Today we begin the centennial celebrations for one of the greatest names in the history of cinema. One hundred years ago next month Alfred Hitchcock was born into rather humble origins, as the third son of a London greengrocer. He died a Hollywood legend, 62 films and 81 years later, following a career spanning six decades. Rear Window (Pearl, 9.30pm) was one of his many great films, made at the peak of his directorial powers in 1954 and starring two other great names of cinema, James Stewart and Grace Kelly. As with many of his films the story evolves from a simple idea. Stewart is immobilised with a broken leg and whiles away his time by watching the world from his apartment window. It is, of course, not a nice world out there, as he witnesses his neighbours' dirty linen: broken dreams, suicide and sordid death. It is a virtuoso film, with the drama carefully revealed through Stewart's voyeuristic eyes and turning the smallest everyday happenings into chilling moments. Through Stewart, we also become voyeurs intrigued by the darkness we see around us. Rear Window was, incidentally, remade last year. It is the perfect film for crippled actor Christopher Reeve, who pays lip service to Hitchcock in a modern version of the story that allows us to witness not only the lives of others, but what it is like to be in his condition, a quadriplegic dependent on an oxygen tube. Hitchcock left us with many haunting images from films such as Psycho, Vertigo and The Birds. He ignites and feeds our fears and has no doubt helped generate many a phobia of strangers, empty rooms and seagulls. Phobias: Living In Terror (World, 10pm) is an enlightening portrayal of a psychological disorder suffered by more than seven million Americans. Irrational fears of heights, trains, open spaces, driving and spiders are some of the case studies followed in this rather dramatised American documentary. Phobias such as agoraphobia, the fear of walking outside one's home, may seem like pleas for attention and an excuse not to face up to the demands of normal life. But this film takes an in-depth look at what actually happens when someone gets a panic attack, triggering real symptoms such as a racing heart and rising blood pressure. Particularly interesting is the analysis of one of the most common phobias, of speaking in public. The area of the brain responsible for speech remains inactive as the moment for speaking approaches while the panic area goes into overdrive, leaving the victim lost for words. Psychologists also explain what we already suspect, that a person's phobia in fact masks a greater fear. Phobias are usually triggered by a traumatic experience. For instance, a woman who used to travel by train to visit her dying father goes into a state of virtual collapse when she sets eyes on a railway station, not because she fears trains, but her memories. There is also a genetic factor. Some may be predisposed to such fears, heightened by their upbringing and experiences.