I think the best way to describe the death of Alan Turing was a depraved heart murder by the British Government, that may have owed its very survival to his work.
Disappointing. I was looking forward to this film. I hope it still gets made. Alan Turing’s story deserves a film. I was surprised by how little some people know about him.
The first movie about Turing as actually the BBC film ‘The Imitation Game’, directed by Richard Eyre and written by Ian McEwan, and broadcast in the ‘Play for Today’ slot on 24th April 1980. It bought the code-breakers, the Enigma code, Bletchley Park and its vast network of listening stations, and the computers, to a screen for the very first time. A key codebreaker character, Turner (Nicholas Le Prevost), who was shown positing the infamously dismissive-of-women Turing Test in the mess, overheard by an ATS Signal Corps woman (Harriet Walter) who wants to know more about the work she is doing, and make a bigger contribution to the war effort. She tries to seduce him, whilst telling him what she knows, in the hope he will recognise her potential. The bedding fails (strong implications of his realising he is gay), and he turns her in to the security services, so she ends in jail.
Where do you even get cyanide unless you’re 007?
He actually made it himself, which I won’t explain how to here, from an apple.
It’s quite easy to extract from a number of common plants. Anyone with basic knowledge of chemistry can do it.
The cyanide thing is highly controversial. There was a strong and lethal odour of cyanide in the air of the board-and-lodging room when they found his body, so it would definitely have killed him, but they didn’t test the apple on his bedside, from which he had taken one bite, for cyanide. He had a little chemistry laboratory in a cupboard in his room in which he liked to do experiments as a hobby (he was definitely eccentric), which is where the investigators and coroner assumed he had made cyanide with which to coat the apple in preparation for a suicide, but many such experiments can release cyanide into the air (hence proper laboratories having special booths with air extraction) and quite a high proportion of the population simply cannot smell the characteristic almond smell of the gas, which can kill in minutes. So he might have just made a terrible mistake. Eating an apple before sleep was apparently his normal habit (he must have had terrible teeth).
Let’s face it, it takes a lot for Hollywood to make a film implying that any non-American played a significant part in winning WW2. So there might not be anything more to this backtracking than this.
But why can’t the British film industry make a decent film out of this?
Exactly. There’s absolutely NO reason why we can’t make the film ourselves perhaps with Jude Law in the lead role. We don’t need Hollywood to do that. We have the talent and know how to make good films just as good as any in America.
However I wouldn’t perhaps say “as good” frankly I would say frequently better and superior! Hollywood might be big… but it does not necessarily mean best. Big budgets, extradition, banner marques with famous names. Far too often the hype is far removed from reality of fundamental history accuracy and superior character actors which the UK has more of. The UK is quite capable of knocking Hollywood of it’s pedestal once in a while on quality alone.
It is an incredibly sensitive story, still. Not for his being persecuted as gay, or his death, but because of the computing side, which is huge, and the issue of the power of the security services.
The UK government, at the end of the war, ordered continued total secrecy, which held for a full 30 years. Very senior people – even cabinet ministers – thought it was on pain of death (hence assassination being possible with Turing after his conviction, despite no evidence of disloyalty). This was because, despite supposedly ordering all the equipment smashed, much had been taken to the new government cypher centre and was being used against many other countries for years. And the secrecy extended to forcing computer manufacture in the UK to start from fresh, because the brilliant engineers were ordered silent too (no related work, no patents). This allowed the US, who had been given the technology in order to help the war effort, a huge advantage, and cost the UK billions upon billions.
Let’s hope that a British film company get’s behind this movie and get’s a British actor to play the part
Russell Tovey! Talented, gay and even has the ears for the role!
Yes, Russell Tovey could make a brilliant Alan Turing, I so agree.
I’d never noticed the ears before haha! But yes I agree, Russell Tovey is an underrated actor
I agree, Russell Tovey would make a great Alan Turing and justice demands that we make a film about Alan.
Britain can produce great films, just as well as America.
Russell Tovey is really talented and underrated. He is cute too.
Tovey would be awful – he can’t play middle class characters.
It would be good to see Russel Tovey given a role which stretched him as an actor, rather than the chirpy, working class lad roles he has had up to now!
I have mixed feelings about this – Hollywood has a poor biopic record in terms of accuracy – any aspect of the subject’s life out of line with conventional social expectations tends to get sidelined or just dropped, and even fake details will be invented. In any event, a ‘glamorous male star’ type is utterly inappropriate for Turing – again a typical Hollywood distorting effect. Like others, I feel a serious and respectful British treatment would be better, or at any rate something not made by a ‘big studio’.
I don’t think Leonardo DiCaprio is at all suitable to play Turing. It really does need to be a British actor.
And why not make it a GAY British actor too. It’s not as if there aren’t vast numbers of them. The performance would be far more believable from someone who actually is attracted to men.
How about Alan Cummings?
Alan Cumming would be great.
Euuch! The man is insufferable.
Martyn’s suggestion of Russell Tovey would be far more believable.
erm, no. Any decent actor should do. They shouldn’t have to be gay. Wouldn’t like it if straight roles could only be played by straights would we?
Its nothing to do with him being gay- its to do with the fact he can get close to the look of Turing- hes a great actor, -as as for the “straight roles could only be played by straights” comment, Tovey has made a career playing straight roles, id love to see him try a gay role for once.
Well he did have a gay role in Doctor Who. Or at least, he played someone who was seduced by Jack Harkness.
Alonso Frame wasnt specifically gay- and he was on screen for about 2 minutes in that ep!
I can’t help but think about the fate of many gays in society – you hel[ out the herd and they still turn on you afterwards for being gay.
No wonder each city has a gay district. The line from Priscilla comes to mind – is that wall of suburbia there to keep them out or us in?
It’s classic stop-start pre-production hell.
Some films have taken 20 years to finally get green lighted, so I wouldn’t worry too much, it will happen sooner or later.
Reading this article left me at a loss as to understand why WB abandoned the project.A bit more info here: http://www.thewrap.com/deal-central/column-post/warner-bros-passes-along-alan-turing-biopic-52586
Apparently DiCaprio never committed in the first place….also plenty of bids for the script, so presumably someone will go ahead with it. The Americans might be able to pull it off – ‘Milk’ was quite decent…The Turing case represents a great opportunity to really clearly demonstrate price that society pays for homophobia, and I hope any movie does this…
Milk was a great movie but I worry that an American production may try to make changes to suit the American audience. Time will tell I suppose.
I would imagine it depends which studio gets its hands on it. They have improved their record somewhat in recent years- but it still wouldnt surprise me if they cast Tom Cruise and had him leaping out of a plane to rip an enigma machine from Hitlers hands before going home (to US natch!) to get the girl….
Milk was a great movie and I put Harvey Milk in my Facebook as an inspiration of mine. However, since Alan Turing was British, it would be better if a British film studio made the film about him.
This isn’t really Hollywood fare to be honest.
Too many Americans will get all squeamish and uncomfortable about the subject. If it doesn’t have guns and boobs in it, they aren’t interested.
Better to leave it to the Europeans, they would know how to handle a sensitive story like this.
This man was wonderful! I have studied him a bit as part of a project related to gay ‘cures’ :)
Certainly looking forward to it if it does eventually reach screens! <3
Extremely disappointing news. Alan Turing is deserving of his story be told! His significant contribution to the strategy used during wartime history and of the man himself..
Subsequently to add insight to many who unknowingly use computers on a daily basis but lack any basic historic knowledge of their origins or function prior – Apple, Linux or Microsoft
The story of the man himself needs to be told, so people might learn and better understand the injustices and human rights abuses the British (and other) governments around the world have inflicted or imposed on LGBT people of accomplishment like himself who contributed greatly to the world as we know it . A world still filled with misinformation, cruel and unusual penalties, punishments,
Alan Turing should exemplified by film as man whose life the prejudices he experienced and unfortunately his death, are still reverberating or similarly experienced in LGBT communities around the world in 2012 .
Pretty stupid line from PN that there hasn’t been a film unless it is made by Hollywood, despite the many excellent British portrayals.
This isn’t exactly the sort of story that would sell to Hollywood’s main audience – teenage heterosexual couples looking for a movie for a date event. Does that mean that, if a LGBT or women’s story doesn’t appeal to that market no movie gets made? Only if you don’t count movies made for other distribution channels, like television.
Anyway, with big questions about the end of his life its not quite the time to be shooting something that would be around for decades.
regardless of how his life ended its still a story that needs to be told. Someones life is the sum of the parts that made it up, not about tittle tattle and conspiracy theories over how it ended.
I would of considered it murder. After officially being recognised as shortening the war by years and saving countless lives, we then repay him by emotionally and physically torturing him until driven to an untimely death.