THE HATEFUL EIGHT 70mm Roadshow – A Review by John Strange

By: John ‘Doc’ Strange
The Hateful Eight is the eighth film from writer/director Quentin Tarantino.  The auteur director decided to shoot the film in Ultra Panavision 70 giving the movie a richness that just can’t be replicated with either 35mm film or the various digital systems available today.  This process was used  for some big films in the 1950’s and 1960’s such as Ben-Hur (1959), Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), and Battle of the Bulge (1965).  Khartoum in 1966 was the last film prior to Tarantino’s shot in the format.  Panavision refurbished equipment and lenses for the shoot, including lenses used to shoot the chariot sequence in Ben-Hur.  By the way, this only the eleventh movie ever shot in this format!
The filmmaker chose to do a special short duration “roadshow” event with a version of the film in 70mm with additional footage.  Only 98 theaters in North America have the ability to play the larger format.  Some theaters are only playing the roadshow for the week between Christmas and New Years and then beginning the digital version on multiple screens.  Others are foregoing the digital version to keep the roadshow playing in-house longer.  The reason for this is that there are restrictions concerning the display of different versions of a film simultaneously at a theater.   (Check your local theaters to see which versions are available in your area.)  The screening I attended on a Monday morning was a sell-out so plan to buy your tickets in advance if you plan to see the roadshow version.
The show opens rather quietly with the Cinerama and Ultra Panavision 70 logos followed by the logos for Quentin Tarantino and The Weinstein Company.  As you sit there during what the call “the musical interlude” you start to wonder if the movie will ever really get started.  It does, opening with a shot of a sculpture of Jesus on the cross covered in snow.  The story as told in 70mm gives us majestic vistas and dramatic views of the action.  You’ve never seen brains explode from a head until you’ve seen it in 70mm.
I won’t give you a full rundown on the film as our Gary Murray has posted a nice review of the film at:  What I will talk about are the differences between the shows. 
The first and most obvious difference is the length.  Due to the additional footage the 70mm version runs 20 minutes longer.  The intermission is an odd beast.  The “Intermission” card runs for perhaps 15 seconds and the rest of the time the film is projecting only a blank image on the screen.  There is nothing to tell the audience how long they have to run to the restrooms and concession stands.  As the intermission is about an hour and 45 minutes into the film, a large portion of the people jumped out of their seats and exited the room.  Once the film begins the post-intermission chapters, we see the violence and blood that was missing in the first half.  This action is pure Tarantino. 
This roadshow format was used for all of the other films shot in this format and many others like Gone With the Wind.  They were events that people dressed up for.  The intermissions were patterned after live theater to allow the audience to discuss what they had seen up to that time.  The lucky moviegoers also received programs (also like live theater).  This program booklet was my favorite piece of the roadshow package.  It tells the story of the making of The Hateful Eight in words and photos.  The booklet is the perfect way to top off this epic film.
In my life I have attended many big movie openings and special screenings.  Some I attended as a young man, devouring every nuance of the experience. Others I attended as a film reviewer writing for various outlets.  Still others, I was there in my capacity as a red carpet photographer (some at film festivals and others at standalone film premieres).  All have been interesting.  The Hateful Eight 70mm Roadshow is worth the extra ticket cost even without the stars doing a Q&A at the end.  
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern
MPAA Rating: R (for strong bloody violence, a scene of violent sexual content, language and some graphic nudity)
Selig Rating: FULL PRICE
Runtime: 187 Min. (70 mm version), 167 Min. (digital version)
Official Movie Site:
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