Night Shift (Blu-ray Review)

Warner Archive Collection released a sweet lot of horror titles back in October. While late to the game on reviewing them, the review copies weren’t sent out til later on. In the current climate of home video physical media distributing, there have been many a fulfilment center delay on titles each and every month. So that’s not too surprising at the end of the day. Ron Howard’s Night Shift is probably the highest profile film in the month’s lot. While it doesn’t come with anything but a trailer, the Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton and Shelley Long starring film comes with a pretty impressive new HD master that needs to be seen. This is its first time on Blu-ray with a new 2021 1080p master, lossless audio and a trailer. The disc was released back on October 5th, but its available to order now from the paid Amazon Associates link below.



Night Shift is a breakneck farce rife with hysterical ideas thanks to veteran comedy writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (ParenthoodFever Pitch). Henry Winkler (Happy Days) is low-key Lumley in a delightfully offbeat performance. Shelley Long of Cheers also scores as a hapless happy hooker. But the casting triumph is film-debuting Michael Keaton as Billy Blaze, launching a career rich in comedic and dramatic highlights. Is this a great country or what?!

Ron Howard’s second feature film is a nice, fun bouncy and carefree jaunt that has a lot more to it than its surface might suggest. In addition to Howard’s directing career, the film is a nice launching point for the likes of Shelley Long and Michael Keaton as well as serving as a nice post-Happy Days jump into a leading many for Henry Winkler. There are a lot of fun people who show up as well, like Clint Howard and Joe Spinell for good measure.

The film is one that has a wonderful amount of energy to it, mostly spurned on by Keaton and Long that help it constantly bubble and move along. Winkler really does a fantastic job of being the straight man here and never falling trap in trying to compete with his co-stars or background fun. Plenty of fun little 80s set ups and pay offs occur in the film and its done with such a fun and unrelenting attitude that not only the performers buy into, but the audience as well.

One of the most important factors in the film is that Howard recognizes that everyone here is a human being. Nobody, nor the film ever really judges prostitution of the prostitutes on who they are or what they do. Even though many of them are glorified extras, they are always presented in a more fun and positive light. Especially Long’s character is given the ability to educate Winkler and be more than just an object or a profession from the jump as opposed to him having to work so hard to figure it out.

Night Shift is a fun little 1980s comedy with a rather unique backdrop and decently zany plot. The film is wonderfully anchored by its three leads in Winkler, Long and a very hungry Keaton. Underlying it all is a pretty charming and adorable romantic tale that rather works quite well. Definitely one of those gems that used to be more of a thing, but through the passage of time, many may have forgotten about or not even have checked out. And with this new Blu-ray, maybe now they should.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Night Shift makes its first appearance on Blu-ray with a “new 2021 1080p HD master”. And while that doesn’t sound as cool as “4K scan” or even “2K” scan, rest assured that this is a wildly impressive transfer. The film has a wonderful clarity and crispness to it and features a great looking image full of depth and fine details.

Depth:  Depth of field is rather strong here with a nice three dimensional appearing performance. Pushback looks well, especially in all the apartment hallways and looking through doorways. Motion is filmic and smooth with no issues regarding and sorts of blurring or jitter from rapid movement.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and natural. This does very well with saturation and shades. Information holds very strong in the darkest corners like hair follicles, judge robes and even a big feather coat Shelley Long wears. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors pop quite well in this. There are many a shirt, outfit or bit of make up that stand out in the transfer. Colors are well saturated and come across with a loving bold look.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are clear as day as you can make out stubble, make-up lines, wrinkles, blemishes, covered up acne and more.

Noise/Artifacts: None


Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Night Shift’s original mono track delivers in impressive fashion. Its a very well rounded and balanced track featuring some wonderful depth and layering in the mix. For being a little monaural experience, this one really delivers a pretty engaging viewing with some nicer lower end sounds.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are really clear and crisp, with a very clean and nuanced sound.


Trailer (HD, 2:54)


Ron Howard’s Night Shift has become more of a cult item over the years, but its a true gem worth discovering or revisiting roughly 40 years later. Warner Archive Collection’s Blu-ray debut of the film unfortunately has no extras aside for a trailer, but it more than makes up for it in the audio and video department. It has quite a stunning transfer that Warner Archive is known for, but still surprises you the moment it lights up your screen. Definitely an easy pick up and collector’s item.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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