There are considerable delights to be found in most every one of Hitchcock's films, even the second rate ones. The five films of his that I enjoy the most and which seem to best exemplify the qualities we have come to appreciate most about him are:
1. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) Virtually a catalogue of everything Hitchcockian and the film that most successfully blends comedy with suspense. When Grant, as Roger O.Thornhill tells Eva Marie Saint that the "O" stands for "nothing" it's not only an amusingly accurate assessment of his character (to that point in the story) it's also a deliberate swipe at Hitch's one-time adversary...David O. Selznick.
2. PSYCHO (1960) Brilliant black humor on a TV budget with a TV crew; it revolutionized the movies in ways that Hitchcock himself probably never imagined. Once again the director chooses to make his "villain" (Perkins) a far more interesting and sympathetic figure than his "hero' (Gavin); see #'s 3 & 4.
3. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951) The combination of Patricia Highsmith (novel), Raymond Chandler (screenplay) and Hitchcock himself as ringmaster provides us with his most noir film: brutally poetic, cruel and pretty damn funny when it needs to be. An overwhelmingly great performance (Robert Walker) enables a distractingly feeble performance (Farley Granger) to be tolerarble.
4. REAR WINDOW (1954) Repeated viewings have diminished its impact for me, but it's still a towering exercise in aberrant behavior. Only Hitchcock would have the temerity to make his slimy, murderous heavy (Raymond Burr) more sympathetic than his pedantic, self-absorbed hero (James Stewart). Plus, it's based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich!
5. VERTIGO (1958) Hitchcock's most difficult and challenging film is also his most artistically bold one. It's taken me numerous viewings to warm up to its overtly odd tone and deliberately drawn out resolution but, in spite of its many obvious flaws, this intensely strange film always manages to leave me emotionally spent.
As for his television work, there is one episode that especially stands out for me. It wasn't on his ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS program, but on a different, short-lived anthology series he produced called SUSPENSE. Airing for only one season, in 1957, it nonetheless provided us with the terrific hour-long episode titled "Four O'Clock" which was adapted from a story by Cornell Woolrich and, of course, directed by Hitchcock. E. G. Marshall stars as a man who plots to kill his wife (Nancy Kelly) by planting a time bomb in their home, set to explode at four o'clock. The tables turn beautifully and unmercifully when hubby, through a freak occurrence, becomes trapped in the house. Incredibly entertaining and excruciatingly suspenseful.