"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.
Since "Lionpower" is not a feature film, but only a promotional short for about 30 MGM movies, a "spoiler warning" is technically not applicable. However, we caution the reader that the article below will discuss the short subject in great detail. "Lionpower From MGM" begins with the roar of the MGM Lion over a black background. The main announcer (Karl Weber) proclaims "The sound of strength!" As the MGM logo fades in, 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 David Raksin's magnificent score. Boxes 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 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. The first segment of the short presents films in production or ready for release from the fall of 1967 to the summer of 1968. Another announcer introduces fall as "the season of suspense," while clips are shown of "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 seasonSurges 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 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 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 (only used in two films ever: "Grand Prix" and "2001: A Space Odyssey") 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 roadshow films "Far From the Madding Crowd;" and "2001: A Space Odyssey." (Like with "Where Eagles Dare", no scenes are shown of "2001", other than the "psychedelic" light show at the end of the film and artwork, all set to 1960's "The Time Machine" theme).
Lastly, the promo displays artwork for movies in development for release in 1968. 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!" Here, only artwork is shown for "The Fixer;" "The Chinese Visitor;" "Goodbye, Mr. Chips;" "The Last Battle (not 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 (not produced). With Raksin's great score 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 flash from all the movies showcased inside four colored rectangles representing the four seasons, which replaced four stylized MGM lions. An iris then opens in the center, showing the burning of Atlanta from "Gone With the Wind" (1939), which was re-released in 1968, and scenes from "Far From the Madding Crowd" and "2001: A Space Odyssey." As Raksin's theme music reaches a crescendo, Weber staunchly declares: "This is Lionpower!!!, while the MGM logo fades in and Leo the Lion roars. Most of the stars in "Lionpower" are still well-known today, but the same cannot be said about some of the movies showcased, except classics like "2001: A Space Odyssey." Some of these lesser known films are worth watching, although they are hard to find on DVD, but they play occasionally on Turner Classic Movies.
As a final note, "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 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. (My sincere appreciation to voice-over legend Don LaFontaine, for identifying for me who some of the narrators in "Lionpower From MGM" were.)
"Lionpower From MGM" can only be seen on Turner Classic Movies, and is worth taking a look as a unique and exciting 60s movie time capsule. It runs 27 minutes long.