Film critic James F. Maxfield suggested that the film can be interpreted as a variant on the Ambrose Bierce short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, and that the main narrative of the film is actually imagined by Scottie, dangling from a building at the end of the opening rooftop chase.
- It is possible, as the making-of featurette that had been produced to celebrate the film's restoration in 1996 stated that Hitchcock purposefully filmed scenes with certain filters to give off a dream-like quality to the film.
Now, we all know it's partly about love and obsession, but Scottie's action or recreating Madeleine with Judy seems rather odd until you remember he was a police detective. Detectives have been trained to use logical deduction and hone their instinct to notice details, especially in that time before forensics became a common factor. So, Scottie's obsession of changing Judy into Madeleine may have been his detective skills subconsciously telling him that there was more to the death of Madeleine, and that Judy looking like Madeleine was more than just a mere coincidence. And it's not until he sees the necklace does his consciously realize that Judy and Madeleine were the same person, and that he had been played by Gavin Elster.