Alfred Hitchcock first grabbed me by the lapels when I was 8 - and he hasn't let go since. I have been entranced by the great director since the moment I first saw his film The 39 Steps, one Saturday morning on BBC Two
Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock BBC's Synopsis
Paul Merton continues his love affair with silent cinema in an exploration of Alfred Hitchcock's British films.
Before Hitchcock became the master of suspense he made all kinds of movies while learning his profession and honing his technique. His later, much loved American pictures are full of visual sequences which owe a huge debt to his early days as a silent film director.
Merton sees Hitchcock as a man immersed in the visual language of cinema, who understood how to use camera movement and lighting for dramatic effect. For Hitchcock, heavily influenced by the German Expressionist cinema, the pictures would always be more important than the dialogue.
Using clips and previously unseen archive interviews with Hitchcock, Merton weaves together a playful narrative of the director's early career and macabre world, revealing a man with a great sense of humour.
He talks to those who knew and worked with Hitchcock, including actress Anna Massey, director Roy Ward Baker, Hitchcock's official biographer John Russell Taylor and the great cinematographer Gil Taylor, the latter about working on two Hitchcock films at either end of his career - Number Seventeen in 1932 and Frenzy in 1972.