Parallel stories: 18th century Harrison builds the marine chronometer for safe navigation at sea; 20th century Gould is obsessed with restoring it.

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Cast

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Liam Jennings ...
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

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Genres:

Drama | History

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Release Date:

2 January 2000 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A hosszúsági fok  »

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(2 parts)

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In a conversation occurring in approximately 1730, John Harrison refers to the number pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. However, the notation pi was not in current use until it was adopted by Leonhard Euler in 1737. See more »

Quotes

William Harrison: Taking that into account, there's a possible error in the longitude of less than half a degree.
Captain Bourke: Let me be the first to congratulate you.
[He starts to pour Harrison a drink.]
William Harrison: No, thank you. I'm already drunk. All my life -- my father's life -- has been for this moment. Listen: if the watch stops now, sir, so does my heart, for there will be no proof of its achievement. *Half* a degree -- we've won the prize, captain, we've won the prize!
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Connections

References The Brains Trust (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

The British really know how to make movies...
8 January 2000 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

I'm a great fan of British filmmaking. As an American who's lived in the UK most of his life, I've had the plesure of being exposed to British cinema. In no small way is this through British television.

Logitude is another in a long line of excellent British films that have not received the viewership they deserve. I watched this film on Channel 4 shortly after the new year. And I admit, all the hype over this film in the previous weeks was justified. Accute performances on Gambon's John Harrison as well as Iron's part, of whom mind I must admit I am no fan, plus the usual assortment of marvelous west end stage performers in particular John Wood as Edmund Halley proclaim Longitude as excellent entertainment.

The story was, on the other hand somewhat mellowed down and excessively lengthed. Yet I suppose in order to transpire the scientific details presented in the novel, length was required. But overall it is a great recount of history and I strongly recommend it to American audiences who won't find this sort of thing at home easily.


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