RFodchuk recently found a smashing article promoting the 1998 “Longitude” documentary movie, Appreciation recap here. It is an excellent adaptation, and Patrick Malahide does a fantastic job of bringing the driven and feisty John Harrison to life. And what a life it was. Harrison’s unrelenting work in building high precision timekeepers to establish longitude at sea saved countless lives and also probably many economies. Without him, Britannia may not have Ruled the Waves as she did.
I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Dava Sobel’s very well-written book “Longitude” on which the movie is largely based. My enjoyment was even more enhanced by being able to use Mr. Malahide’s performance as a backdrop in my mind’s eyes and ears.
I found this part in the BBC article amusing, discussing Harrison’s writings
“[Dava] hadn’t made much use of them in her book,” says the programme’s director Peter Jones, “and when we turned to them, we could see why. They are immensely difficult to follow and are almost impenetrable.”
But by reading and re-reading, Jones and his team were able to see elements that would make the basis of useable dialogue – elements built on by Malahide and his knowledge of the Yorkshire accent.
Sobel does indeed make note of Harrison’s peculiar (even by the standard of his time) style of writing. From her book: Continue reading