A friend who’d never seen Lewis Milestone, Aaron Rosenberg and Marlon Brando‘s Mutiny on the Bounty (’62) said he’d be catching it tonight at the New Beverly, where it was being shown in 35mm. It won’t be worth it, I replied. I like the idea of the New Beverly as much as the next guy, but it’s never been anything special projection- or sound-wise. It’s certainly no place to see a large-format film that was meant to be savored on a big, super-wide screen (if not at the ideal 2.76:1 aspect ratio then at least 2.55:1) with six-track, well-amplified directional sound. But I nonetheless imagined that Brando’s Bounty might look better than I expected, and so, like a moron, I went there tonight and took a seat in the second row. It looked like dogshit. Dupey, brownish tones, substandard projection lighting (I’d say around 8 foot lamberts, or 6 lower than the ASCAP standard) and nowhere near wide enough. The New Beverly doesn’t even present a true Scope aspect ratio (i.e., 2.35:1). It looked to me like 2.25:1. Robert Surtees shot Bounty in Ultra Panavision 70 (2.76:1), and his work looks terrific on the Warner Home Video Bluray. The New Beverly not only took a dump on Surtees’ efforts tonight, but on everyone who paid money to see their abysmal 35mm presentation. I left after ten minutes. My own damn fault.
A flattering approximation of how Mutiny on the Bounty looked tonight at the New Beverly — dupey textures, brownish colors, insufficient 2.25:1 aspect ratio. It actually looked worse than this, browner and less sharp.
Full-width Ultra Panavision 70 (i.e., 2.76:1) version of same frame, taken from the Warner Home Video Bluray.
Another approximation of tonight’s projected image at New Beverly.