- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- Since we don't hear much of Rettig's backstory, only that he was a paratrooper in the army, it leaves a lot of his motivations up in the air. Does he finally want to settle down or not? And more importantly did he commit suicide by refusing to pull his ripcord?
- Elizabeth even raises the point that Rettig might be more interested in playing the part of the Manic Pixie Dream Guy and 'saving' her from her boring, small-town life. But how much of this is Elizabeth convincing herself of the fact, just to avoid disrupting the seemingly peaceful perfect life she's created for herself?
- The film ends before Malcolm gets on the train. Perhaps he'll change his mind and reconnect with his family, and Annie.
- Awesome Music: The soundtrack is fantastic, composed by the great Elmer Bernstein.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: The movie is best remembered for having the only nude scene of Deborah Kerr's career - at the age of 47 no less.
- Eight Deadly Words: Roger Ebert felt that the overemphasis on the skydiving scenes meant that there was little reason to care about the characters involved.
- Fetish Retardant: The nude scene for Elizabeth can be a little uncomfortable to watch when you read that Deborah Kerr only did it because she felt pressured to compete with younger actresses who were willing to do nudity. What's more is that she ultimately quit Hollywood over the explicit violence and sex of the new era.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The movie found some success in Australia, where local skydiving fraternities showed it at many meetings.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Gene Hackman plays a man who wants to get out of the skydiving business. His experience on the film led to him taking up stunt flying for fun.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Some watch the movie just for the skydiving scenes.
- The rather forced sexual tension between Elizabeth and Rettig comes out of nowhere during her ladies' society meeting.
- The little fist fight between Browdy and Malcolm in the kitchen is incredibly forced and contrived.
- One-Scene Wonder: Sheree North as Mary the snarky stripper that Browdy takes home for the evening.
- Special Effects Failure: The only skydiving scene in the movie that doesn't look solid is when Browdy falls out of the plane and deploys a surprise parachute. It's a very obvious blue screen effect.
- Strangled by the Red String:
- Rettig and Elizabeth have known each other for two days, and he asks her to come with him. Understandably she refuses. This could also be additional Foreshadowing for Rettig's implied suicide during the show - since he's clearly not in the right state of mind.
- Annie is also a little too attached to Malcolm after having only known him a couple of days and sharing some brief interactions with him.
- Tear Jerker: Malcolm's emotional moment with Annie after Rettig dies during the show, ending with him crying into her shoulder."I remember standing there looking at him, wanting to say something. Like there was some magic word to say. I couldn't say that word...because I don't know what it is."
- Values Dissonance:
- Elizabeth married John because her sister had married Malcolm's father, and she stays in a loveless marriage. Before 1969 when the movie was released, a couple could only divorce if there was evidence of "spousal wrongdoing" in the marriage. The no-fault divorce bill was passed in 1969 but it wouldn't be until the end of the 70s that divorcing to get out of an unhappy marriage was a popular idea.
- Sky-diving was a very new thing at the time, hence why the movie goes to great lengths to illustrate the Culture Clash between the Gypsy Moths and everyday folk. It's presented more like a travelling circus and something completely alien to the average Everytown, America.
- Vindicated by Cable: The movie eventually found an audience when it was shown on TV.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The skydiving sequences are stunning, done with a mixture of blue screen, mannequins and doubles with aerial photography.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The film seems heavily about the contrast between the older conservative ways of traditional America and the new liberal ways of the 60s. The fact that they cast two stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood (Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster) and two of the New Hollywood Era (Gene Hackman and Scott Wilson) heightens the contrast. Rettig's suicide and Malcolm leaving his family at the end suggest that the older parts will never move with the times.
YMMV / The Gypsy Moths