...Rod Serling is recalled today almost exclusively for his speculative fiction television series "The Twilight Zone" and "Rod Serling's Night Gallery." Perhaps that's understandable, given the out-of-sight-out-of-mind nature of today's audiences, and the fact that the generation Serling first impressed with this lean but powerful work in 1955 on the "Kraft Television Theater" is now well into the process of dying out. Still, the kinetic nature of PATTERNS, either in this theatrical film or in the kinescoped original TV broadcast, is not lost on today's first-time viewers. It helped that two of the three leads in this picture, Everett Sloan and Ed Begley, were carried over from the TV productions (Richard Kiley was replaced in this film by Van Heflin, giving perhaps his single greatest performance). But Serling's screenplay has not lost one bit of its relevance; in fact, I'm surprised nobody's thought of remaking this one...
The story of the fierce and corrosive competition that exists in the executive branch of Ramsey & Co., a New York industrial colossus headed by Walter Ramsey, its cold, designing and ruthless chief. It is the saga, too, of Bill Briggs, his longtime second in command, who is swayed by human as well as technological values. And, it is the case of Fred Staples, a comparatively youthful industrial engineer brought in by Ramsey to succeed Briggs. The younger man's views and sensitivities are essentially the same as Briggs'. People are not merely units, they feel. But it is Ramsey's calculated pattern not to fire his aging aide but to create such untenable conditions that he will be forced to resign.
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March 23, 2019 at 07:39 AM