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The Imitation Game tells the story of father of computing and Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing.
Releasedrn in the US this Friday, the film focuses heavily on the role the British mathematician played in helping the Allied forces crack the Nazi’s coded rncommunications.
The film has earned many positive reviews, with particular praise for Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Turing, but also criticisms for where it has deviated from the truth.
Torn mark the movie’s release an exhibition of the props are onrn show at Bletchley Park in England, the site of the Government Code and Cypher School where Turing worked during the war.
Turing played a major role in designing the Bombe, an electromechanical machine that rnpartially automate code-breaking. The Bombe helped rndecipher Nazi military communications that had been encrypted using Enigma rnmachines.
Here, diagrams of the Bombe drawn by Turing during thern film are shown surrounding a recreation of Turing’s desk.
The Bombe and its rnrole in cracking Enigma-coded messages stemmed from the work of a series rnof individuals. The Bletchley Park Bombe was later refined by another rnBletchley Park codebreaker Gordon Welchman and was actually built outside rnBletchley Park by engineer Harold Keen.
The model of the Bombe machine used in the film.
During the height of the war about 200 Bombes rnwere used at Bletchley Park to decipher rnmessages sent by the German army, air force and navy.
By the end rnof the war the fleet of Bombe machines were capable of rnresolving the settings used to encrypt messages within 20 minutes.
Whilern there were 158 milion million million possible settings for encrypting rnmessages using Enigma, the number of settings that had to be checked by rnthe Bombes was brought down to about one million by human codebreakers, rnwho identified cribs that gave clues as to how the Enigma machine had rnbeen set up that day.
Dismantling the Bombe
After the war the the Bombe machines used at Bletchley were rndismantled by order of Winston Churchill, as were the Colossus machines used to rncrack the Lorenz code used by the Nazi High Command.
Those who rnworked at Bletchley didn’t talk about the work they did until decades rnlater, as they were bound by the Official Secrets Act.
Outfits from the film. From left, uniforms from Turing’s childhood at Sherborne School in Dorset, a cardigan worn by Turing’s close friend Joan Clarke rn(Keira Knightley), and a suit worn by Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Turingrn is said to have proposed to Clarke and have introduced her to his rnfamily, but later broke the relationship off in 1941.
Characters in the film use replicas of official documents used by staff working at Bletchley during the war.
Clarke’s (Knightley) hat and suitcase from when she arrives at Bletchley in the film. The film has attracted some criticism for focusing on Turing’s friendship with Clarke and not on his homosexual relationships.
Part of a pub used in the film. Visitors to the exhibit can have their photo taken at the bar.
The film’s recreation of the desk of Commander Alastair Denniston (Charles Dance), rnthe head of the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley.
The Imitation Game exhibition, with an Enigma machine in a glass case and, sat behind, the model Bombe machine used in the film.
Tape showing encrypted messages sat on top of notes made during the movie’s portrayal of codebreaking.
In 1952 a burglary at Turing’s home set off a chain of events that rneventually led to his prosecution for gross indecency. During the coursern of the investigation Turing admitted a homosexual relationship, at a rntime when homosexual acts were illegal.
Turing’s punishment was rnan experimental chemical castration, a treatment whose negative effects rnare thought to have contributed to Turing’s decision to kill himself.