Tank Commando (1959) starring Donato Farretta, Robert Barron, Maggie Lawrence, Wally Campo, Leo V. Matranga, Jack B. Sowards, Anthony Rich directed by Burt Topper Movie Review

Tank Commando (1959)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Donato Farretta in Tank Commando (1959)

Almost Tanks

Italy 1944 and young Diano (Donato Farretta) is chased by Germans when he spots how they are getting their tanks across a river, via an under water bridge. Having escaped via the sewers he surfaces right in the middle of a gun battle only to be saved by some war weary American troops. Those troops lead by Lt. Jim Blaine (Robert Barron) end up heading back to the American line where despite their obvious fatigue are sent on a mission to discover how the German's are getting tanks across the river with Diano leading them to what he saw so Blaine and his men can blow it up.

"Tank Commando" was released in 1959 and in a way it was half a decade too late. You see by 1959 there had already been a decade of post-war war movies with Hollywood churning them out as audiences lapped them up. The trouble is that by 1959 some of these movies lacked heart as well as stars and were little more than an exercise in delivering something which the audiences will pay to see rather than creating something which would be memorable years later. "Tank Commando" is one of those movies which just goes through the motions yet has an idea which if it had been made just 5 years earlier could have been a much better movie with a much better cast.

As I said the basic idea is okay, I like the whole concept of the German's using and underwater bridge to get their tanks across the river. I also like the idea that Diano is a bit of a street urchin who uses the sewers to sneak around the city. The trouble is that everything else is so generic that it ends up an incredibly dull movie.

The big issue with being generic comes from the characters who we never really get to know and so don't care about or to be honest distinguish one from another. It is why "Tank Commando" ends up feeling like a movie only going through the motions with characters that wind each other up or have love interests. In the end the most memorable character is an Italian woman as she wears an off the shoulder top which if I am sure wasn't for a ton of tape would have fallen down as she frequently bends over.

What this all boils down to is that "Tank Commando" has some good ideas but ends up an incredibly generic war movie with characters who we don't remember their names and not enough action to make it exciting. As I said if it had been made 5 years earlier it would probably have had a better cast, better action and at least be a little memorable.