Friday, April 20, 2012


I see that TCM is running the 1967 promo Lionpower from MGM just after 1:30 AM in the overnight hours between tonight and tomorrow. (Or, for those of you out in California, that's just after 10:30 PM this evening.)

This being a promotional film, there's no plot. It's simply a look at all the great films MGM will be showing you, the moviegoing public from the autumn of 1967 through to the summer of 1968. In and of itself, that's no big deal. But a couple of things make Lionpower worth viewing. First is the fact that it serves as a historical document. Looking back 45 years, we know which movies were successes, which failed at the box office, and which never got a release. We also know what's going to happen to MGM in a few short years, and that's not pretty. But the suits at MGM didn't have such foresight, of course.

The result is that all of the movies have to be promoted as though you moviegoers are just going to love them. It's a lot like TV networks' promotions for their new fall seasons. Some (many) of the shows may look crappy, but dammit, the bosses want them promoted. And this being MGM, even though it's a fading MGM, they pull out all the stops to try to make the movies look good. They've got stentorian voiceover artists proclaiming the "Lionpower" and how each season has a different theme. And still, despite the fact MGM was already fading by 1967, they still were able to showcase a lot of stars in one year's worth of movies.

It's difficult if not impossible to rate promotional films or trailers; the only real way to judge them, I think, is if they make you want to see the movies that are being promoted. I think Lionpower mostly succeeds in that regard. Not only that, but it's a fun time capsule, too.

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