February 28, 2009
Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock

Saturday's Top TV : David Chater

In an informed and often extremely funny programme, Paul Merton looks at the 23 British films that Alfred Hitchcock made before he went to Hollywood, which include ten silent movies. One of the tricks Merton uses is to superimpose himself into old footage of Hitchcock, as though he were doing the interviews himself.

The programme is packed with information about Hitchcock's techniques and influences, from the visual inventiveness of the German silent era to the use of Russian montage and trick photography. Although Merton is a huge fan, this is by no means a hagiography: at one point, he describes the little-known film Waltzes from Vienna as "the worst Hitchcock ever made". This estimable documentary is sandwiched between two classics, The Lady Vanishes (7.30pm) and Rebecca (10pm). A great night for film buffs.