“After Hours” came at a strange time for Martin Scorsese. Believe it or not, the acclaimed filmmaker was essentially in director’s jail at the time, following the flop of ‘The King of Comedy.” After that, Scorsese tried to make “The Last Temptation of Christ,” but the project fell apart. Then along came the script for “After Hours.” Scorsese was intrigued, primarily because the self-contained nature of the script convinced the filmmaker he could shoot the movie down and dirty — and quick. And that’s exactly what he did.
The end result is one of Scorsese’s most underrated films, which is now part of the Criterion Collection. One night, New Yorker Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) meets Marcy (Rosanna Arquette), a young woman who catches his eye. He heads up to her place in SoHo for what he clearly hopes will be a night of sex, but nothing goes right for poor Paul. Like Job, he’s thrust through one torment to the next, effectively punished by the universe for wanting to get laid. Along the way, he encounters one weirdo character after another, all of whom seem to turn on Paul eventually (the supporting cast is killer, featuring Verna Bloom, Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara, and even Cheech & Chong). Sweaty, funny, and strange, “After Hours” feels like Scorsese in punk rock mode, shooting fast with master cinematographer Michael Ballhaus to create the perfect night of hell.
As for Scorsese’s career, it bounced back — but not with “After Hours.” It was his next film, the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise pic “The Color of Money,” that finally got the filmmaker back in business in a big way. But “After Hours” is superior to “Money,” and it feels more like a true Scorsese picture.
- New 4K digital restoration, approved by editor Thelma Schoonmaker, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
- New conversation between director Martin Scorsese and writer Fran Lebowitz
- Audio commentary featuring Scorsese, Schoonmaker, director of photography Michael Ballhaus, actor and producer Griffin Dunne, and producer Amy Robinson
- Documentary about the making of the film featuring Dunne, Robinson, Schoonmaker, and Scorsese
- New program on the look of the film featuring costume designer Rita Ryack and production designer Jeffrey Townsend
- Deleted scenes
- English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley