and 
codebreaking with Ultra.  The trailers for this movie have it in spades.

I don't know the setting for one comment from a female character saying 
"I was happy I went thru a town you saved" or some such, but it would 
have been very unlikely that anyone would say that during the war, and 
until Winterbottom said fuck it, noone could say anything w/o a 
violation of the Official Secrets Act (or whatever the accurate name is 
for it).

The codebreaking is better told if it includes all the players, 
including the Polish who had a good go at breaking it, and I think 
pointed out and held to death in the case of captured members of their 
group what the critical error was that the Bletchley park people's 
automation exploited.

The automation exploited a common practice in encoding messages which 
allowed the presets for the Bombes.  W/o that guess the automation 
didn't have that much to go on, and you were back to tedious methods 
that relied on much guesswork as to what the wheel settings were.

This is not going to affect telling the human stories other than leaving 
out some of the groups who joined together to create Ultra. Ultra was so 
successful that even though the Germans got wind of it, they suspected a 
traitor rather than the actual truth.

Another miniseries, Manhattan aired here on WGN and was somewhat 
entertaining, but again the pronouncements of the characters were 
totally unbelievable when one considers what was being done.  One 
particularly silly line has to do with the project being so secret the 
Vice President didn't know about it.  The character uttering that would 
have had no clue about that.  Makes it hard to watch things when they 
screw things up like that and get no payback.

I appreciate movie and tv writing enough to know about liberties in 
facts that are taken, but respect when they do something and get a 
really big plot payback for it, not just some sillyness.


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