I trust everyone understands by now that however Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight plays in basic dramatic terms (and I’ve shared my suspicions a couple of times after seeing a version of the script performed last year), Robert Richardson‘s Ultra Panavision 70 lensing (which will deliver an extra-wide 2.76:1 aspect ratio) is going to be pure visual dessert. As Indiewire‘s Bill Desowitz wrote in an 8.28 interview piece with Richardson, Ultra Panavision 70 “provides such unparalleled scope, resolution and beauty that everyone should be using it…it’s remarkable…stunning.” The process hasn’t been seen theatrically since Khartoum (’66), or nearly a half-century.
The thing to do, of course, will be catch it on an extra-large, extra-wide screen (like L.A.s Cinerama Dome). You don’t want to catch The Hateful Eight on a smallish screen, trust me. You want big, big, bigger than big because the a.r. is wide, wide, wider than wide.
Robert L. Surtees‘ lensing of Lewis Milestone‘s Mutiny on the Bounty (’62) gives you a good idea of what elegant Ultra Panavision 70 framing looks like. Every shot in that film is exquisitely balanced. I doubt if the full UP70 version was even seen by ’62 audiences. Most theatres were able to deliver standard CinemaScope or Panavision images (2.39:1) or FoxScope images (2.55:1), but I seriously doubt if the entire 2.76:1 version was even projected. It might have been in first-run, reserved-seat engagements but I’ve never read absolute proof that it was.