After the horror of the Civil War, 'ignorant' Christopher Newman made his fortune. He travels to France is search of cultural treasures. He won't get past the Paris nightlife. After an ... See full summary »
Once a successful artist, Hart is now a shadow of his former self, his world torn apart by loss. He is consumed by a haunting portrait of his deceased wife and spends every moment studying ... 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
In the final voice over, Dava Sobel talks about charting our three dimensional world. However, one of the major points of this movie is that, as far as navigation is concerned, only two dimensions, latitude and longitude, are required to chart it. See more »
John Harrison never received his reward from the Board of Longitude. It came to him by special Act of Parliament, when he was 80 years old.
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This film was absolutely stunning, and after watching it we were amazed at how quickly the time flew. Though the entire movie (DVD) was 200 minutes long, we felt as though it had taken less than an hour. The sets and costumes were beautiful, the acting was superb, the meshing together of the two different times worked extremely well, the "timing" was impeccable, the tension built wonderfully, and the climax was powerful. We never dreamed we would feel so strongly about a movie depicting what we originally thought would be a mundane, boring subject. We are grateful to the makers of this film for the attention to detail and the feeling they put into this movie. It came alive for us, and we now feel more appreciative toward those geniuses of former times who persevered against all odds to improve the human condition. Kudos to Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons for their exquisite performances of complex characters, and for the depth of feeling they both portrayed.
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