After Hours is one of Martin Scorsese's most interesting films. It came right in the middle of the 1980s, at a point in his career where he wasn't sure how to move forward after a series of expensive movies didn't do well at the box office.

Wouldn't you like to know what Scorsese was thinking at the time? Well, this commentary was recorded in 2004 for the DVD release of the film, and in it, Scorsese talks about his process and experimentation with After Hours, and how that movie came to be. 

Check out this video from M.B. Archives, and let's talk after. 

In 1983, Martin Scorsese was planning on directing The Last Temptation of Christ, but people were too afraid to make the movie. Scorsese was then faced with a real conundrum. His last film, King of Comedy, had not done well at the box office. And he wanted to work. He needed something he could shoot fast. A sort of cinematic palate cleanser that challenged him in different ways and got his mind off the movie he wasn't allowed to make. 

Eventually, Scorsese found a script that allowed him to revisit the  "mean streets" of New York City, specifically a pre-gentrification Soho.

After Hours was a movie he could shoot quickly to prove that he was worthy of making bigger movies in Hollywood. But in Scorsese's mind, there was no such thing as a "big" film or a "small" film. Just films. And films had to get the audience emotionally involved and challenge the audience at every turn. 

Lucky for Scorsese, he was able to do just that with this film. In fact, after its release, Roger Ebert wrote of the movie:

"This is the work of a master filmmaker who controls his effects so skillfully that I was drained by this film—so emotionally depleted that there was a moment, two-thirds of the way through, when I wondered if maybe I should leave the theater and gather my thoughts and come back later for the rest of the 'comedy.'"

The movie cost $4,500,000 (estimated) to make, and went on to a worldwide gross of $10,609,321. That's a moderate hit. And it reminded Hollywood that Scorsese had something big to offer. 

Have you seen this one? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. 

Source: M. B. Archives