Updated style for MGM’s lion

Leo the Lion has had a makeover.

The famed MGM logo feline has been digitally restored and given a new roar. The refurbished Leo will make his bow on the James Bond thriller “Quantum of Solace,” which opens in the U.S. on Nov. 14.

The famed logo was designed by Howard Dietz 92 years ago for the Goldwyn Pictures Corp. and first appeared on the 1917 romance “Polly of the Circus.” Over the last nine decades, five different lions have been used as the logo. Slates, who was hired after the 1924 merger that created MGM, made his debut on the studio’s first feature, 1924’s “He Who Gets Slapped.” Jackie was the first of the lions to roar, thanks to a gramophone recording, for the 1928 adventure “White Shadow of the South Seas.”

Leo has been king of the MGM logo for the last 51 years and was used in the digital restoration. The studio’s post-production team scanned Leo into the computer from the original camera negative of 1958’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” for his digital makeover. They enlisted sound designer Mark Mangini, who had recorded lion roars for the ghostly sound effects in 1982’s horror classic “Poltergeist.” Mangini used those 26-year-old elements to create a new stereo roar for the iconic lion.


-- Susan King