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The Tanks Are Coming (1941)

Passed | | Short, Comedy | 4 October 1941 (USA)
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.



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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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:

,  »
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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 »


Edited from The Declaration of Independence (1938) 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

And now...the tanks!
25 April 2014 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Beautiful-looking technicolor short about tanks and the training of tank crewmen. It focuses primarily on a comical trainee played by George Tobias. Gig Young, Frank Wilcox, and Richard Travis also star. Filmed mostly on location in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Some really nice footage of the place. I'm a sucker for vintage location shoots like this. I also loved all the tank action footage. It's a pretty informative short with some comedy as well. One thing stuck out to me as odd, though, and admittedly it's kind of nitpicky. It's that in some scenes several of the soldiers have shirts in desperate need of ironing. I always thought that sort of thing was frowned upon in the military. Frank Wilcox in particular has about the most wrinkled shirt I've ever seen and he's playing a colonel!

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