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  • During WWII, there were two kinds of war movies: The musical and/or comedy flag-waver for selling war bonds, and the serious flag-waver for selling war bonds. But after the war, returning veterans wrote and directed darker, more cynical movies reflecting what they experienced in the war.

    Warner Brothers didn't much care for the cynical war movies. They made pretty much the same kinds of war movies they'd made during the war, but with somewhat bigger budgets. In comparison with the darker movies made by other studios, these WB war movies come off as comic books, a description I use with the utmost affection.

    These movies didn't deal with the gore and high cost of war. They continued to glorify the fighting man and, to some extent, his war machines. Warner Brothers made such good war movies as BREAKTHROUGH, TARGET ZERO. By the middle 1950s, WB got too big for their britches and made either over-budgeted dogs like BATTLE CRY or under-budgeted dogs like DARBY'S RANGERS.

    But for a few, short years WB reigned supreme and left us with treasures from the early '50s. THE TANKS ARE COMING is probably their best. For what it's worth, it's still the only "tank" movie of any note.

    Trivia: George O'Hanlon (Tucker, the tank driver) was the original "George Jetson." You'll recognize his voice immediately.
  • THE TANKS ARE COMING (1951) covered our (U.S. Army) Armored SpearHead and its problems during the war in Europe (WWII). The main problem being our Tanks were just not as good as our opponents the Nazi Germans. A captured German Tank Commander once commented "One (1) of our tanks are better then twelve (12) of yours, but you always have a thirteenth (13th)". True, we could (and the Russians) out produce by a factor of ten (10) to one (1) or more. That did not help the crews inside these coffins when inadequate armor (and firepower) gave little or no protection at all.

    The movie starts off clearly showing these inadequacies. As our Tank Platoon with Shermans takes on a German Panther (a disguised M36 sitting in). Our shells bounce off, theirs go right through. The film illustrates this well with the guns sound effects. Our guns sound like cap pistols the Germans like thunder. The story goes on from there as determination and guts have to overcome technological limitations. Toward the end our hero's get a M26 Pershing which had both the Armor and Gun to take on their opponents in a equitable manner. A little late for those who already had made the supreme sacrifice.

    It took awhile but lessons were learned and are reflected in the current equipment of the U.S. ARMY. The M1A2 Abrams and the other Armored Vehicles are World Class and second to none. Their only equivalents are also made/used by our allies (for the most part). One (1) further note this film should not be confused with the Warner Brothers Short of the same name made in 1941, also reviewed.
  • What a great cast this is. Steve Cochran is perfect in the role of the hard uncompromising. His character is near to a villain what he often played. But "Sully" turns out as a real hero in an "Audie-Murphy-style". Also very interesting is Philip Carey as Lieutenant. He only was 25 at this time but he radiates wisdom and superior style. All the supporting players are also good although I only knew John McIntire before. The characters are well developed and Lewis Seiler also directed the action sequences very thrilling.

    All in all it is an entertaining movie which certainly only shows one side of the medal.
  • While this movie was a fairly non-objectionable way to kill 90 minutes since nothing else was really on, I have to say that most of the acting was pure HAM! I was even laughing out-loud as Marconi was gasping and wheezing (for dramatic effect, I suppose) during the radioing-in of the coordinate information for the artillery barrage. Then there was Sullivan's on then off again hayseed accent and mispronunciation of words. There's the fact that MAJORITY of the equipment (tanks and assorted vehicles) that are period incorrect. The blatant insubordination of just about everybody to their superiors. The miraculous overnight (literally) transformation of Sgt. Sullivan from reckless and abusive horse's arse to everyone's buddy and "stand-up" tank commander. Let's not forget the clips of actual scratched and grainy WWII battle footage that was spliced (without ANY attempt of matching whatsoever) together with the newly filmed footage. The terrain of Fort Knox and surrounding areas of Kentucky used as various locations in Germany again without any serious attempt of blending/matching to real European terrain. There was even a bright and sparkly 1950's style concrete and steel overpass in one shot. And the list just goes on. Now.... like I said, It wasn't a hideous movie. At least there were cool tank battles to watch but the acting! Eeeegads!!! Overall I'd say this reminded me of a cheesy 1950's B-grade sci-fi movie (fun but unbelievable) except the subject was American WWII tankers. Anyway...... that's just one guy's opinion, of course! :^)
  • Fred_Rap27 January 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    The director Lewis Seiler followed up his stark, exciting D-Day aftermath saga "Breakthrough" with this utterly humdrum companion piece. The story concerns the Third Armored Division's push through France toward the Siegfried Line, and it's a measure of the film's dramatic shortcomings that the stock shots of Panzer tanks and American iron bellies seem far more compelling than the actual footage.

    Steve Cochran brings a spark of surly charisma to the proceedings as a bluntly unsentimental sergeant who takes over a squadron consisting of some of the dullest, least engaging, most ill-defined dog-faces ever to battle it out on a Hollywood sound stage; these ciphers almost make one long for the clichéd likes of William Bendix's Brooklyn lug and Richard Jaeckel's combat-green kid.

    The dreadful screenplay by Robert Hardy Andrews has the temerity to give Cochran a change of heart, and by the climax the snarling top kick is shaking hands with cowering German citizens and even cuddling a stray pooch! Crusty old warrior Sam Fuller is credited with the story; he must have choked on his stogie when he saw the finished product. With Phil Carey, Mari Aldon, Paul Picerni, Robert Horton, Harry Belaver.
  • The best thing that The Tanks Are Coming is good use of actual combat footage well integrated into the film. A whole lot like the Sands Of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Theater. Unfortunately said footage is tied to a rather pedestrian story.

    As a lad I remember reading those Sergeant Rock comic books and watching Steve Cochran and the rest of the cast I got the feeling that I was looking at one of those comic books come to life. It shocks me though that Samuel Fuller wrote the original story. That man certainly went on to do bigger and better things in the war film genre.

    Not the best work for any of the cast and crew.
  • This movie begins 40 days after the D-Day landing in Normandy with an element of the American 3rd Armored Division known as C Company preparing to engage German units near the vaunted Siegfried Line. Unfortunately, as the company advances one of the platoon sergeants named "SSG Joe Davis" (Michael Stelle) is seriously wounded and as a result another NCO by the name of "SSG F.A. Sullivan" (Steve Cochran) is selected to be his replacement. However, SSG Sullivan turns out to be nothing like his predecessor as he soon gains a reputation of being overly-ambitious, arrogant and reckless. And needless to say his penchant for taking dangerous risks doesn't sit well with the tank crews under him. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a decent World War 2 film that featured some good, realistic combat action scenes. One particular example was the manner in which the Sherman tanks had to maneuver to take out the Panther tanks from the side as they were no match one-on-one. Likewise, the scenario of having soldiers escape from their burning tanks and subsequently acquiring another Sherman tank as a replacement was also quite accurate as well. On the flip side, however, I didn't particularly care for some of the scenarios involving the personal dynamics of the individual characters. The scene involving "PFC George 'Ike' Eisenhower" (James Dobson) and the division commander was especially hokey. Be that as it may, I thought that this was an adequate film all things considered and I have rated it accordingly. Average.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ****SPOILERS*** Story of the 3rd armored division in it's battles from the breakout from Saint Lo in Northern France to the teeth of the what was called impregnable 350 mile Siegfried Line. That's on the German Belgium & French border with tough and indestructible , he never as much got a scratch during entire movie, Staff Sgt. Francis Aloysius, or just "Sully" to his fellow GI's, Sullivan played by the ruggedly handsome Steve Cochran. It's Sully's leadership and determination that in fact has his tank unit breach the Sigfried Line and make possible the invasion of Germany in late 1944 but it came at a steep price. With just the US Military, not including the British Canadian & French allies, suffering well over 200,000 casualties, with some 50,000 KIA, in the process.

    Hated by his men at first for driving them for days without sleep against the far less in number but more superior in experience and firepower & experience German Panzer units who's kill ratio was something like 10 to 1 against US armor. Never the less the spearhead 3rd armored reached the Sigfried Line with it's massive tank traps bunkers and honeycombed with underground tunnels way ahead of schedule just before the winter set in. And for some five months fought a seesaw and stalemate battle with the German forces that cost it the loss of some 75% of it's men and almost all its tanks that were quickly replaced which the German losses weren't. During that time it was "Sully" who kept his unit, the 3rd armored, together by leading from the front, not the back, in his lead tank that really inspired his men. The one person who hated "Sully's" guts the most Pvt. Danny Klowicz, Paul Picerni,soon realized what a real fine "Joe" he really was by giving credit to his battle hardened men. That in a letter to his CO. the Sleeping, whom "Sully woke up with a stiff kick in the butt, Capt. Bob Horner played by Robert Horton, who at age 91 is still round with us today, giving them all the glory in his drive to Siegfried Line without once mentioning himself.

    There's also in "Sully's unit German born American GI Heinrich "Heinie" Weinburger, Robert Boon, who's main reason for being in the US Army is to free his grandparents from living under the Nazi dictatorship. It was when "Heinie's" grandparents were freed that the stone faced and unfeeling Sgt. "Sully" broke down for the first and only time in the movie and showed, what seemed to be almost impossible for him, genuine emotion even though after all they were Germans. The screenplay was partly written by Samual "Sam" Fuller who some 30 years later wrote and directed a very similar film, this time in living color not black and white, about the 1944-45 war in Western Europe "the Big Red One" that in real life back in WWII he was an actual member of.