"A lone genius whose story cannot fail to impress"
"Vivid depiction of amazing story of politics & science"
with Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons
Gracefully adapted from Dava Sobel's
bestseller, Longitude combines
drama, history and science into a stimulating, authentic
account of personal triumph and discovery. Equally impressive is
the way writer-director Charles Sturridge's parallel stories complement each other.
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
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.
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 marvellous 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.
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