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A devastating film: "Patterns" 1956


roverrocks
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Just finished watch "Patterns" 1956 for the first time. That was one devastating no-holds-barred movie. Wow!! is about all I can say. Corporate in-fighting and murderous inhumane aggression. Kind of left me feeling numb as I worked for many years in sort of the same management/ownership situation. I finally just had enough one day and quit on the spot and walked out. Wish Ed Begley had too. Life is too short as it is and he paid the price. Humanity increasingly meant nothing only the bottom line. We were all just numbers as in this movie. I so wish that Van Heflin would have beaten the bastard to death and left his carcass on the roof for the crows and ravens. Great movie I am glad I took the time to watch. Personally numbing.

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I also just watched "Patterns" & loved it! I have a question & hope someone knows the answer....since I watch TCM nearly daily I have noticed something which occurred in this film as well as many others...why when entering a vehicle do both the driver & passenger enter through the passenger's side door & then the driver slides over to get behind the wheel? I've noticed this in over a dozen older films & wondered if it has to do with camera limitations at the time or if there is another explanation. BTW, wasn't Ed Begley fantastic???

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That was my second time for Patterns, and I agree completely with your take. In fact from The Hucksters through Executive Suite through Patterns through The Power and the Prize (the movie on now), this has been as good an afternoon as I've seen here in a long time. Not a clinker in the entire carload.

 

With different twists, all four films deal with the corporate life and the fight to retain some sort of human values within it, and every one of them is played well by a fine cast. *Gable / Kerr / Gardner / Arnold,* then Holden / Allyson / Stanwyck / March / Calhern / Pidgeon / Douglas / Holm, then *Heflin / Sloane / Begley / Straight,* and finally Taylor / Mueller / Ives / Astor / Coburn / Hardwicke. What's really nice about these movies is that even though all four of them have well known stars in the leads, these films let them display their skills as actors, not as pretty faces or action figures. I hope people here have had a chance to catch them.

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I have a particular affinity for Executive Suite because, IMO, it has a greater emotional content. Beginning with the last board meeting to elect a new president, things build to a nice climax with Holden's outbursts and the sudden transformation of his character. What has been roiling beneath his surface has burst through and you can see the elation as well as the almost patriotic responses from Barbara Stanwyck and Paul Douglas.

 

Fredric March.. well, all I can say about him is near perfection. He played his character meticulously well. I thought he gave the best performance overall, with Holden a far second, but still very well done. March should have won an Oscar for that one.

 

As for Patterns.. I enjoyed it also, but not to the same extent. The film took a completely different approach to the subject which I liked but wasn't crazy about - I guess because, like roverrocks, I too came from a mean spirited business background.. one such as these portray. The ending was an anti-climax for me with Begly's death and the Mexican standoff between Van Heflin and Everett Sloane.

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Submitted for your approval..

 

With all the KUDOs to "Patterns", no one has mentioned who penned this most wonderful piece of work. The great Rod Serling. Before "The Twilight Zone" , he was turning out great works for the "Golden Age" of television..One of the most creative writers who ever pounded on a typewriter and along with Paddy Chayefsky and a few others gave us some of the best ever saw on television...

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I came upon the last 20 minutes of Patterns by accident, never heard of it. It was riveting. Really well written -- I didn't know until I saw Fred B's thread that it was by Rod Serling! Great acting, including two performances by actresses who worked primarily in theatre: Beatrice Straight (who won an Oscar for her work in a Chayefsky-written movie) and Elizabeth Wilson, who still lives in NYC.

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I recorded PATTERNS, but haven't seen it yet...hopefully this weekend. I like the other three movies mentioned here.

 

As for the sliding across seats, back then, the seats were often one long seat (bench seats?), with no console in the middle of the front seat. They got in from one side because they could, but I always thought the main reason someone would slide across the seat from one side to the other, was because it looked cool.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Nov 8, 2013 9:53 PM

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>As for the sliding across seats, back then, the seats were often one long seat (bench seats?), with no console in the middle of the front seat. They got in from one side because they could, but I always thought the main reason someone would slide across the seat from one side to the other, was because it looked cool.

 

Also, there were different social customs at that time. One was - when walking down the street with a woman, the gentleman always stayed toward the curbside. The car seat sliding routine may have been a similar custom and/or just the safest egress and ingress along a busy city street. The bench seats made this easier.

 

I often find myself amused when camera angles depict the front seat passengers facing forward - with the front of the car removed for filming. They are usually scrunched closer together than they would normally seat themselves, to accommodate the shot.

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March in ES is something. To me what is so great is that March isn't completely unlikeable, at least to me. Maybe it is because I had a friend that was a CFO like him when I worked for a tech start-up company that went public during those wonderful Clinton years (wonderful as it relates to start-ups going **** and management making a lot of money off stock options).

 

March's character and my friend clearly want to make money, but often their type of plans DO make money. A lot of money but of course only for a select few and over time the company dies. My friend explained this to me. He said 'you have options, that paper will turn to gold, cash out the gold, than leave before we sink'.

 

March plays the character with just the right balance.

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I agree, the two words that "Patterns" brings to my mind are...Rod Serling.

 

Incomparable writer and had the pulse of the nation at his fingertips as he typed.

 

I also love Paddy Chayefsky but that's another story.

 

"Patterns" makes you really sense the quiet desperation of the employees in the management positions.

 

Great film!

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>I agree, the two words that "Patterns" brings to my mind are...Rod Serling.

 

I did not feel the presence of Rod Serling while watching "Patterns". I did take note of the undercurrents and tensions, but I could not sense his hand in it. I have seen other, dramatic, non sci-fi works of his and there were always some little bits of his unique style which made me aware. This is not to say it isn't a good movie - I like the movie.

 

I'm also aware this may indicate just how versatile and exceptional Mr. Serling

was at his craft - excellent, IMO.

 

The next time I watch "Patterns" I will keep his presence

in mind and, hopefully, I will enjoy it even more.

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I totally agree with you, Kidd.

 

I only meant that the title alone, makes me remember it was Serling's work.

 

While I'm watching it, I never think of Serling and am only absorbed by the drama.

 

And I also agree with you, that though he became more well known for tales with a bit of otherworldly presence, his first shots on television anthology shows or play settings, were very much attuned to everyday occurences in the work world or in human relationship issues.

 

And yes, he certainly was good at his craft. Gotta love also all those pithy intros he wrote for TZ which only he was good at delivering with his unique mannerisms and vocal phrasing. But that's another story...

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"Patterns" has fine performances from all concerned, but especially from Everett Sloane, who once again showed his range as an actor -- and he didn't even get an Oscar nomination for this picture!

 

The ending seemed like a bit of a copout: Heflin doesn't quit -- he keeps his job, but he's going to ride Sloane at every opportunity (as if the latter would care).

 

I've seen this picture three or four times, and it keeps getting better. I always look forward to Sloane's scenes -- he's the man you love to hate.

 

It must have been tempting to have some music, but not having any

was a wise decision.

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>I believe that PATTERNS is generally considered to be a better fim about corporate machinations than EXECUTIVE SUITE.

 

That is true, and I will not refute it. I only make the personal observation that Executive Suite stirs more emotion - in me. I do not really compare these two because they are not equal, for the reason you mention.

 

I don't start getting into Executive Suite until the last Board meeting begins to assemble, and that is pretty much at the end of the movie. Patterns has something going throughout which really climaxes in Begleys death, not the stand-off afterward. As I said before, that's an anti-climax to me.

 

I very much look forward to the next airing of Patterns.

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Speaking of Everett Sloane, I once read that after CK he was told to continue his career it might be nice to get a nose job, I mean rhinoplasty.

 

So he did and from then on, he always looked so angry to me in films.

 

Not that this was a problem as it worked fine in the parts he played and he was always superb.

 

But then the legend was, that he never could look in a mirror and feel he was seeing himself, and he eventually committed suicide.

 

It's funny, I like his looks so much more in Kane, and think he looked better and cuter with the bigger proboscis.

 

Anyone agree and anyone else hear this tale before?

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>The BIGGEST emotion EXECUTIVE SUITE stirs in me is when I have to see and listen to June Allyson.

 

OH! That's right! I can see clearly now. I had forgotten all about you and 'that woman'. Oddly enough, she's one of my favorite women. I can't say too much about her acting skills.. I just

like looking at her and hearing her talk. Mostly in lighthearted films where her bubbly person - ality is displayed.

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>It's funny, I like his looks so much more in Kane, and think he looked better and cuter with the bigger proboscis.

 

I hadn't heard this story, but I agree with you completely.

 

>he was becoming blind, and his depression over this caused him to commit suicide.

 

I can understand this. Makes more sense to me than a self-image problem.

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I second that as well. Saw parts of that Van Johnson June Allyson movie where June plays a 14 year old. When June was 25 she looked 40. Here she was 44 and cast to play a 14 year old!

 

I don't fault June for that, but talk about being miscasted.

 

Note that Shirley Winters is an annoying and irritating actress BUT her movie characters were also (or vise versa), so everything worked and often worked really well.

 

But most of the characters Allyson played were not designed to be annoying and irritating. June just made them that way.

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