Saturday, January 4, 2014


Alan Turing (1912-1954) sketch in sepia

The Story of Mathematical Genius 
Brilliantly and touchingly portrayed 
by Derek Jacobi

Alan Turing, who is credited with being instrumental in cracking the German's supposedly impenetrable Enigma Code, was largely responsible for saving many thousands of British and Allied Forces lives during World War Two.  
He is also widely recognized as the Father 
of Modern Computer Science.


  1. Greetings. Happy New Year.

    Thank you for posting this excellent British film on Alan Turing. Derek Jacobi is one of the English-speaking world's greatest actors.

    Well done.

  2. Thank you for te visit, Aurore, and for your most appropriate comment.

    Yes! Jacobi is absolutely first-rate and extraordinarily versatile. Did you happen to see The Last Tango in Halifax on PBS last year -- a sort of tragi-comic soap opera on "advanced" social themes as played out among a motley group of lower-middle-class citizens?

    Like most things "modern" it had too many moments I found unnecessarily abrasive, but the acting was so superb it didn't matter.

    As far as I'm concerned Art trumps Politics -- and the Law -- every single time. A position sure to anger True Believers of most identifiable factions right AND left I'm sure.

  3. Of course. Why did you ask, Ducky?

    By the way, I urge you to watch this drama, if you're not already familiar with it. It's terrific.

  4. A favorite quote from Chekhov (paraphrased):

    If you introduce a gun in the first act, it has to go off in the last act.

    (Read The Seagull to get it.)

  5. @FT ---
    Like most things "modern" it had too many moments I found unnecessarily abrasive ...

    Well, I mention t, FT because you seem prone to the Chekhov character's fragility in the face of reality.

  6. Not one person bothered to watch THIS drama all the way through, if at all, did they?

    Not ONE person "got it" ---- DID they?

    And so many wonder why we live in a hostile, hopelessly negative, merciless, anger-driven, MORONIC society!

    Dear, God, why oh WHY did you CREATE us?

    "... And we are here as on darkling plane –––
    Where ignorant armies clash by night."

    You were so right, Matthew. Sophocles did see on the Aegean.

    Pat, who loved Alan so truly, saw it clearly and beautifully. Mr. Knox, who seemed like such a doddering dolt at first, understood it too. Mrs. Turing turned out to be surprisingly sensitive and loving underneath her prosaic, twittering, acting out of middle-class conventions.

    To one degree or another THEY all "played the game."

    Alan could not. What was his tragic flaw?

    Like Jesus Christ Alan Turing was TOO HONEST to live in this world.

    What did he say to John Smith towards the end? He said breaking the code was NOT the important thing, it was what we did AFTERWARD that mattered.

    I understand that, do you?

  7. And you, Ducky, you're so damned busy "straining out gnats while swallowing camels," you NEVER bother to address the subject at hand when you come here -- or anywhere else I've ever seen you. All you do is make sarcastic quips and ask irrelevant questions.

    Because I identify, myself, as bitterly opposed to Marxian thinking, ALL you ever do is change the subject. It would never occur to you that someone who embraces a way of thinking unlike your own could EVER have anything of VALUE to contribute.

    Where is the virtue in that?

    Don't you see, Ducky, that in your own way you are just like all the THER Philistines. The only difference between you and "them" is that YOU have your OWN set of prejudices and stale, life denying conventions that cause you to lose touch with YOUR humanity.

    In this regard whatever it is you embrace is NO DIFFERENT from Mediaeval Catholicism or New England Puritanism -- or any of the other suffocating, dehumanizing forms of bigotry and rigid rules of conduct that keep people alienated from and terrified of each other.

    Tell me the TRUTH, Ducky. Have you EVER been genuinely MOVED by ANYTHING? Have you ever expressed unabashed, unfiltered, unreserved ENTHUSIASM for ANYTHING?

    If so, I'd like to hear about it. You see, I KNOW that underneath your rather thick crust you ARE a human being. We ALL are, but because most of us feel compelled to "play the game" we remain as distant from each other as the west is from the east.

  8. For the record, I watched this magnificent production. Jacobi is superb. The fact that he himself is gay and only recently married his partner may have lent a deeper authenticity of feeling to the film.

    I highly recommend it to anyone who places any value in the human spirit. I haven't felt that value, actually, for a while, but this film restored my hope.

    Despite the awful treatment Mr. Turing suffered because of who he was, he continued to be a loyal British citizen and do the work he loved.

    We'll never really know if his death was an accident or a suicide, but how does that change the loss of a genius because of ignorance?

  9. Thank you, Aurore. I needed to see evidence that at least one person tried t benefit from this.

    I guess you now this production was first mounted in 1996.The story, as given in the news item posted just [receding this film, said that Alan committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

    Dramatizations often toy with the facts for greater dramatic impact. I have no problem with that. After all Shakespeare is notorious for having played fast and loose with the facts in his "histories."

    I saw this film when it first came out, and found Jacobi's performance poignantly memorable then. This week I watched it again with much deeper appreciation for the ironies, inferences about the nature of human society and how it forces most people to act hypocritically in order to avoid the punishment of rejection, ostracism, and loss of status, etc.

    The uniformly excellent quality of ALL the performers seemed more apparent now. So did the knowledge that we must trouble to look beneath the surface behavior of most individuals, give them the benefit of the doubt, and give them every chance to reveal their true nature to us, which often turns out to be beautiful once the mask is removed.



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