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THE LION KING (1994). Until it recently got capsized by Finding Nemo, this Disney feature had the distinction of being cinema's top-grossing animated film, accumulating enough of a bounty to place it in the all-time Top 10. Certainly, until the dawning of the Pixar era, it was one of the last of the bumper crop of old-fashioned Disney efforts before the studio went on autopilot with such works as Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This often dark tale about a lion cub holds real emotional resonance, and it's backed by gorgeous animation as well as one of the studio's greatest comic relief characters (the rambunctious meerkat Timon, perfectly voiced by Nathan Lane). This two-disc Special Edition DVD maintains the studio's high standards for its premiere titles -- extras include the addition of the song "Morning Report" (previously heard in the Broadway version but presented within the film for the first time), three "Virtual Tours" with Timon and Pumbaa, music videos, games, and countless behind-the-scenes featurettes covering everything from the Oscar-winning music to the character designs (including an amusing peek at real meerkats) to the international versions of the film. Movie: 1/2 / Extras:

WARNER LEGENDS COLLECTION: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD / THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE / YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1938/1948/1942). When it became clear a few years ago that DVDs were here to stay, three of the most pressing questions from film enthusiasts were, "Where the heck is Yankee Doodle Dandy?," "Where the hell is The Treasure of the Sierra Madre?" and "Where the @#!& is The Adventures of Robin Hood?" Well, the wait is over. Warner Bros., which already did its part this year for the home entertainment cause with its Charlie Chaplin set, is now offering smashing two-disc DVDs for these three cherished classics, available separately or as a boxed set under the title Warner Legends Collection. Robin Hood is the greatest of all adventure yarns, featuring a wonderfully appealing Errol Flynn as the swashbuckling hero and showcasing the greatest example of Technicolor ever placed on screen. Sierra Madre, which earned an Oscar for Walter Huston (Best Supporting Actor) and two for his son John (Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay), features arguably Humphrey Bogart's greatest performance, as a decent guy destroyed by his lust for gold. And Yankee features what is inarguably James Cagney's greatest performance, playing patriotic melody maker George M. Cohan (after screening the film, the real Cohan commented on Cagney's Oscar-winning work by exclaiming, "My God, what an act to follow!"). Warner has packaged the first disc on each set as a "Night At The Movies," with the feature attraction preceded by trailers, a newsreel, a short subject and a cartoon. The second disc in each set contains an exhaustive supply of extras, including documentaries, rare behind-the-scenes material, related radio show broadcasts, additional shorts and cartoons, and much more. All three movies: / Extras:
-- Matt Brunson

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