Comments: 7
Did you see the screen adaptation starring Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons (and Stephen Fry and Samuel West in minor roles)? IMHO a classic case of "the movie is better than the book".
Elentarri's Book Blog 3 years ago
I didn't know they turned the book into a movie. I will have to track it down. :)
They did something very clever (IMHO) by adding a second narrative level involving the instruments' restoration by a burned-out WWII veteran (Jeremy Irons), which gave the story an added dimension. The TV movie is not necessarily any more "scientific" than the book, but it explains the scientific issues very well -- and also the insane political struggle following the proclamation of the "Longitude Prize".
Elentarri's Book Blog 3 years ago
The book does include a chapter (all very short chapters - 15 chapters in under 200 pages) on Jeremy Iron's attempts to restore the original instruments. The book just came across as a bit bland I suppose. I've read some of the astronomical attempts to solve the longitude problem in other books that didn't particularly deal with longitude, and they had more information and it came across as more "exciting". Of the 3 Dava Sobel books I've "read", this is the only one I've finished - only because it was really short! Sobel's writing style just doesn't work for me.
Well, watch the adaptation at any rate. :) What I mean, though, is that the itty-bitty mention that the restoration gets in Sobel's book is blown up into a complete second storyline, on equal footing with the creation of the instruments by Harrison -- it really adds a complete second dimension to the story that simply isn't there in Sobel's book. You've got "this is how Harrison came to make them" (and these were his wages ... or not) -- and this is how they were restored in the 20th century (by someone at least as obsessive as Harrison) after having been unjustly fallen into disregard.

And I'm sure you mean Jeremy Irons's *character*'s attempts ... :D
Elentarri's Book Blog 3 years ago
I will definately track down the movie! Thanks.
Enjoy! (I hope ...)