Weekend Movie Matinee: Patterns (1956)

Story & Screenplay: Rod Serling
Running time: 84 minutes


 Patterns (1956)


Most of the scenes are set in the corporate boardroom and surrounding offices of Ramsey & Co., a Manhattan industrial empire headed by the ruthless Walter Ramsey. He recruits youthful industrial engineer Fred Staples, whose performance at a company Ramsey has recently acquired has impressed the boss. Ramsey is grooming Staples to replace the aging Bill Briggs as the second in command at the company.

Briggs has been with the firm for decades, having worked for and admired the company's founder, Ramsey's father. His concern for the employees clashes repeatedly with Ramsey's ruthless methods. Ramsey will not fire Briggs outright, but he does everything in his power to sabotage and humiliate his subordinate into resigning. The old man stubbornly refuses to give in. Staples has mixed feelings about the messy situation, ambition conflicting with sympathy for Briggs.

The stress gets to Briggs, who collapses after a confrontation with Ramsey and later dies. This causes a heated showdown between Ramsey and Staples, in which Staples announces he is quitting. In the end, Ramsey persuades him to stay, telling him that he is the only one who can function at Briggs's level, and that he would not be able to reach his full potential anywhere else. Staples accepts a promotion and double his salary and stock options, but warns Ramsey that he will actively work to replace Ramsey in the company. Staples also tells Ramsey of Briggs' "one little dream" of someday walking in and breaking Ramsey's jaw. He now reserves that dream for himself. Ramsey says he'll have it written into the contract agreement and will attach a special rider giving him the same privilege. Ramsey notes that Briggs' son will be "provided for" and Staples asks if that will let him sleep better tonight. Ramsey smiles and says, "It begins." Most of the scenes are set in the corporate boardroom and surrounding offices of Ramsey & Co., a Manhattan industrial empire headed by the ruthless Walter Ramsey. He recruits youthful industrial engineer Fred Staples, whose performance at a company Ramsey has recently acquired has impressed the boss. Ramsey is grooming Staples to replace the aging Bill Briggs as the second in command at the company.