The issue with the film is really that it becomes fairly sentimental about halfway through; and that kind of drains away some of the darkness that makes the movie fun at the outset. That's also the point at which the delightful symbolic evocations (like the man as the rabbit and the boy interacting with the rabbit) start to taper off, a bit. But it's a fun movie, overall, and a good debut for Shirley Maclaine.
Hitchcock tries farce—like Bringing Up Baby, say, with a corpse instead of a leopard. The bizarro tone of the film put me off at first. But the weirdness gets richer and richer as it goes along, and it sheds light on Hitch: all the manners, niceties, and daily rituals papered over morbid fears and carnal desires. Nice touch: the artist who uses academic doublespeak to hide his guilt. "From my subconscious" indeed.
The recent Bluray of this is a stunning print, recommend viewing it. This little rural black comedy is something of an anomaly in Hitch's canon, and unfortunately so. This is just a winner top to bottom. I love the use of no big name stars (Maclaine's first film), relying on the great script and on screen chemistry to carry the story. Laughed my ass off all the way through, especially at Gwenn's Captain. Essential