When Fred Staples is recruited onto the board of a high-powered New York corporation, he finds his ethics and ambition at odds.When Fred Staples is recruited onto the board of a high-powered New York corporation, he finds his ethics and ambition at odds.When Fred Staples is recruited onto the board of a high-powered New York corporation, he finds his ethics and ambition at odds.
Heflin (who was never less than excellent in all his roles) has been hired out of his small Ohio business to join a big firm in New York. He quickly makes friends with Ed Begley, the firm's old timer who, it soon becomes clear, is being squeezed out by hard-nosed Everett Sloane. Therein lies the tension in the film.
Unlike the big corporation in "Executive Suite," which is clearly a furniture manufacturer, Slone's company is only vaguely defined, apparently a holding company with its fingers in many pies. We get just enough of the workings of the company to give it an authentic feel. The bulk of the picture is the Sloane-Begley conflict, which Heflin gets drawn into.
Sloane's single-minded character is encapsulated in a quick scene: Begley's teen-age son is waiting for his father after hours in the hall. Sloane walks by and the boy says, "Good evening, Mr. Ramsey" "Hello, Paul," says Ramsey as he passes. "Taking your vitamins, are you?" "I guess so, sir."
There's one little bit of logic that doesn't ring true. After a heated exchange with the boss, Begley is stewing alone in his office. Heflin, trying to give sound advice to him, asks why he doesn't retire. "Because," says Begley, "I'm 62 years old and I don't think I could get another job." Begley has worked for the company for 30 years and in those days of secure pensions he surely could retire. Why indeed doesn't he?
But "Patterns" is a model of tight, fat-free film making (no godawful background music, for one thing) that should be aired much more often than it is.
- Dec 25, 2006