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Australia is about Edouard Pierson, a Belgian-born wool dealer who emigrated to Australia after World War Two. The movie actual takes place in Belgium as he returns to his homeland to ... See full summary »
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
The eighteenth century chronometer H4 is described as having a mechanical balance that ticks 5 times per second, however the second hand of the watch shown moves only once a second which is characteristic of a modern quartz movement. See more »
Well, Parliament has already been the instrument of much mischief. There is, therefore, only one court of appeal I could recommend.
And that is?
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Despite its feared four-hour length (including commercials as shown on A&E), "Longitude" gets my top rating. Totally engrossing, with absolutely no false or phony notes. Acting, photography superlative.
(Available on home video without commercials and with additional footage.)
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