When Fred Staples is recruited onto the board of a high-powered New York corporation, he finds his ethics and ambition at odds.

Director:

Writer:

(original story and screen play)
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Prowler (1951)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When Susan Gilvray reports a prowler outside her house police officer Webb Garwood investigates and sparks fly. If only her husband wasn't in the way.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An embittered, vengeful POW stalks his former commanding officer who betrayed his men's planned escape attempt from a Nazi prison camp.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Unscrupulous Paul Kroll, starting as a Chicago janitor, uses graft to finance a trip to Sweden where by trickery he gains control of his uncle's small match factory. By expert manipulation ... See full summary »

Directors: Howard Bretherton, William Keighley
Stars: Warren William, Lili Damita, Glenda Farrell
Sudden Fear (1952)
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.

Director: David Miller
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame
Whipsaw (1935)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Hoping to nab a gang of jewel thieves, a government agent pretends to be a crook and travels across country with a lady thief.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Harvey Stephens
Men in White (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An idealistic doctor must make some hard choices between his dedication to the profession and his personal life.

Director: Richard Boleslawski
Stars: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Jean Hersholt
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young painter stumbles upon an assortment of odd characters at an English estate where he has been hired to give art lessons to beautiful Laura Fairlie. Among them are Anne Catherick, a ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Godfrey
Stars: Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, Sydney Greenstreet
Massacre (1934)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Joe Thunderhorse, a Sioux Indian who has become the wealthy star of a Wild West show, returns home to his reservation after years away and finds that his father is dying and his people are being abused by corrupt white officials.

Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: Richard Barthelmess, Ann Dvorak, Dudley Digges
Film-Noir | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In 1903, a doctor suspects murder in the gothic Bederaux family.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, George Brent, Paul Lukas
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A ruthless, domineering woman is married to an alcoholic D.A., her childhood companion and the only living witness to her murder of her rich aunt seventeen years earlier.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott
Possessed (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After being found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, a severely catatonic woman tells a doctor the complex story of how she wound up there.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Berkeley university professor adjusts (using alcohol) to tragic fire deaths of wife & son.

Director: Fletcher Markle
Stars: Ray Milland, John Hodiak, Nancy Reagan
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Nancy Staples
...
Joanna Roos ...
Valerie Cossart ...
Miss Stevens
Eleni Kiamos ...
Sylvia Trammel
Ronnie Welsh ...
Paul Briggs
Shirley Standlee ...
Miss Hill
...
Mr. Jameson
Jack Livesey ...
Mr. Vandeventer (as Jack Livesy)
John Seymour ...
Mr. Gordon
James Kelly ...
Mr. Latham
John Shelly ...
Mr. Grannigan
Edit

Storyline

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 positions that he will be forced to resign. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love that defied lust, greed, ambition! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 October 1956 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

El precio del triunfo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The report that Briggs is leafing through consists of script pages. See more »

Goofs

The dialog in the final scenes, starting with Staples' conversation with his wife in a coffee shop near his office, indicate the events take place well into the evening. However, the exterior shot linking this scene with Staples' confrontation with Ramsey in the Ramsey & Company building, as well as the exterior shot that follows the confrontation, were both taken in broad daylight. See more »

Quotes

Nancy Staples: [Dropping Fred off at work] Now I know what a mother feels when her child goes to school for the first time.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Hard Men, Hard Truths
18 September 2002 | by (Falls Church, Virginia) – See all my reviews

"I didn't hire you to like me!" shouts Walter Ramsey (Everett Sloane) at Fred Staples (Van Heflin) at the climax of Rod Serling's "Patterns." Those seven words pretty much sum up the whole film.

Ramsey knows no one likes him, but he couldn't care less. He'd rather play to win than play nice. He knows that it's time for nice old boy Bill Briggs (Ed Begley) to go and he's found just the man to take his place in Staples, who'd been managing his plant in Ohio. The only problem is that Staples genuinely likes Briggs and detests Ramsey.

You'll hate Walter Ramsey too, but you'll see that he built his company not merely through intimidation but by being an excellent judge of character. He recognizes that Staples, who seems clueless when it comes to office politics, is immensely talented and actually very ambitious. Ramsey sees that the fact Staples will never like him is really an asset. He doesn't want a groveling yes-man, he needs someone who will fight him.

Of course Briggs also fights with Ramsey, but his punches never land. His arguments are easily brushed aside and only serve to make Ramsey even angrier. Briggs refuses to accept that he's washed up, which reflects either his stubborn nature or his lack of professional vision. In any case, it's a fatal flaw and Ramsey mercilessly carves him up.

This is painful to watch and all your sympathy is with Briggs, but from a business perspective you have to accept that Ramsey is right. Gradually, Staples sees this as well and that Ramsey understands him better than he understands himself. At the end, Fred Staples hates Walter Ramsey more than ever but he can't resist his boss' challenge. And Ramsey knows that though the price was high, he finally has the man he wants as his vice president.

"Patterns" offers many solid performances, especially Sloane's and Heflin's. Ed Begley is hardly my image of a corporate executive (he was much more credible as the cop turned crook in "Odds Against Tomorrow"), but he certainly looks the part of a sick man. Watching Beatrice Straight I couldn't help but recall her role in "Network" and wonder if her Nancy Staples would suffer the same fate in the 1970s. Straight had a rare combination of intelligence and beauty, and it's a shame she made so few films.

"Patterns" is quick (about 85 minutes) because it has to be. Were it any longer Ramsey's bullying of Briggs would be unbearable and the film's real point would be lost.

Today we flatter ourselves when we think that characters like Ramsey went out with the Edsel. It's a different world, but it's still a cruel one. Working women are no longer called "girls" and some may have moved into executive suites, but the corporation imperatives are the same as they were in 1956: know your people, know your product, make money, cut your losses.

None of this was lost on Walter Ramsey. We may hate him, but as much as we hate to admit it, we still need him. That's not the way we like it but that's the way it is.


35 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?