Review of Patterns (1956)

Moving picture, 83 minutes

Seen in 2020.

Small-town engineer gets promoted to ruthless upper management.

Having started as an earlier (tele)play, the film is not scored, which contributes greatly to the intense confrontations and the sense of social realism. The upper-class setting has its usual Hollywood glamour, but there’s an edge to it.

The subject matter is dated mainly in the small detail that Briggs and Staples are concerned with the wellbeing of a domestic US workforce, never represented on screen. It’s hard to imagine that subject coming up in quite this way at Fortune 500 board meetings. Sixty years later, in his inaugural speech, Donald Trump decried US offshoring and accidentally gave a more accurate account than this movie: “One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.” Briggs also objects to contemporary “shyster” finance as a corruption of the real economy, a topic that has only gotten more relevant.

References here: “Court Martial” (1967).

moving picture fiction