imitation game movie

Noel Chiappa jnc at
Tue Feb 10 08:20:53 CST 2015

    > From: Jon Elson

    > has anybody seen the Imitation Game movie, ostensibly about Alan Turing?
    > ..
    > Any comments?

I have, and I also have extensively studied both WWII codebreaking, and
Turing's life and work.

It's an OK movie, but as any kind of historical thing - fuhgeddaboutit. There
are so many 'errors' (changes) that it's basically impossible to list them
all. They ran about about one error/change per minute, throughout the whole
movie. It's more wrong than right, actually.

About the only thing that was absolutley accurate (other than the basic
concept, that Turing worked at BP and helped break German codes) was Joan
Clarke's soliloquy in his flat at the end of the movie, describing his
contribution to the world.

    > Various descriptions have hundreds of people at Bletchley wiring the
    > rotors and doing much of the other work. The Bombe parts must have been
    > made in machine shops across England.

Hmm. The descriptions I've seen of their manufacture (e.g. Gordon Welchman,
"The Hut Six Story", pp. 138-141, Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, "Enigma: The Battle
for the Code", pp. 56-58) all indicate that the machines were manufactured by
British Tabulating Machines in their Letchworth factory (about half-way
between BP and Cambridge), and only came to BP once they were completed.
There was a lot of local sub-contracting of small sub-assemblies which didn't
require machining, though (see Welchman).


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