Movie Diary 7/5/2021

Patterns (Fielder Cook, 1955). Had never seen the live Kraft Television Theatre version of Rod Serling’s landmark drama. You can see why it made such a strong impression – the cruelty of the corporate world is strongly drawn, of course, but there’s also a grown-up tartness to the dialogue, and a rather ambiguous ending that lingers long after a more conventional conclusion might’ve done. The attention paid to characters with limited screen time – Elizabeth Wilson’s concerned secretary, for instance – is also very sharp. Everett Sloane and Ed Begley carried over their roles to the big-screen version a year later, but Richard Kiley (replaced for the film by Van Heflin) is also very good; his tall, athletic presence just the right counterpoint to the fogies in the boardroom. The hour-long running time feels appropriate, too, a pressured environment to suit the subject. I always liked Fielder Cook’s TV work, and his rhythm here is spot-on. Serling had been writing for TV for five years, but this made him famous overnight.

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