Tanks a Million
|Tanks a Million|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Fred Guiol
John E. Burch (assistant)
|Produced by||Hal Roach (producer)|
|Written by||Edward E. Seabrook (writer)
Paul Girard Smith (writer)
Warren Wilson (writer)
|Music by||Edward Ward|
|Edited by||Richard C. Currier|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|12 September 1941|
Tanks a Million is a 1941 American film directed by Fred Guiol. It was the first of Hal Roach's Streamliners, short films under an hour designed for the lower half of a double feature. The film was also the first pairing of William Tracy and Joe Sawyer in a series of films of the two in the military.
Dorian Doubleday, "Dodo" to his friends, has the ability of photographic memory, but he works as a clerk at a railway station. When he is drafted to the Army, he memorizes all the manuals for Army procedure immediately after starting his service.
Because of his extensive knowledge of procedure, he is quickly known as a know-it-all at the basic training in Camp Carver. His drill-sergeant, Sergeant Ames, disapproves of him from the start, but the officers above him are quite impressed with the new recruit.
Dodo is made sergeant in no time, and put in charge of the worst and most chaotic company on the camp: Company F. The soldiers try to make things hard for Dodo, by turning up for training wearing only their top coats. As soon as Sergeant Ames hears this he reports it to Major Greer, hoping it will shorten Dodo's career as an officer.
Dodo explains that he is just trying out some new ideas, training with a minimal amount of equipment. He claims his men are of a tough Kentucky breed and can walk without shoes. Unfortunately Greer buys this and has the company march around barefoot all day.
Dodo's reputation as a drill-sergeant spreads, and he is swarmed by impressed women at a dance that night. Since their feet hurt though, his soldiers perform their training the day after on different kinds of vehicles, including a mule.
When the mule ruins the marching band parade, Captain Rossmead is upset and punishes the men with extra guard duty. Dodo accepts the punishment on behalf of his men, but the captain decides to not carry out the punishment, upsetting Ames in the process.
Dodo becomes very popular among his men because of taking the blame. They promise to do thwir best and be loyal to Dodo from now on. But Ames doesn't give up. He gets Rossmead to assign Dod to be a duty officer under infamous Colonel Barkley, known as "Spitfire".
Ames plan backfires, as Dodo accidentally makes a radio pep speech the Colonel was supposed to make, and it is a huge success. The Colonel has stage-fright and is afraid of microphones, and accepts Dodo's posing as him for a moment while making the speech.
While Dodo tries on the Colonel's uniform, his girlfriend arrives to camp and believes he has been promoted to colonel. Dodo lets her believe this while he makes the speech. When he is done, Ames and Rossmead arrest him for his insubordinance, but since the success of the speech has reached all the way to Washington, Dodo is not punished, but promoted to the Colonel's regular orderly.
- William Tracy as Sgt. Dorian "Dodo" Doubleday
- James Gleason as Col. "Spitfire" Barkley
- Noah Beery Jr. as Charlie Cobb
- Joe Sawyer as Sgt. William Ames
- Elyse Knox as Jeannie
- Douglas Fowley as Capt. Rossmead
- Knox Manning as Radio Interviewer Cardigan
- Frank Faylen as Pvt. Skivic
- Dick Wessel as Pvt. Monkman
- Frank Melton as Pvt. Cleary
- Harold Goodwin as Lt. Caldwell
- William Gould as Maj. Greer
- Norman Kerry as Major
- "You're in the Army Now"
- Tanks a Million at the Internet Movie Database
- Tanks a Million is available for free download at the Internet Archive