Why only women?


I thought the movie would at least address this in passing, but if it did I missed it.

I agree this would be amazing in 1:85 DVD. I viewed it on a bootleg that's floating around of a (good quality) TV cap.

Oh content lords why must we suffer?

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I haven't seen this movie since, probably, about 1971. I remember the big room full of women, listening intently to the slowed-down sounds and trying to work out the code. At the time I didn't question why it was all women, but it seemed like a cool idea.

"The truth 24 times a second."

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I haven't seen this film, but I think I can answer the question.

The screenwriter Leo Marks was a genuine cryptographer during the Second World War, and at that time large numbers of women were drafted into the armed forces. One of the tasks they were put to was decoding and deciphering messages received from agents in occupied Europe.

Part of Leo Marks's job was to train and motivate these female teams, so that they became more than passive note-takers. You can read about this in his fascinating memoir "Between Silk and Cyanide"

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how interesting. I vaguely thought the film was reminiscent of the goings on at Bletchley park etc, now. I know why.

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If I recall (have not seen it in 40 years) Sebastian recruited people who were good at cross-word puzzles, and the movie's conceit/stereotype is that a skilled, non-geriatric cross-word puzzle-solver is going to be a female.

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Which was precisely how many of the cryptographic staff of Bletchley Park were recruited during the war; 80% of the establishment's staff were female. Not that many outside of that circle knew that until the stories began to be told in the 1970's. Bearing in mind Leo Marks' real-life involvement in the wartime Security Services, Sebastian is in a way the first film to deal with Bletchley Park and the deciphering of Ultra and the Enigma machine codes, in a sixties-flavoured, kooky way.

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:) Quite so, well said. It is very much a British echo of their Bletchley Park cultural icon -- moved to Carnaby Street.

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