In the 18th century, the only way to navigate accurately at sea was to follow a coastline all the way, which would not get you from Europe to the West Indies or the Americas. Observing the sun or stars would give you the latitude, but not the longitude unless done in conjunction with a clock that would keep time accurately at sea, and no such clock existed. After one too many maritime disasters due to navigational errors, the British Parliament set up a substantial prize for a way to find the longitude at sea. The film's main story is that of craftsman John Harrison: he built a clock that would do the job, what we would now call a marine chronometer. But the Board of Longitude was biased against this approach and claiming the prize was no simple matter. Told in parallel is the 20th century story of Rupert Gould, for whom the restoration of Harrison's clocks to working order became first a hobby, then an obsession that threatened to wreck his life. Written by
During the entire movie, when H1 is seen, the ticking that can be heard belongs to H3. The actual H1 and H2 tick in a rather dull way, but H3 is instantly recognizable, which is probably why its sound was used for H1 and H2 too. H4 appears to use the correct sound. See more »
[A rival timekeeping strategy]
Sir Kenhelm Digby:
Now, it is vital to my process, Sir Edmund, that each dog be wounded with the *same knife*, as these three animals have been, under my instructions, some three days ago. Now, the animals are then to be conveyed aboard one of His Majesty's ships, uh, under the supervision of a designated officer, whose task it is to *prevent the wound from healing*. Now the knife, however, would remain here, in London, and at *precisely noon*, each day, is to be plunged into the ...
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A&E's "Longitude" is perhaps the most emotionally compelling, made for TV dramas yet. I was so impressed when I first saw Longitude on A&E that I had to buy it on DVD the minute it came out. A highly realistic, fully drawn out, historical drama of how one man's dream tamed time and space, "Longitude" strikes home with its all-star cast (including Jeremy Irons and Micheal Gambon) and two-part storyline. The first story is that of a carpenter, John Harrison, who struggled for almost 50 years to perfect a "practical and useful" marine chronometer. The second story revolves around Commander Rupert Gould, a man who discovers Harrison's forgotten prototypes and fights to not only restore the timepieces but to also restore the honor of Harrison.
"Longitude" is filled with tons of edge-of-your-seat, gritty scenes, and every second of the 200-minute film glows with a profound message. The ending scene is especially powerful, in which Rupert Gould remarks, "What makes a man great? A man may be great in his aims, or in his achievements, or in both...but I think that man is truly great who makes the world his debtor..who does something for the world which the world needs, and which nobody before him has done or known how to do."
Definitely a great educational film to watch, and an excellent film to own. "Longitude" is an unforgettable experience and a demonstration of just how good a movie can be.
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