An American tanker is sunk by a German U-boat and the survivors spend eleven days at sea on a raft. They're next assigned to the liberty ship "Sea Witch" bound for Murmansk through the sub-stalked North Atlantic.
In all of his films, Samuel Fuller--who wrote the story for this film, but not the screenplay--has a character named "Lemcheck". In this film it's a sergeant, played by Harry Bellaver. See more »
The main characters are assigned to crew an M26 Pershing tank armed with a 90 millimeter gun, with which they breach the Siegfried Line in Germany sometime in the Fall of 1944. In actuality, the M26 Pershing did not become operational until February 1945. Furthermore, the actual tank used in the movie was an M46 Patton, a post-World War II upgrade of the M26 which did not enter service until 1949. See more »
Probably Warner Brothers' best war movie of the era
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.
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