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Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons stars in this sweeping adaption of Dava Sobel's best-selling book of high seas adventure and political intrigue. Determined to stop shipping losses on the oceans of the 18th century, Britain's Parliament offers a fabulous cash award to anyone who can devise a way to determine longitute at sea. Convinced he can solve the problem that has defeated England's best minds, rural clock maker John Harrison (Michael Gambon) begins an obsessive, 40-year struggle to claim the Longitude prize with his ingenious marine clock. 200 years later, naval officer Rupert Gould (Jeremy Irons) stumbles across Harrison's forgotten chronometers and devotes himself to restoring these long-neglected mechanical masterpieces.
Gracefully adapted from Dava Sobel's extraordinary bestseller, the four-part TV production of Longitude combines drama, history, and science into a stimulating, painstakingly authentic account of personal triumph and joyous discovery. Equally impressive is the way writer-director Charles Sturridge has crafted parallel stories that complement each other with enriching perspective. The first story involves the successful 40-year effort of 18th-century clockmaker John Harrison (Michael Gambon) to solve the elusive problem of measuring longitude at sea. In 1714 the British Parliament had offered a generous reward to anyone who solved the problem, and Harrison devoted his life to that solution. The second story, some 200 years later, involves the effort of shell-shocked British Navy veteran Rupert Gould (Jeremy Irons) to restore the glorious clocks that Harrison had built. Like Harrison, Gould is the most admirable type of obsessive, but, also like Harrison, he risks his marriage to accomplish his difficult task.
Thousands of sailors perished at sea before Harrison's triumph changed history, but Longitude demonstrates that Harrison's glory was slow to arrive--and his prize money even slower. A fascinating study of 18th-century British politics and clashing egos in the arena of science, the film is both epic and intimate in consequence, and Sturridge's magnificent script inspires Gambon and Irons to do some of the best work of their outstanding careers. The ever-reliable Ian Hart appears in Part 3 as Harrison's now-adult son and apprentice, and Longitude approaches its dramatic climax with the exhilarating tension of a first-rate thriller. Rallying after sickness to prove the integrity of their marvelous seafaring chronometers, the Harrisons still had to fight for official recognition, and Gould's restoration of the Harrison clockworks provides a fitting coda to this exceptional story about the thrill of discovery and the tenacity of remarkable men. --Jeff Shannon
Sometimes we need to be reminded that 'pioneers' really had a difficult time getting their ideas accepted.
We didn't always have GPS systems and satellites to help us. Read more
Well done, well written, acted, and presented. The story of how an Englishman and his son dedicated their lives to measuring longitude, which had never been done before,... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
In the 18th century, clockmaker John Harrison spent his entire lifetime developing a clock that would keep accurate time even as it endured the pitching and rolling of a ship a... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Gregory Bennett
A slow slog through a fascinating subject. The script was sophomoric, and the fine actors did as well as they could by it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John C Holbert
On my way to looking up other things, I found this film. I was fascinated by the topic. I have served in the United States Coast Guard, and I have plotted positions on charts. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Karen P. Rhodes
Great movie for any library.
A lot better than I thought it would be!
Acting was good and the cinematography was also very good!