A Compassionate Spy


Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre Fri, Sep 8, 2023 6:30 PM
Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre Sun, Sep 10, 2023 6:30 PM
Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre Mon, Sep 11, 2023 6:30 PM
Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre Tue, Sep 12, 2023 3:30 PM
Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre Wed, Sep 13, 2023 3:30 PM
Film Info
Event Type:Documentary Feature
Release Year:2022
Run Time:101 minutes
Production Country:United States
Original Language:English
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Steve James


“A Compassionate Spy” is the story of a brilliant nuclear physicist, a passionate leftist, and the explosive secret they kept over a remarkable 52-year marriage.

Recruited in 1944 as an 18-year-old Harvard undergraduate to be the youngest physicist on the Manhattan Project, Hall didn’t share his colleagues’ elation after the successful detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb.

Increasingly concerned during 1944 — with Germany clearly losing the war — that a U.S. post-war monopoly on such a powerful weapon could lead to nuclear catastrophe, he decided beginning that October to start passing key information about the bomb’s construction to the Soviet Union.

After the war, at the University of Chicago, he met 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. 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 biophysics research.

“A Compassionate Spy” — two-time Oscar-nominee Steve James’ nuanced documentary — reveals the twists and turns of this real-life spy story, its profound impact on nuclear history, and the couple’s remarkable love and life together during more than 50 years of marriage.