Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Longitude 2000

     During the 18th century nautical navigation at sea was following a coastline all the way.  You could not travel to the West Indies from Europe or to the Americas.  The sun or stars would give the latitude but not longitude unless crosschecked with an accurate clock.  There were many disasters because of navigational errors.  The British Parliament offered a substantial prize for the best way to find longitude at sea.  John Harrison began work on an accurate and sea worthy clock.  In the 20th century, Rupert Bould worked to restore the clocks made by Harrison.
     There was the possibility for this film to be boring since it’s all about clocks!!  Clocks are being built, inspected, logged, compared, taken apart and restored.  In this day, we have accurate time at our fingertips.  We don’t have to worry about where we are since we have GPS.  Britain’s Queen Anne announced the prize mentioned and it was 20,000 pounds.  Quite a tidy some in the 1800’s!!  Miscalculations at sea meant crashes on rocky shoals and a nearby location with fresh food and water could me missed.  Scurvy deaths were also a problem since fresh food with vitamin C could not be kept for long periods.  Longitude is time, one degree corresponds to 8 minutes of the 24-hour day.  The clocks of this period relied on pendulums and the motion of the ship would not allow a pendulum to be accurate.  This film is interesting at every turn because of a focus on the people involved and the complexities of solving the problem.  3 ½* (I liked this movie) 

250 min on two discs, directed by Charles Sturridge with Jonathan Coy, Christopher Hodsol, Jeremy Irons, Peter Cartwright, Gemma Jones, John Nettle ton, Michael Gambon, Nigel Davenport, Liam Jennings, Anna Chancellor, Frank Finlay, Geroffrey Hutchings, Andrew Scott.

Note:  Imdb 7.9 out of 10, 84% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5 with 166 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Antigua, Barbuda; Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, Brill, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Leavesden, Hertforshire, Oxforshire, Susssex, England, UK; New York City, New York.  There is a mistake in this film.  John Harrison explains longitude to the crew of the ship and later he makes remarks to the Board of Longitude.  Harrison was well known for an inability to express his ideas clearly.

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