The Tanks Are Coming (1941)

Passed  |   |  Short, Comedy  |  4 October 1941 (USA)
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Reviews: 6 user

Educational short about the status of battle tanks and tankist training in the American Army in pre-War 1941, featuring a comical Army trainee from the Bronx.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Pete (as William Travis)
Jim Allen (as Byron Barr)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Thomas Jefferson (archive footage)
Walter Walker ...


In spring, 1941, President Roosevelt orders increased military readiness. Malowski, a good-humored New York City cabbie, drives his cab Betsy to Fort Knox, Tennessee, to enlist. He learns tank mechanics, driving, and weapons firing. On the eve of their first maneuvers, in mid June, a sergeant who used to be a traffic cop turns in Malowski for having the taxi on the base. The base commander tells Malowski he'll have to get rid of her. He stashes Betsy in an old shed, then the maneuvers begin. How will Malowski fare? What about Betsy? Behind Malowski's story, the narrator gives lots of information about the growing power of the U.S. armed forces. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 October 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Technicolor Specials (1941-1942 season) #1: The Tanks Are Coming  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vitaphone release #496A-497A. See more »


Featured in Warner at War (2008) See more »


Love Me, and the World Is Mine
Music by Ernest Ball
Played when Malowski drives Betsy into the shed
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Old Bessie
27 February 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The considerable talents of George Tobias who played many of the kinds of roles here in feature films, usually in support of the leads. He's an amiable sort of lunkhead who can't bear to be parted with his taxi cab Bessie. He's a hack driver in civilian life and sees no reason he can't take his reliable vehicle into the army with him. So he drives her from New York all the way to Fort Knox, Kentucky where he reports and learns all about the driving, care, and maintenance of a tank.

Through all the propaganda and the attempts at wartime humor which don't really hold up well today, we learn a lot about tanks and their use in wartime. This was in fact the great advance in weaponry from World War I and the Nazis learned the lessons better than the Allied powers did.

Gig Young, Richard Travis, and John Litel are also in the short which did get nominated for Best Short Subject in 1941. Today The Tanks Are Coming is a a slightly amusing bit of history.

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