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2002 saw the arrival of many classic movies as DVDs


The DVD industry has had a breakout year in 2002, and these are some of the reasons.

Sunset Boulevard and Roman Holiday: With the original negatives of these classics from the 1950s gone, Paramount and Lowry Digital Images created beautifully restored new prints for these DVD releases.

The result is exquisite; you've never seen either film looking so crisp or radiant on the small screen. The discs include documentaries, and for Sunset Boulevard, commentary, script pages and three minutes of footage from Billy Wilder's original opening, set in a morgue.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Platinum series extended edition): You need a few days to immerse yourself in this state-of-the art edition of Peter Jackson's acclaimed, Oscar-winning first installment of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy epic. Included: Jackson's 3 1/2 -hour director's cut, four commentaries and six hours of extras.

Insomnia: Christopher Nolan's commentary elevates this suspense thriller starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams. He offers a unique twist: presenting the film in the sequence in which it was shot, thus offering rare insight into how movies are made.

A Hard Day's Night: This two-disc set of the 1964 Beatles classic is a thoroughly joyful experience. Beatles historian Martin Lewis spent 2 1/2 years putting the digital edition together, tracking down the film's hairdresser, tailor and even the actor who played the young boy who frolics with Ringo Starr. Also included are interviews with director Richard Lester, musical director George Martin and producer Walter Shenson.

Monsters, Inc.: Disney and Pixar's delightful computer-animated hit is an equally impressive two-disc DVD that includes tons of extras, including a new animated short, Mike's New Car.

Singin' in the Rain: The 1952 MGM musical has been restored to its original Technicolor glory for this toe-tapping, two-disc set, which includes a rarely seen excised musical number and crackerjack commentary.

Reservoir Dogs: This two-disc set of Quentin Tarantino's 1992 film noir includes tongue-in-cheek interviews, spoofs, delicious commentary and a loving tribute to the eccentric late actor Lawrence Tierney.

The Hustler: Robert Rossen's towering 1961 drama about a cocky pool hustler played by Paul Newman finally reached the digital age with a riveting DVD that includes a comprehensive documentary, picture-in-picture commentary with a trick pool player and a thought-provoking audio track.

The Vault Disney Collection: Disney's two-disc sets of its classics Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson, Pollyanna and The Parent Trap were beautifully restored and feature many nostalgic extras.

Children of Paradise: Marcel Carne and Jacques Prevert's landmark romantic French epic from 1945 was served up in a gorgeous, digitally restored two-disc set.

Susan King is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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