Film Posters of the 50s: The Essential Movies of the Decade, edited by Tony Nourmand and Graham Marsh. Overlook. 128 pages. $35.
I find it impossible to decide whether the most enchanting of these are the very art-based works like Moulin Rouge, using Lautrec, and many Polish films ads or the straight-to-your-head violence classics High Noon and Attack and more. Then there are some glorious science-fiction flick posters, almost all with a pulchritudinous but petrified damsel being carted off to a fate worse than death by an extraterrestrial alien. There is an especially delicious genre of posters for American movies that are done to draw French, Spanish, Italian and other audiences (the Japanese version for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a winner). Whichever may be your own favorite -- the movie itself or the poster for it -- this well designed and splendidly printed collection is worth hours of thumbing, and limitless passing on to others.