After Hours appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Though not an eye-catching presentation, the Dolby Vision platter appeared to replicate the source well.
Overall sharpness satisfied. Some interiors felt a smidgen soft, bit the majority of the movie came across as accurate and well-defined.
No issues with jaggies or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain felt natural, and I saw no print flaws.
Colors tended toward the subdued side of the street, albeit with some emphasis on greens, blues and reds, and the disc replicated them with good fidelity. The various shades seemed appropriate and full within the design choices. HDR added impact and punch to the tones – when allowed, at least.
Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows appeared smooth and clear. HDR brought extra power to whites and contrast. The release conveyed the movie in an appealing manner.
As for the film’s LPCM monaural soundtrack, it held up fine over the last 38 years. Speech felt natural and concise, without obvious edginess or other concerns.
Music boasted good pep and range, while effects came across as fairly accurate, even if they lacked much heft. For a mono track from 1985, the audio seemed more than acceptable.
How did the Criterion 4K UHD compare to the Criterion Blu-ray? Both sported identical monaural soundtracks.
The Dolby Vision 4K boasted improvements in terms of delineation, blacks and colors. I didn’t think the 4K blew away the Blu-ray, as both fared well, but the 4K delivered the more detailed version.
The Criterion release mixes old and new extras, and we start with an audio commentary from director Martin Scorsese, actor Griffin Dunne, producer Amy Robinson, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus. For the most part, all five were recorded separately for this edited, occasionally-screen-specific piece.
Scorsese starts the track on a strong note as he provides an extended monologue about what attracted him to the project and the problems related to Last Temptation of Christ that ultimately took him to Hours. However, Ballhaus emerges as the real dominant presence of the commentary.
A more technical piece than the other Scorsese tracks, he discusses various photographic techniques and styles in the film along with other production notes as well as information about his career.
The others fill in remarks about how they got onto the project plus a mix of additional facts about the shoot and elements like deleted scenes. Overall, this becomes a brisk and informative commentary.
Note that the DVD commentary only ran about 78 minutes. The Criterion release adds circa 2023 notes from Dunne and Robinson – who also appeared on the original from 2004 - to flesh out the track to fill the entire feature. They chat together briefly at the movie’s end but otherwise seem to appear separately.
The remaining components appear on the included Blu-ray copy. Three featurettes follow, and first we get the 18-minute, 55-second Filming for Your Life. We get notes from Scorsese, Dunne, Robinson, and Schoonmaker.
“Life” provides the basics of how the project came to fruition, the film’s rapid schedule, shooting at night, Scorsese’s shotlist, the movie’s tone, some of the director’s techniques, Dunne’s acting choices, and finding an ending.
Some of the information repeats from the commentary, but plenty of new details emerge such as the fact that the producers almost hired Tim Burton to direct. It’s a tight and engaging look at the flick.
The next two featurettes come new to the Criterion set, and Martin Scorsese and Fran Leibowitz goes for 19 minutes, 47 seconds. Shot in 2023, photographer Scorsese interviews the director.
We learn what brought Scorsese to the project and the state of his career in the mid-1980s as well as that era’s NYC, production domains and the movie’s impact. We find an enjoyable chat between old friends.
The Look of After Hours spans 18 minutes, five seconds. It delivers info from costume designer Rita Ryack and production designer Jeffrey Townsend.
Unsurprisingly, “Look” focuses on costumes and sets. They flesh out those subjects well.
In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, we locate a collection of seven deleted scenes. All together, these last eight minutes, seven seconds.
These offer a mix of expository scenes plus additional comedic bits like Paul’s rough night staying at Tom’s apartment. There’s nothing exceptional, but fans will enjoy these clips.
The package concludes with a booklet that mixes art, credits and an essay from critic Sheila O’Malley. It completes the set well.
A stylistic stretch for Martin Scorsese, After Hours doesn’t succeed. It presents occasional moments of dark mirth, but it plods too much and seems generally dull and pointless. The 4K UHD offers very good picture as well as adequate audio and some interesting supplements. One of Scorsese’s less compelling efforts, leave this one for the completists.
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