There's something to be said for aiming high. When the amateur film enthusiasts of Westcliff, Essex, needed a new patron, they opted not for some local worthy, but the world's most famous film director. Their boldness clearly touched Alfred Hitchcock. In this filmed response, Hitch offers his 'guests' a virtual tour of Universal Studios and an extended monologue, touching on his youthful memories of the Thames estuary and the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, the class rivalries of seaside towns and the influence of a "dreary November day at Burnham-on-Crouch" on his creative development.
"I have always had a fascination for seaside resorts looking their worst in the winter," explains the master of suspense - presumably with his choice of location for the just-completed The Birds in mind (consummate showman that he is, he naturally works in a plug at the end). Mischievously, Hitch also opines that "everyone wants to gravitate from East to West" - perhaps thinking less of Westcliff and Southend than of his own journey from modest Leytonstone to Hollywood luxury.