Pink Dog

Copenhagen – Michael Frayn’s excellent play on science and morality

Copenhagen - DVD coverThe televised version of Michael Frayn’s hit play, Copenhagen is about the controversial meeting during the Second World War between German scientists Werner Heisenberg and Danish colleague Niels Bohr. Formerly close colleagues during the development of quantum mechanics, Heisenberg and Bohr were on opposite sides of the war. The question of why Heisenberg visited Bohr – to warn him about the German nuclear research program? to find out about the Allied one? to suggest a truce in which scientists on both sides held back from nuclear developments? – continues to cause dispute amongst historians.

So whilst Frayn’s play and this adaptation can’t claim to be the definitive account, it is still a well-written, well-acted and well-directed exploration of scientists grappling with their moral codes during wartime and during dictatorship – even if the adaptation of Frayn’s play gives less room to Heisenberg to explain (justify) his actions than the original stage production did. It also, thankfully, features less sweat soaked shirts than the state production I saw had.

The DVD comes with subtitles although, disappointingly, no other extras despite this being a topic so very well suited to background and follow up information.

If you like this, you might also be interested in Fail-Safe.

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Buy Copenhagen, starring Daniel Craig, Stephen Rea, Francesca Annis here.


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