Apt Pupil (1998)

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Released 18-Aug-1999

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Theatrical Trailer-1.78:1 non-16x9 DD 2.0
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes (6:31)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 106:40
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bryan Singer

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Ian McKellen
Brad Renfro
Bruce Davison
Elias Koteas
David Schwimmer
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $36.95 Music John Ottman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Apt Pupil has its moments. At times, it becomes very creepy indeed. Mostly, though, it plods along dully. In fact, after watching both the Theatrical Trailer and about half of this movie, I still had no idea of what it was supposed to be saying. There are a lot of close up shots which are completely devoid of apparent function, much like those in Soldier.

    It's only towards the very end of the movie that it becomes a little clearer as to what is going on, and even then it seems hardly worth it.

    Ian McKellen is Kurt Dussander, a Nazi war criminal who is living a quiet life in America under an assumed name. Brad Renfro is Todd Bowden, a teenager who figures out who Kurt really is, but instead of turning him in to the appropriate authorities, he compels Dussander to tell him about the Holocaust and about the details of the gas chambers. Very unsettling stuff in theory, but dully presented.

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Transfer Quality


    This is another immaculate transfer from Columbia Tristar.

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. It is a superb video transfer and is of reference quality.

    The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear. Shadow detail was excellent and there was no low level noise.

    The colours tended towards the strong side, but never to the extent of being oversaturated.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen. One scratch and a very few flecks here and there were the sum total of the film artefacts seen in this movie.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1, and French Dolby Digital 5.1. The default soundtrack is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which is the one that I listened to.

    The overall level of this movie seemed marginally low, and I increased it a little to listen to the movie. This appears to be a more and more common issue with recent DVD transfers, though I suspect it is actually the fact that the older transfers were overly loud rather than the current ones being too soft.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

    There were no audio sync problems.

    The score by John Ottman had its creepy moments, but was generally quite pedestrian.

    The surround channels were used occasionally for atmospheric surrounding effects, but the overall surround usage of this movie was not high.

    The .1 channel supported some of the action sequences and some of the music, but did not do a great deal.


    This disc has an average selection of extras.


    This is a standard 4:3 menu, with no specifically remarkable features.

Theatrical Trailer

Filmographies - Cast & Crew

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (6:31)

    This is a typical Behind The Scenes featurette, and is unremarkable.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on a Pan & Scan version, but the two versions are otherwise identical, with nothing to choose between them.


    I'm not sure what to say about Apt Pupil. I wonder whether repeated viewing would make this movie more enjoyable, but I'm not sure on this point.

    The video quality is superb, and is of reference quality.

    The audio quality is good without being remarkable.

    The extras are passable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Sunday, September 05, 1999
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer

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