The Dawn Patrol ? Gun Camera Footage? It’s All Right Here.
Fifteen years ago Steve Mormando expanded his career as a U.S. Olympic sabre fencing team member (and fencing coach at NYU) to include selling old war movies. Today his catalogue, Belle & Blade, offers the largest selection of military videos anywhere; in fact, it’s so complete that it can even serve as a reference work.
With the widest possible interpretation of what gives a movie a military theme, its offerings range from the 1927 The General (“Keaton’s masterpiece and probably the most formally perfect and funniest of the silent comedies …”) to Preflight Inspection of the B-17 E (“This preflight is divided into three parts. Exterior airframe, interior airframe inspection and engine check …”). Specialty items include a demonstration—the only one you’re ever likely to see—of the U.S. Army Model 1917 Six-Ton Tank (America’s first battle tank), the 1968 epic Waterloo with Christopher Plummer as Wellington, Rod Steiger as Bonaparte, and the Soviet army as the British, the French, and the Prussians (the original four-hour version is not available anywhere—Mormando is offering a reward to whoever can scratch up a print for him to look at—but even in its two-hour-and-twenty-minute length “there is not a war film that compares to the scope and power of this one”), and Gun Camera Footage of World War II.
Expanding some on its franchise, the Belle & Blade catalogue also includes a vast selection of Westerns. As for the proprietor, he’s doing well enough to have just purchased a 1942 Ford three-star general’s staff car in mint condition—complete with a photo of Jimmy Doolittle in the car: “Wow! You can bet I’m having a ball!” Belle & Blade is at 124 Penn Avenue, Dover, NJ 07801; its Web site,