There have been multiple waves from films about Alan Turing. One of such films was the 2011 Codebreaker film. The Codebreaker film revolves around the late life of Turing before his death. Not only is this documentary extraordinarily captivating, but it has a profound meaning for its viewers. Let’s look into the real history behind this movie and Turing’s life.
Early Life and Turing’s Career
The Codebreaker film explores Turing’s life through a fictional conversation with his psychiatrist to narrate the story. Turing’s early life consisted of tragedy when he planned to attend college with his close friend Christopher. However, he died shortly before as a tragedy to Alan. While Turing was a prodigy in all senses, the conviction on his homosexuality caused his career downfall. The film made sure to highlight his relationship with Christopher early on in the movie.
The documentary takes us through a narration or rather a recollection of his life by people who knew him. In reality, his career hit a high when he published his research on the “Decision Problem,” more popularly known as “Entsheidungsproblem.” This led him to his PhD from Princeton and the proposal of the universal Turing machine.
The Codebreaker – The Real Story
The real title as a codebreaker was provided to him during WWII. Turing joined the Government Code and Cypher School’s headquarters to work as a codebreaker. It was previously easy to decode messages as a Polish mathematician had created the Bomba. However, it became obsolete when the Germans updated their encryption and procedures.
Turing had already played a major role in the invention of Bombes. This machine provided military intelligence to their allies, while Turing and his team also decoded 84,000 plus messages monthly. Turing’s breakthrough was in 1942, when he finally created a machine that could decode the Germans’ encrypted messages. Named Tunny, the machine spectacularly decoded messages that were an enigma for a long time.
This mathematical code-breaking miracle by Turing earned him the title of the Officer of the Most Excellent OBE. However, the Codebreaker film takes a dark turn here. Viewers wonder how he ended up visiting a psychiatrist.
Despite many achievements in his career that he served as a pioneer, Turing broke off his engagement with Joan Clarke. Later, while in a relationship with Arnold Murray, he had to report the crime of a robbery in his house. Turing reported the crime and during the investigation he had to come out.
Because homosexuality was a crime in Britain then, Turing plead guilty to his conviction and chose to undergo hormonal therapy. This explains the psychiatrist sessions in the Codebreaker film. Even though he was charged with “gross indecency” back then, Turing resumed his work in mathematics and computation. However, the documentary maintains that the hormonal treatment did a number on him that led to his death in 1954.
It is true that there was a bitten apple at the scene of Turing’s suicide discovered by his housekeeper. However, evidence shows that the death was not due to cyanide poisoning. Until now, it remains a belief that Turing committed suicide because of his hormonal treatment and the unjust attitude of the authorities. The Codebreaker film cleverly showed how that impacted him and it has some truth to it as the real history.