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Jonathan Coy , Christopher Hodsol , Charles Sturridge    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Product Description


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

Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Story of a Lone Genius who Captured Time June 22 2004
By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER
Note: This review has been written from a city with the following position on Earth:
LATITUDE: (43 degrees 2 minutes North)
LONGITUDE: (81 degrees 9 minutes West)
This 3 hour 20 minute movie (based on the 1995 book by Dava Sobel) that was first on television in 1999 (and transferred to two 100 minute DVDs in 2000) is "a sweeping epic that takes place in two worlds." The two worlds are the eighteenth century of John Harrison (1693 to 1776) and the twentieth century of Lieutenant Commander Rupert Gould (1890 to 1948). This movie chronicles the life of Harrison who builds sea clocks and alternates his story with Gould's who restores Harrison's clocks and at the same time restores his own health. (Note that most of Sobel's book {that has the same title as this movie} is concerned with Harrison's story while only four pages in the last chapter of her book are devoted to Gould's story.)
The beginning of this movie is narrated and lasts less than three minutes. However, this narration is probably the most important part of this movie because it tells the viewer about latitude and longitude, indirectly how to calculate longitude, how time is related to longitude, and why longitude was so difficult to measure "during most of human history." (How to determine latitude was discovered centuries before this.)
I felt this narration was adequate but it did not mention one simple and important fact:
In 24 hours, the Earth spins 360 degrees on its axis from east to west. (Thus, as the narrator states, four minutes of time equals one degree of longitude east or west.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Longitude Dec 27 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
How things were invented years ago and were so large they were almost impossible to transport anywhere. This is truly a story about never giving up on what you believe despite the odds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great book ruined Sept. 30 2001
The TV series' addition of a shadow story is unpardonable. If I'd
realized before I ordered this DVD version how much the stupid
gratuitous 20th century story would get in the way I would not have
bought it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired by the book "Longitude" by Dava Sobel Dec 10 2013
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
This production fills in a few gaps in the book; well researched gaps.

It is 1714 and due to a need to practically calculate longitude at sea a prize of 20,000 pounds (approximately five million dollars at this time) is offered.

This production takes the story and starts out with one paragraph on Rupert Gould (Jeremy Irons) and builds a parallel story about the watch inventor and the watch restorer.

I will not go into detail of the two parallel worlds as you will want to watch the story unfold. However you will not be disappointed in the sets or the characters and soon you will find yourself becoming part of both worlds.

The DVD has a great extra of the making of the movie and what they are trying to provide.
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5.0 out of 5 stars true story Aug. 25 2013
By George Jones TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating true story encompassing two hundred years and based on a best-selling book. During the 18th century, the British parliament offered an unprecedented cash award to anyone who could devise a way to determine longitude at sea.This wonderful, informative epic is superbly acted out by Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons. Definitely worth watching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well done July 26 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I've read the book and the movie runs close to the historic account. I first watched the movie on History Channel a number of years ago and wanted a copy of it for my library
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5.0 out of 5 stars Longitude DVD March 23 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Longitude is a brilliant story. Not only does it highlight the problem with obtaining true longitude without an accurate timepiece but it also highlights the social standards when Harrison was makingvhis clock. It also brings an additional story with the restoring of the four clocks Harrison made and the effect it had on the restorer's personal life
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historical and entertaining Sept. 8 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is two movies in one, two passionate individuals, two centuries apart and both focused on a time piece that revolutionized sea travel. The movie is a little long but well worth the time.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale of vital historical importance
The beginning of this film makes clear the importance of knowing one's position at sea. Disasters--some of epic proportions--were distressingly regular when doubts about one's... Read more
Published on July 12 2004 by John A. Dodds
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!
This has it all! History, science, a great adventure story, great acting. Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons are superb! Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by Ralph Velasco
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fourth Dimension.
In the 18th century much had already been achieved in the exploration of the world: In addition to the achievements of Columbus, Cabot , Vespucci, Cartier, da Gama and others in... Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by Themis-Athena
3.0 out of 5 stars Good adaptation of the Sobel book
Dava Sobel's book "Longitude" began the recent slew of books examining some important, but obscure aspect of history. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by Gary M. Greenbaum
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful fictionalized story of the Harrison saga
I initially purchased this work for use with a 5th grade class doing an exploration of the problems surrounding the need for calculating longitude in early exploration and... Read more
Published on Dec 3 2002 by Courtney L. Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than the Book
This film is described as an adaptation of Dava Sobel's book of the same name. It is far more than an adaptation, however. Read more
Published on June 30 2002 by Bruce Kendall
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