Considering that the world was at war during the first half of the decade and much of it still in ruins during the second half, the 1940s were an extraordinary fertile period for the cinema. This was the heyday of directors such as Orson Wells (Citizen Kane, The Lady from Shanghai and The Third Man), Alfred Hitchcock (Notorious, Rope, Spellbound and Suspicion), Powell and Pressberger (Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes) and Jean Cocteau (La Belle et la Bete, Orphee); and of stars like Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman, Betty Grable, Laurence Olivier, Clark Gable, Robert Mitchum and, of course, the incomparable Bogart and Bacall. Most lists of all-time favourites will include a host of 40s movies such as Casablanca and Brief Encounter. Surprisingly, perhaps, the decade produced relatively few memorable war films, though Twelve O'Clock High and the March of Time documentary series are notable exceptions. Indeed the setting that most characteristic of the cinema of the 1940s is not the battlefield, but the dark alleys and mean streets of the noir genre, represented here by titles such as The Blue Dahlia, The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Gilda. Not only are these movies enduring classics, they also inspired some of the greatest poster art in the cinema's history and, as always in this series of books, it is fascinating to see how the subjects were treated by European and other poster artists as well as the American originals. In Europe, the age of postwar austerity saw the beginnings of Ealing's classic comedies with Kind Hearts and Coronets, two of Olivier's interpretations of Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet and Macbeth, and the revival of the French and Italian film industries with movies like Les Enfants du Paradis and Rome Open City. Add to this list a pot pourri of miscellaneous titles ranging from Abbott and Costello in Hollywood to Ziegfield Follies, and you have ten years' worth of movie posters quite as memorable and evocative as anything from previous volumes in this bestselling series.