A Compassionate Spy (2023)
Director: Steve James Run Time: 102 min. Release Year: 2022
Starring: Joan Hall, Theodore Hall
Country: United States
About the film:
World Premiere, 2022 Venice Film Festival
A Compassionate Spy (2023) reveals the twists and turns of a real-life spy story alongside a remarkable marriage that lasted for over 50 years.
Recruited as an 18-year-old Harvard undergraduate, Ted Hall was the youngest physicist on the Manhattan Project rushing to create a bomb before the Germans did. After the successful detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb, he became increasingly concerned that a U.S. post-war monopoly on such a powerful weapon could lead to nuclear catastrophe. He made a choice that October to start passing key information about the bomb’s construction to the Soviet Union.
After the war, he met and married Joan, a fellow student at the University of Chicago with whom he shared a passion for classical music and socialist causes — and the explosive secret of his espionage. Living under a cloud of suspicion and years of FBI surveillance and intimidation, the pair raised a family while Ted refocused his scientific brilliance on groundbreaking bio-physics research.
About the filmmaker:
Steve James is an American film producer and director of documentaries, including the Academy Award nominated films Hoop Dreams (1994) and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016). His other acclaimed work includes Stevie (2002), the Independent Spirit Award winner The Interrupters (2011), No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (2010), Life Itself (2014), and the biographical drama Prefontaine (1997), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His docuseries City So Real premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to be named one of the best television shows of 2020 by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time, Slate, The LA Times, and the Hollywood Reporter, among many others.
Most recently, his documentary A Compassionate Spy (2023) premiered out of competition at the 2022 Venice Film Festival and the multi-part The Luckiest Guy in the World (2023) won an Audience Award at SXSW.See our upcoming films