"A Compassionate Spy"

‘A Compassionate Spy’ Trailer: Steve James’ Manhattan Project Doc Tells Story Behind Oppenheimer’s Colleague

Is there a sympathetic cause for cheating?

Magnolia Pictures’ documentary “A Compassionate Spy,” directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “Life Itself”), captures the controversial true story of Manhattan Project physicist Ted Hall. Part of the team behind J. Robert Oppenheimer’s atomic bomb, Hall shared nuclear secrets with the Soviet Union. The documentary is told through the perspective of Ted’s wife, Joan Hall, who protected her secret throughout their 50-year marriage.

The official synopsis for “Compassionate Spy” reads: Recruited in 1944 as an 18-year-old Harvard undergraduate to help J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team create a bomb, Ted Hall was the youngest physicist on the Manhattan Project and did not share the euphoria of his colleagues after the successful detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb. Concerned that a postwar US monopoly on such a powerful weapon could lead to nuclear catastrophe, Hall began passing key information about the bomb’s construction to the Soviet Union. After the war he met, fell in love with and married Joan, a fellow student with whom he shared a passion for classical music and socialist causes and the explosive secret of his espionage. The couple raised a family while living under a cloud of suspicion and years of FBI surveillance and intimidation.

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“A Compassionate Spy” premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival ahead of its North American launch in Telluride. The film is distributed by Magnolia Pictures and will be released in the vein of Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” which fictionalizes the creation of the bomb itself. “Oppenheimer” hits theaters July 21 and used real scientists at Los Alamos as extras.

“We have to really be on our game, we have to be true to the story here and really know what we’re doing,” director Christopher Nolan explained, citing that the first atomic bomb explosion in the Trinity test be shown on screen in the upcoming film without CGI .

IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote in his review of “A Compassionate Spy” that the harrowing true story is completely separate from “Oppenheimer”.

“(Director) James doesn’t have access to the same toolkit on a low-budget documentary that someone like Christopher Nolan might have at his disposal while making a $100 million biopic about Robert Oppenheimer,” Ehrlich wrote.

He added that “A Compassionate Spy” is “extremely sympathetic to Hall’s choice,” with director James classifying Ted Hall’s as “the lesser of two evils” when it comes to today’s international nuclear arms race. Ehrlich wrote, “The rabid nationalism that might convince some modern viewers to see Hall as a villain is exactly what scared him into contacting the Soviets.”

“A Compassionate Spy” is presented by Participant and is a Mitten Media and Kartemquin Films production produced by Mark Mitten pga, Dave Lindorff and Steve James. The executive producers are Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Tim Horsburgh and Gordon Quinn.

“A Compassionate Spy” will premiere in theaters and on VOD on August 4th. Check out the trailer and poster below.

A Compassionate Spy Trailer Steve James Manhattan Project Doc Tells | SoxGame.info