The New York Times inexplicably got this right in its review. Chance evolution, probably.
This suite of amusements is a first-rate nightmare in the Twilight Zone vein, by which I mean that even given an opulently expansive treatment at full-length, it adheres to its driving sense of image first and foremost, and lets the chips fly. This is a very secure way to make a movie, “a succession of images.”
Gordon Douglas left a daredevil for dead south of the border in Viva Knievel!, but this is all a game, the one played by artists who render a turgid semblance into a pellucid reality, or something like that.
The bravura of this nightmare chain ends with a virtuosic leap and then is dispelled with some care in well-prepared echoes of Vertigo and Blowup. TV Guide was never sure if there really was a body in Antonioni’s film, now wonders “what all the fuss was about,” and claims the Cortázar story it’s based on is “Final del Juego”...
At least one of the reviewers made glancing reference to A Christmas Carol, of which this is a finely-modulated variant.
The whole thing pivots on the security man turned thief, to begin with. And then, the burlesque shifts from besieged mother and daughter to thieves beset by angry mother. The nicety of the conclusion, with its air of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, is the laying not up where moth and rust, etc.
The nice transformations of Wait Until Dark include the little girl as diabetic requiring injections and most zealously admiring the title chamber, “definitely my room”.
None of this particularly interested the critics, who nevertheless like a pretty good show as much as the next man, for no particular reason at all.