Guest Blogger

The True Story of Alan Turing

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 29, 2015 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Alan Turing, Codebreaker, giveaway, historical inaccuracy, Imitation Game, movie contest, movies

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Patrick Sammon is the creator and executive producer of Codebreaker, a feature-length drama documentary about the brilliant and tragic life of Alan Turing. Sammon lives in Washington, D.C. and is president of Story Center Productions, LLC. Previously, he served as President of Log Cabin Republicans and Liberty Education Forum, as well as an award-winning television news reporter.

Read on to find out how you can win a free copy of Codebreaker.

The Imitation Game has been doing very well at the box office and has racked up eight Oscar nominations. It's a compelling and engaging film, but The Imitation Game is quite far from the true story of Alan Turing (check here, here, and here for some of the film's historical inaccuracies). If you want to watch a more accurate portrayal of Alan Turing's story, check out Codebreaker, an award-winning feature-length drama documentary about his life and legacy.

codebreaker-turing-still-1.jpgCodebreaker has attracted an enthusiastic worldwide audience of more than two million people. It has been featured on TV in more than 20 countries, including on Discovery Science here in the U.S. The film is now available on DVD, Netflix, iTunes, and other digital outlets.

If you're familiar with The Imitation Game, you know that Alan Turing built the intellectual foundation for the computer age and that he was a heroic World War II codebreaker. Instead of receiving accolades, Turing faced terrible persecution for being gay. In 1952, the British government forced him to undergo chemical castration as punishment for his homosexuality. He eventually committed suicide.

As a gay man, I was drawn to this story because I wanted more people to recognize Turing's brilliance and understand the terrible injustice he suffered (though it's important to keep in mind that tens of thousands of other British men faced prosecution for the same "crime"). LGBT people are too often deleted from history. I wanted to help make sure that didn't happen with Alan Turing.

Codebreaker takes a more expansive approach to Turing's story than The Imitation Game. The Hollywood version mainly focuses on Turing's work at Bletchley Park to decipher the German Enigma code. Codebreaker tells that part of his life story as well, but the film also examines in detail Turing's other intellectual achievements in mathematical biology, artificial intelligence, and most importantly computer science.

The film also provides a detailed examination of the tragic events that led to Turing's arrest, prosecution, and subsequent suicide. Viewers learn about the emotional and physical toll that Turing suffered because of the chemical castration he was forced to endure.

Codebreaker tells Turing's emotional story by using a seamless mix of dramatic scenes and more traditional documentary elements. Built on a solid historical foundation of true events, the dramatic scenes focus on the therapy sessions that Turing underwent during the last 18 months of his life, when he undertook voluntary psychotherapy with a German Jewish analyst.

codebreaker-turing-still-2.jpgUnlike most psychiatrists and psychoanalysts of the day, Dr. Franz Greenbaum had enlightened views about homosexuality. Anchoring the film in the therapy sessions allows the audience to emotionally engage with Turing, to identify and sympathize with this outsider genius.

The documentary sequences support the drama scenes and provide context to the narrative. Interview clips from the most charismatic experts in the fields of technology and high science bring Turing's extraordinary scientific contributions into the 21st century. Codebreaker also includes important voices from people who knew and remember Turing.

Together, the film's drama scenes and documentary elements combine to offer a three-dimensional picture of Alan Turing, his accomplishments, his tragic end, and his lasting legacy.

Want to win a free copy of Codebreaker? It's easy! Just follow The Bilerico Project on Twitter -- everyone who follows us between 1:00 PM Eastern on Thursday, January 29 and noon Eastern on Friday, February 6 will be automatically entered to win one of three DVD copies of the film. Already follow us on Twitter but still want to enter the contest? You can do so by retweeting this tweet.

All winners will be notified by direct message on Twitter after the contest ends.

Photos depict actors Ed Stoppard as Alan Turing and Henry Goodman as Dr. Franz Greenbaum.

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