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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Patterns  aka "Patterns of Power" [Blu-ray]


(Fielder Cook, 1956)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Jed Harris

Video: Film Detective



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:23:37.846  

Disc Size: 23,700,571,814 bytes

Feature Size: 23,353,362,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.48 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 27th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1780 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1780 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, none



• None





Description: Rod Serling’s tale of ruthless men and ambitious women clawing for control of a billion dollar empire first aired in Jan 1955 on Kraft Television Theater. The hard-hitting teleplay was such a success, earning Serling instant acclaim and the first of his six Emmy awards, that producers Jed Harris and Michael Myerberg helmed a big screen feature with the same director (Fielder Cook) and most of the same cast for United Artists. The result was an acid-etched chronicle of the cutthroat corporate world starring Van Heflin, Everett Sloane, and Ed Begley, with cinematography by Oscar winner Boris Kaufman (On The Waterfront, 12 Angry Men). This is boardroom bloodletting, the American way!



The Film:

Adapted by Rod Twilight Zone Serling from his own TV play, this is a tense and claustrophobic melodrama which demonstrates the price of professional ambition. Heflin is the recently hired company man who is forced, by his boss Sloane, to come into conflict with ageing executive Begley, the man he is supposed to replace. Reminiscent of Executive Suite (though much less sleek and slick), it's a little dated now, but the well-crafted performances of the strong cast (especially Begley as the disintegrating man) work wonders.

Excerpt from TimeOUt located HERE

Anyone who has ever worked for a large firm will have no trouble recognizing the cutthroat corporate politics or high powered personalities on display in Patterns, Rod Serling's insightful drama about big business which is still relevant today. The central character, Fred Staples (Van Heflin), is a talented employee within a large conglomerate who is transferred from his Ohio location to his company's main office in New York City. The reason for his promotion soon becomes clear. He is being groomed by his boss, Walter Ramsey (Everett Sloane), to replace an older employee, William Briggs (Ed Begley), who has fallen out of favor with Ramsey. The situation is complicated by Staples' friendship with Briggs and his own desire for personal success.

Originally, Patterns was a teleplay by Rod Serling (host and narrator of TV's The Twilight Zone) that made its premiere in 1955 on Kraft Television Theatre and immediately received unanimous critical acclaim. While it bore similarities to The Strike, an earlier teleplay by Serling, Patterns hit a nerve with audiences of its era. It was one of the first films to explore the psychology of the modern corporate workplace and to question the ethics and morality of the people who worked there.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

We've reviewed a few Film Detective Blu-ray releases now - The Bat, Beat the Devil, A Bucket of Blood, Hollow Triumph and The Red House. They continue to focus on Public Domain titles, and while not a premium distributor, they seem to be a notch ahead of other PD Blu-ray production companies (ex HD Classics) of the mass of DVD companies dealing solely in the rights-free titles. They have chosen Patterns - an excellent 50's drama with Van Heflin - to bring to 1080P.  For about 95% of the presentation contrast has some decent layering and visuals are fairly tight in the HD transfer. Depth is apparent. The bare-bones package is transferred to a single-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. Good job! Unfortunately, they are at the mercy of their source and in the final scene the quality drops - it gets dark, overly grainy and hazy (see last capture.) I wasn't overly bothered but it is noticeable - there are light speckles throughout but I, thankfully, see no evidence of manipulation, DNR or noise. Film Detective don't have the budget to restore a project at the film-level and thank goodness they don't try to in the digital domain. That would be much worse. I'm not bothered by real damage or a drop in print density - masking it with over-digitization can be obvious and distasteful. Real film can display imperfections sometimes. This Blu-ray provides a reasonable presentation and I was pleased.  





















Final Scene - the quality degrades




Audio :

More good news - Film Detective use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1780 kbps in 24-bit! The film doesn't have any aggressive effects and there is some background music but I see no score credited. Dialogue is in-sync and the audio levels consistent - aside from the final scene where the audio worsens along with the video. There are optional English subtitles (in a white font - see sample) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

Frugal with no extras and only one menu screen. That's okay - it is reflected in the reasonable price.



Patterns is an exceptional film - and I'll credit Van Heflin - who never seemed to give a poor performance. Ed Begley and Everett Sloane are likewise excellent in their characterizations. Beatrice Straight plays Heflin's wife as an uncomfortably aggressive link to his success. Yes, that is Lauren Bacall as an uncredited lobby lady near the elevators! This was a great title to release in HD. The Film Detective Blu-ray provides a fine a/v transfer from an imperfect source. I think there is significant value here for those who appreciate the performers, the era, and the genre - a pioneering negative look at the moral conflicts of corporate America. This is highly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

September 3rd, 2016



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