Cast & Crew
"Lionpower from MGM" (1967) is an excellent vintage 60s promotional short subject, in which Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) showed distributors and exhibitors highlights from the studio's films scheduled to be released during the 1967-68 film season. "Lionpower" showcases the MGM releases under a "five seasons" theme--fall, winter, spring, summer--plus what the promo calls the "fabulous fifth season." The short subject is set to the rousing theme from the film "The Magnificent Yankee", composed by David Raksin in 1950. "Lionpower" begins with the roar of the MGM Lion over a black background, while a very distinctive voice (Karl Weber) proclaims "The sound of strength!" As the MGM logo fades in and Leo roars again, the announcer adds: "The symbol of power! The excitement of entertainment energy comes on like a lion! For 1967-68? Lionpower From MGM!," all set to Raksin's magnificent score. Squares and circles quickly appear and disappear showing glimpses of directors Peter Glenville, Robert Aldrich, Stanley Kubrick, John Sturges, and John Frankenheimer in action, and stars like Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Omar Sharif, Sophia Loren, Elvis Presley, Kim Novak, Doris Day, Lee Marvin, Jim Brown, Peter Ustinov, Suzanne Pleshette, George Hamilton, David McCallum, Stella Stevens, Julie Christie, and Rock Hudson, whose movies will be showcased in the promo. Other actors who also appear in short clips from their movies are Dirk Bogarde, Sharon Tate, Joseph Cotten, Carroll Baker, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lilli Palmer, Alec Guinnness, Lillian Gish, Telly Savalas, Raquel Welch, Robert Wagner, Vittorio de Sica, Edward G. Robinson, Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, David Niven, Faye Dunaway, Alan Alda, Mickey Rooney, Anthony Quinn, Charles Bronson, Herman's Hermits, Michael Rennie, Nancy Sinatra, Peter Finch, Terry-Thomas, and Ernest Borgnine, among others. The first segment of the short presents films in production or ready for release from the fall of 1967 to the summer of 1968. An announcer introduces fall as "the season of suspense," while clips are shown from films like "Point Blank"; "The Fearless Vampire Killers;" "Jack of Diamonds;" "Our Mother's House;" and "More Than a Miracle." The main announcer then presents "Winter? the second season?Surges ahead on Lionpower." Here, scenes are presented from "The Comedians;" "Sol Madrid;" "The Biggest Bundle of Them All;" "Dark of the Sun;" "The Extraordinary Seaman;" "A Man Called Dagger;" and "Guns for San Sebastian." Another announcer introduces the next season by stating: "Lionpower springs into spring," with clips from "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter;" and "The Power." Next, an announcer says: "Lionpower roars into summer in high gear," with scenes and artwork from "Speedway;" "Where Eagles Dare" (no scenes-only artwork is shown), "Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?;" "The Legend of Lylah Clare;" and "Ice Station Zebra." At this point, the stylized MGM logo [used only in two films ever: "Grand Prix" (1966) and "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)] reappears, as announcer Weber dramatically states: "This is Lionpower, spanning the year with four full seasons of exciting motion picture entertainment. And this too is Lionpower, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's fabulous Fifth?the Fifth Season, the extra power of entertainment energy that brings you these spectacular roadshow attractions!" This sets the stage for clips from the films "Far From the Madding Crowd;" and "2001: A Space Odyssey," shown as roadshow attractions, requiring reservations and limited engagements as a marketing device. As with "Where Eagles Dare", no scenes are shown from "2001", other than the "psychedelic" light show at the end of the film and some artwork, all set to 1960's "The Time Machine" theme. Lastly, the promo displays artwork for movies in development for release in 1968. Concentric red circles surround the stylized MGM logo, as announcer Fred Foy asserts, "This is Lionpower, surging into the future on film, as MGM, a company of today, creates entertainment energy for tomorrow!" At this point, only artwork is shown for such films as "The Fixer;" "The Chinese Visitor;" "Goodbye, Mr. Chips;" "The Last Battle (never produced)," "The Appointment;" "Tai-Pan (released by another studio in 1986)," "The Shoes of the Fisherman;" "Caravans;" "The Impossible Years;" "The Phantom Tollbooth; (released in 1970)" and "The Tower of Babel (never produced). With Raksin's great score returning in the background, "Lionpower From MGM" comes to an exciting finale, as announcer Weber dramatically proclaims: "This is Lionpower! The sound of excitement! The look of leadership! The symbol of strength! The standard of excellence in motion picture entertainment! Lionpower! The sum total of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's star power, story power, production power, promotion power, for season after season, year after year. Fall, winter, spring, summer? and the fabulous fifth season!" Simultaneously, scenes from all the movies showcased flash inside four colored rectangles (representing the four seasons), which had replaced four stylized MGM lions. An iris then opens in the center of the frame, showing the escape of Scarlett O'Hara, Rhett Butler, and Melanie Hamilton from the burning of Atlanta in "Gone With the Wind" (1939), (which was re-released in 1967 in 70 mm and in 1968 in its original aspect ratio), and also shown are brief scenes from "Far From the Madding Crowd" and "2001: A Space Odyssey." As Raksin's theme music reaches a crescendo, Weber dramatically declares: "This is? Lionpower!!!, while the traditional MGM logo fades in and Leo the Lion roars twice. Most of the stars in "Lionpower" are still well-known today, but regrettably the same cannot be said about a good number of the movies showcased in the promo, except classics like "2001: A Space Odyssey." Many of these lesser known films are worth watching, although they are hard to find on DVD, but thankfully they play occasionally on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "Lionpower From MGM" is narrated by several of the great voice-over talent used by the MGM promotional department during the 60's (and 70's). These narrators include Karl Weber, Bob Marcato, and Fred Foy, who also lent their voices to many film trailers and "behind-the-scenes featurettes" for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer during the period, and reportedly was produced by the late Andrew J. Kuehn or his successor at MGM. "Lionpower From MGM" can only be seen on Turner Classic Movies as an interstitial, and is worth taking a look as a unique and exciting 60s movie time capsule. It runs approximately 26 minutes.