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The 7OMM Ultra Panavision Roadshow in Gartenbau Kino, Vienna, Austria

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Gerhard Schwach, Austria Date: 20.02.2016
"The Hateful Eight" Gartenbau Kino facade, 2016.  Gartenbau Kino's Picture. Used by permission

Of course I was in Gartenbau Kino and saw „Hateful Eight“ on 8th February. The movie will go into its 4th week in some days (!), despite the fact that it is shown in some other (big) cinemas in Vienna at the same time. A clear sign that 70mm counts also in Vienna! First of all I must concede that I am on one hand an enthusiastic follower of „70 mm“ movies, cinemas and stories and on the other hand not at all a friend of Quentin Tarantino movies. I saw „Inglorious Basterds“ and „Django Unchained“ and I confess I wish I had not seen some of the scenes in those movies.

The 70mm Ultra Panavision Roadshow in Gartenbau Kino in Vienna is really a spectacle! After 23 years, when they showed „Abyss“, „2010“ and „Cocoon“ and others in 70mm blow-ups the classical 70mm presentations in Gartenbaukino came to an end after 33 years. I remember having seen „King of Kings“ there in 1976 in a superb print and „55 Days in Peking“ around 1991 also in a very good print. The Philips
DP70 mm projectors had always done a good job but magnetic sound was not used any more for 70mm prints and the town of Vienna as the owner of Gartenbau Kino did not want to invest into a new 70mm Dolby sound system. Therefore, from that time on, the Viennese people had to renounce enjoying 70mm in Gartenbau Kino.
More in 70mm reading:

Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" in Ultra Panavision 70

70mm Film in Gartenbau Kino

DP70s in Austria

Internet link:


Gartenbau Kino front 19. February 2016. Picture by: Hans Bergthaler

Until early 2016, when the new Tarantino movie premiered in Vienna in a 70mm Ultra Panavision Roadshow! The atmosphere was great: large posters in front of the cinema announced the 70 mm roadshow, there was a 70mm extra charge for the ticket (I think 2,50 EUR), lots of interested people in the lobby already at 4:00 p.m. and an almost sold out evening show at 8:15 p.m.

For a simple Monday afternoon this is a great success in the 2nd week of running the show. On the upper deck of the lobby, where you can sit on a balcony, you can drink a Cinzano and watch cinema visitors when they buy their tickets. There is also a shrine with the original poster of the „Spartacus“ 70mm premiere in Gartenbau Kino when it was opened in 1960, showing also a 70mm film strip and a 70mm projection lens. I remember very well the moment when I was standing in the lobby of Gartenbau Kino together with my wife – I think it was in 1991 – on the day of the newly restored "Spartacus" premiere after the restoration made by Robert A. Harris, when Peter Ustinov personally entered the Gartenbau foyer as the star guest of the premiere. He told us nice stories about John Gavin, Kirk Douglas and Charles Laughton.
Gartenbau Kino front 19. February 2016. Picture by: Hans Bergthaler

And now, in 2016, I was again standing at exactly the same place, again waiting for a 70mm roadshow presentation. The ringing bell in the lobby invited us to enter the huge theater auditorium, once in 1960 equipped with almost 1.000 seats ! Now it is reduced by 50% due to more comfort but the hall has still the original size. „In this theater „Flying Clipper“ / „Mediterranean Holiday“ also gad its premiere in the early 60's and I was told that a deeply curved screen was built extra for the presentation of this movie.“

Back to Tarantino: Before the lights darkened we could hear music from Ennio Morricone from previous westerners, then the Ouverture music started. Eventually the red cloud curtain started to open the huge curved screen which was especially prepared to show the picture in a 1:2,76 Ultra Panavision 70 ratio. The first scenes in the snowy woods of Colorado are of superb pictorial quality. When the carriage with Kurt Russel on board crosses the cold birch forest and the warm light of a latern becomes visible this is just as fascinating as the slow zoom on a lonely standing wooden crucifix in the landscape accumulated with snow.
Gerhard Schwach at the 2014 Todd-AO Festival in Karlsruhe, Germany. Picture by Thomas Hauerslev

While the opening titles display „photographed in Ultra Panavision 70“ we hear the NEWLY composed music of Ennio Morricone (now aged 87 !!!). Very impressive. The roadshow contains also an entr'acte music and exit music as it used to be in the good old 70mm times…. For me, my own personal 70mm adventure of this day was therewith already complete since I did not enjoy the rest of the movie which is rather more a chamber drama with ultra-violent, ultra-brutal, wicked and beastly ingredients – simply a typical Tarantino movie. It could serve very well as Jihadist training movie; absolutely not my world.

Since this experience I have thought about this 70mm presentation of „raw film“ and I still wonder if we need and if we should use the 70mm format also in future to boost such pictorial dreadfulness that would be by far awful and ugly enough without such support. My personal vote is definitely to use 70mm in future rather more for classical adventure movies such as „1492“ or „Master and Commander“; or for science fiction movies like „Interstellar“ „Star Wars“ or historical movies like „Anna Karenina“ and „Ghandi“, „Little Buddha“ or for „Indiana Jones“, simply in those cases where stunning landscapes are shown in conclusion with dramatic (maybe historically interesting) action. Cinema entertainment should not be reduced to a succession of repulsivenesses in a superb cinema picture format. We put ourselves in a situation where we could begin to loose our understanding of humanity, human dignity and respect, grace and mercy. So in the end I will continue to prefer watching a BD presentation of „The Ten Commandments“, „Ben Hur“ or „Lawrence of Arabia“ in my home cinema (curved screen, 2,60 metres wide, 1,20 metres high) and esteem their everlasting epic quality.
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Updated 21-01-24