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Longitude (2000)

In two parallel stories, the clockmaker John Harrison builds the marine chronometer for safe navigation at sea in the 18th Century and the horologist Rupert Gould becomes obsessed with restoring it in the 20th Century.

Director:

Charles Sturridge

Writers:

Dava Sobel (book), Charles Sturridge
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Coy ... Adm. Sir Cloudsley Shovell
Christopher Hodsol Christopher Hodsol ... Capt. Ainsley
Jeremy Irons ... Rupert Gould
Peter Cartwright ... Army Doctor
Gemma Jones ... Elizabeth Harrison
John Nettleton ... Minister for the Navy
Michael Gambon ... John Harrison
Nigel Davenport ... Sir Charles Pelham
Liam Jennings Liam Jennings ... Young William Harrison
Anna Chancellor ... Muriel Gould
Frank Finlay ... Adm. Wagner
Geoffrey Hutchings Geoffrey Hutchings ... Estate Manager
Andrew Scott ... John Campbell
John Standing ... Capt. Proctor
John Wood ... Sir Edmund Halley
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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 January 2000 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A hosszúsági fok See more »

Filming Locations:

Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the very beginning of the series the Admiral refers repeatedly to "His Majesty's Navy" and "His Majesty's Officers". The incident takes place in 1707 when Queen Anne was on the throne. See more »

Quotes

William Harrison: Would it be possible to set out more explicitly what the Board requires, so that we might be prepared for it?
Lord Morton: *No, sir -- it would not*! It is not your business, sir, to limit the inquiry of this board, but to satisfy it!
John Harrison: It is not my business, *sir*, to explain the workings of a lifetime to a group of *dog-collared university book-swallowers* who wouldn't know the difference between a *balance spring* and a *bedside pan*! The thirty years I've stood before this board, I've never once had the ...
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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 albedoSee 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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