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Decoding Alan Turing

Distributed by Frameline, 145 Ninth St., Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94103; 415-703-8650
Produced by Christopher Racster
Directed by Christopher Racster
DVD, color, 16 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Sociology, History, Gay & Lesbian Studies, Computer Science, Mathematics

Reviewed by Karen Coronado, George Fox University, Newberg, OR

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 9/16/2010

This film is about genius mathematician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist Alan Turing, father of modern computing and an openly gay man at the center of British intelligence operations during WWII. Working at Bletchley’s Hut 8, Turing took on what many thought was an impossible task, breaking the Nazi’s Enigma code. The secret to his amazing success was not that he broke the code but that he beat the system by a process of elimination rather than identification. Despite his tremendous contributions to the victory of the Allied forces, Turing faced persecution in Britain where homosexuality was illegal. Ultimately, he died under somewhat mysterious circumstances.

This brief documentary is of professional quality and includes clips from the movie, Breaking the Code (1997), a biography of Turing. The narrative train is well organized and easy to follow and the film packs a good deal of information into a short viewing time—an excellent biographical documentary.