Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: The Man Who Broke the Code

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Imitation Game” (2014).

World War II is only a distant memory now. The darkness of that time mostly forgotten. We have little idea now how close England, the United States and their allies came to losing. It was the darkest of times for England. She was losing the war. Hitler’s submarines were sinking merchant ships bringing her vital supplies to England. His Luftwaffe blitzkrieg was devastating its cities with their bombs.

The British were desperate to break the code the Germans were using to send orders from Berlin. If they could break the code transmitted by the Enigma machine, the Brits would know where and when the Nazis would hit. Though they had an Enigma, they could not break the code.

Unfortunately the code was virtually unbreakable. The Germans reset the code at the beginning of each day. If the Brits broke the code on Monday, there would be a completely new code on Tuesday. In addition, there were millions of choices for the daily code. it took a genius to come up with a way to break the Enigma. That genius was Alan Turing.

Benedict Cumberbatch first made his splash on my consciousness as Khan in “Star Trek: Into Darkness”. He was the best thing about that movie. And I couldn’t even pronounce his name. Now he breathes Alan Turing to life into “The Imitation Game” (2014).

Turing finally broke the with his team at Bletchley Park. Especially with the help of fellow mathematician, Joan Clark, convincingly played by Keira Knightley. According to experts, their work shortened World War II by two years and saved millions of lives.

Director Morten Tyldum is to lauded along with his excellent cast for delivering a moving portrayal of a great scientist, his contributions and the challenges he faced. In addition, Alexandre Desplat has given “The Imitation Game” a wonderful musical score. Over the last few years, I have been very pleased with the music he produces for the films he scores. He is fast becoming one of my favorite film composers.

While Albert Einstein was being lauded as the greatest scientist of the age, two others whose contribution to the Allied effort helped bring World War II to an end were being disgraced. One, J. Robert Oppenheimer, as a communist, the other, Alan Turing, a homosexual. “The Imitation Game”, and the book, Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges upon which it is based, brings the Alan Turing’s contributions out of the shadows finally. J. Robert Oppenheimer is still waiting his turn.

What was your favorite movie from 2014?

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Bald Man’s Blues

A pickin’ and a grinner

I was having a bad hair day
And for me that wasn’t easy
All my hair had gone away
And the rest was feeling breezy

It was a big bad thing
When my head went lean
It was a big bad dream
When my hair left the scene

Once a shaker and a mover
Now two strands for a leftover
My hair’s nothing but a loser
And not much for a combover

It was a big bad thing
When my head went lean
It was a big bad dream
When my hair left the scene

Bridge:
When I checked the mirror
My hair was a big, big zero

All my bats were in the belfry
And the top of my head was thin
Pulled down by Old Man Gravity
My hair took it on the chin.

It was a big bad thing
When my head went lean
It was a big bad dream
When my hair left the scene

Hamlet and The Truman Show

For the satirical rogue says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit. (Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2)

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 2 Scene 2 (continued). It’s that time, folks. Time to ask if Hamlet is mentally unstable or is he just playing fast and loose ’cause he’s on “The Truman Show”?

Freud says yes. Jung says no. Skinner says he is behaving that way, so it must be true. Adler says he has several rings on the Actualization ladder before he’s happy. Hamlet’s doctor blames it on that bedwetting episode the Hamster had when he was six. Let’s just say that Princey isn’t a happy camper and leave it at that.

Thing is the Hamster can’t get a moment’s peace. Hamlet is having a down-and-out with Ophelia. Mom is down on him for being so hard on the king. Last few days, he’s caught Polonius eavesdropping on him big time. If that ain’t enough, he is strolling down the hall. Out pops Polonius and gives Hamlet the third degree. Man, I would find that a bummer too. He has become a canary in a cage, thanks to Claudius and Mom’s intentions.

Probably Poly came up with the plan to get rid of Dad. That’s some down and dirty plotting. Makes Hamlet wonder if Cain had a minion urging him on. “Ah, c’mon. You will be the Big Man on Campus instead of that smarty Abel. Always egging you on. ‘My sheep are better than your cabbage.'”

Does Hamlet have an antic disposition or is he just feeling blue? He may not be a mentally unstable person. He just plays one of tv. But he sure feels like somebody’s watching him these days.

So Polonius asks him what he is reading. “Who does Polonius think he is?” Hamlet thinks. He doesn’t really care. Just wants to be left alone. Of course, he’s reading words…words…words. Perhaps Hamlet is reading Kierkegaard. Perhaps he is reading Sartre. After all, existentialism is all the rage. And who is a better example of that philosophy than Hamlet?

Or perhaps he is reading one of the Gospels.

Hamlet is so angry. The gall of Polonius. It’s enough to drive a guy mad if he wasn’t already mad. Hamlet does a rhetorical. “Do you know me indeed?” Hamlet gets in his jab. “Just one man in ten thousand is good. (You ain’t him.) A coward dies a thousand deaths. The valiant taste of death but once.” Take that you Poly-want-a-cracker.

Poly leaves and in comes the clowns, R & G. And they talk blah-blah-blah too. He is no more sane to them than he was to Poly. It’s all the sane to him.

Well, there you have it. The guy is play acting, or is he?

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: Once every seven years

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is

Billy Wilder. Man, could that guy make movies. He made some of the bestest movies in the fifties. “Sunset Boulevard”, “Stalag 17”, “Witness for the Prosecution”, “Some Like It Hot” and “The Apartment”. But I got to tell you one of my favs of his is “Seven Year Itch”.

It’s got the sexiest woman in the world, Marilyn Monroe. You’d think Wilder would have matched her up with Clark Gable, Cary Grant or one of the other leading men of the time who could make the women swoon. He didn’t. Her opposite is the comic actor Tom Ewell, playing a mild mannered schmuck, Richard Sherman, a publishing exec.

It’s New York City in the fifties, it’s summer and the guys, who can afford it, are sending the wife and the fam out of town for the summer. So Mrs. Sherman and Junior are sent packing for the wilds of Maine. Mr. Mild Mannered is told to watch his weight, to not smoke and to not drink as wife and kiddie say goodbye at the train station. He is bound and determined to make sure he follows orders. It was what the doctor ordered; it is what he will do.

Now many of us think  that vegetarianism was a recent invention. Not true. Right there in New York City, Mr. Mild Mannered has his first evening meal in a vegetarian restaurant. “Health food, that’s the stuff. The human body is a very delicate machine. A precision instrument. You  can’t run it on martinis and Hungarian goulash,” MM says. It sounds like he is trying to convince himself.

Then MM goes home. No television for him. He is going to do some reading. This is when all hell breaks loose.

Do you have a favorite director?

Audrey

Audrey hated her job.  A lot. Her job was to sit in from of the camera and sell It insurance. In a few words, she told the camera It was going to die. It needed to be prepared.

It needed to plan its funeral. To purchase The Sympathy Plan, a prepaid, all-expense sendoff to the Great Beyond. Unpleasant as it was, the camera absolutely needed to know that Its family would be devastated with grief from its death.

Unfortunately, Its wife and Its children, Its brother and Its sister, Its mother and Its father would have to deal with something that most cameras find difficult. In the middle of their devastation, they would have to think about The Funeral.

They would have to agree at the worst possible moment. “He would want this,” one would say. “No, he would want that,” another said. “How are we going to pay for this?” his wife asked.

So here Audrey sat behind the desk and in front of the camera, telling It the truth. Years of voice lessons, acting training and staying in shape, giving up her cookies and her milk shakes and all the food she loved, food that would make her fat. And for what? To tell the damned camera It was going to die.

Her voice dropped into silence. She couldn’t do it.

She rose from the table like Lazarus’ rising from the grave. She looked into the camera. “I can’t do this. I won’t do this.”

She walked past the director. On her way to the door, she came to the camera, kissed It and said, “You aren’t going to die. At least, not soon.”

She was wrong about that. The next day, in the same studio, shooting another actress doing another commercial, a crew member accidentally tripped on the camera’s cord and pull It to the floor, crashing It into several pieces, Its lens beyond repair.

Audrey walked out of the studio and down the hall and out into the afternoon sunlight.

Free at last.