Tank Battalion (1958)

80 mins | Drama | July 1958

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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Korean Attack . The opening and closing credits differ slightly in order. A romantic scene between "Danny" and "Nikko" contains dialogue used in a famous scene between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in Warner Bros.' 1944 production To Have and Have Not . The film was registered for copyright in Sep 1958, but did not appear in the Catalog of Copyright entries until the 1960s. Although the credits state "Introducing Mark Sheeler," Sheeler appeared in the 1957 Allied Artists production From Hell It Came (see above). Tank Battalion was the first production of Viscount Films Productions, a company co-owned by Richard Bernstein and Richard B. ... More Less

The working title of the film was Korean Attack . The opening and closing credits differ slightly in order. A romantic scene between "Danny" and "Nikko" contains dialogue used in a famous scene between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in Warner Bros.' 1944 production To Have and Have Not . The film was registered for copyright in Sep 1958, but did not appear in the Catalog of Copyright entries until the 1960s. Although the credits state "Introducing Mark Sheeler," Sheeler appeared in the 1957 Allied Artists production From Hell It Came (see above). Tank Battalion was the first production of Viscount Films Productions, a company co-owned by Richard Bernstein and Richard B. Duckett. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Nov 1958.
---
Daily Variety
23 Oct 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 58
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Oct 58
p. 1001.
Variety
29 Oct 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Asst to prod
Scr supv
Prod secy
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Korean Attack
Release Date:
July 1958
Production Date:
mid March--early April 1958
Copyright Claimant:
Iron Foxhole, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 September 1958
Copyright Number:
LP28694
Physical Properties:
Sound
Ryder Sound Services
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19043
SYNOPSIS

In 1951 in Korea, a U.S. Army tank unit engages in a fierce battle with the enemy. Tank commander Sgt. Brad Dunn encourages his exhausted crew, which consists of nervous enlistee Danny Collins and veterans Corbett and Skids. After the tank is shaken by a nearby bomb blast, Danny reports that the steering mechanism has been damaged and the tank is ordered back to the base for repairs. Upon arriving at the base camp, Brad is surprised to be reunited with his girl friend, nurse Lt. Alice Brent, who has maneuvered to be assigned to the region. After a discussion with the mechanic, Brad informs the crew that the tank will take three days to repair fully. Hoping to spend some time with Alice, Brad is instead summoned to a meeting with unit commander Capt. Caswell, who outlines a new joint offensive operation scheduled in seventy-two hours. Meanwhile, Skids makes a date with Alice’s friend, nurse Norma O’Brien, who agrees to meet him that night at Egg Charlie’s, the local bar. That evening, Norma arrives at the bar early and chats with Caswell, who dislikes the soldiers fraternizing with the nurses. Danny accompanies Corbett to Egg Charlie’s and is immediately captivated by Nikko, the bar’s singer and waitress. When Collins makes lewd comments to Nikko, Danny comes to her defense and later apologizes to her for his friends’ behavior. Nikko, who has become cynical due to her constant association with soldiers, nevertheless agrees to see Danny after the bar closes. Later that night, after talking with Danny, Nikko is impressed by his sincerity. The next ... +


In 1951 in Korea, a U.S. Army tank unit engages in a fierce battle with the enemy. Tank commander Sgt. Brad Dunn encourages his exhausted crew, which consists of nervous enlistee Danny Collins and veterans Corbett and Skids. After the tank is shaken by a nearby bomb blast, Danny reports that the steering mechanism has been damaged and the tank is ordered back to the base for repairs. Upon arriving at the base camp, Brad is surprised to be reunited with his girl friend, nurse Lt. Alice Brent, who has maneuvered to be assigned to the region. After a discussion with the mechanic, Brad informs the crew that the tank will take three days to repair fully. Hoping to spend some time with Alice, Brad is instead summoned to a meeting with unit commander Capt. Caswell, who outlines a new joint offensive operation scheduled in seventy-two hours. Meanwhile, Skids makes a date with Alice’s friend, nurse Norma O’Brien, who agrees to meet him that night at Egg Charlie’s, the local bar. That evening, Norma arrives at the bar early and chats with Caswell, who dislikes the soldiers fraternizing with the nurses. Danny accompanies Corbett to Egg Charlie’s and is immediately captivated by Nikko, the bar’s singer and waitress. When Collins makes lewd comments to Nikko, Danny comes to her defense and later apologizes to her for his friends’ behavior. Nikko, who has become cynical due to her constant association with soldiers, nevertheless agrees to see Danny after the bar closes. Later that night, after talking with Danny, Nikko is impressed by his sincerity. The next day when Alice sees Nikko lingering near the camp, she asks if Nikko would consider assisting them in the medical tent. To Alice and Norma’s surprise, Nikko says yes. Amused by Nikko’s appearance at the camp, Corbett makes a sarcastic remark to Brad and the others, angering Danny, who starts a fight. Corbett then thrashes Danny, until Brad intervenes. Later, Brad invites Danny and Nikko to join him, Alice, Skids and Norma on a picnic. After a pleasant afternoon at the picnic, the women retire into the woods near the jeep to change from their “civies” back into fatigues and hear suspicious noises. Brad, Skids and Danny discover they are being stalked by Korean guerrilla soldiers. When Danny comes across an enemy soldier, he freezes in fear, forcing Brad to come to his rescue. The group then hurries back to camp, which is placed on alert for a possible assault. Alice invites Nikko to remain in the camp overnight for her protection. Late that night, several Korean guerrillas sneak into the medical supply tent while the nurses are asleep and steal various supplies. Just as they are leaving, Norma awakens and, spotting them, screams. Nikko attacks one soldier with a knife and the commotion brings Brad and the others. Caswell and the men track down and kill the guerrillas although one of the G. I.’s is wounded. Caswell worries about further attacks disrupting the offensive, but Brad suggests that the soldiers were rogues and assures the commander their mission will proceed as planned. Danny spends the next day with Nikko, telling her about his home in Wisconsin. When Nikko attempts to tell Danny about the unpleasant realities of her own life as a bar waitress, he assures her that he cares for her as she is. Touched by Danny’s subsequent ingenuous marriage proposal, Nikko gives Danny her necklace. That afternoon, Caswell receives orders to send the unit out the next morning to the front line in preparation for the new offensive. Before dawn the next day, Brad’s mechanic awakens him to report he has repaired the tank and the crew can join the unit. Brad and his crew departs before they are able to bid farewell to the nurses and Nikko. Soon after the American offensive begins, Brad’s tank is caught up in heavy conflict. After several concussions from exploding shells, the tank radio is damaged and the crew is unable to contact the group leader, forcing Brad to order them out of action. While heading down a road toward the rear, the tank is attacked by Korean infantry and stalled by grenade damage. Surrounded by enemy infantry, without tank shells and with only small arms for defense, Brad realizes that when night falls, the tank will be completely vulnerable to enemy attack. Believing that one man might be able to slip away and return safely to base to retrieve a spare part to fix the gears, Brad has the men draw lots to decide who should make the attempt. Corbett draws the designated match, but adamantly refuses to go. When Brad argues that they must make an attempt, Danny abruptly decides to take Corbett’s place. Skids provides machine gun cover as Danny races away behind the tank. An enemy machine gun nest situated on a small hill above the tank sights Danny and, despite Skids’ protection, shoots him. Dismayed by Danny’s action, Corbett accepts that he must make the attempt and manages a safe escape. Corbett then sneaks across several fields, evading snipers to return to the base. There he retrieves the spare part and Caswell assigns a jeep and driver to take him back to the tank. Corbett and the driver arrive on the opposite side of the hill where Brad and Skids wait anxiously as darkness approaches. The driver is killed while going over the hill, but Corbett makes it down the hill and to the tank without injury. Although Skids has exhausted the machine gun ammunition, Brad goes outside to repair the gears. With the tank now operational, the remaining crew drive toward the enemy nest and destroy it with a grenade, then turn toward their home base. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.