Alias John Preston (1955)

The small town of Deanbridge has a new resident, John Preston (Christopher Lee). A wealthy man, Preston immediately finds a prominent place in the town, investing his money in local businesses and gaining favor through his involvement in the community.

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(Image via FilmAffinity)

When John meets local gal Sally (Betta St. John), he quickly wins her affection away from childhood sweetheart Bob (Peter Grant).

But when John begins having strange dreams about a woman from his past, trouble brews.

Alias John Preston was directed by David MacDonald and written by Paul Tabori.

Early on, I didn’t find Alias John Preston particularly gripping. It was just difficult for me to get into in the beginning. I felt no connection to the characters, no reason to care about them.

Given the premise of a tense love triangle and the somewhat supernatural element of strange dreams, I was expecting a much more engaging script. However, there were some nice scenes of confrontation between Christopher Lee and Peter Grant that began to build my interest. Both actors give good performances and their scenes together are some of the film’s strongest.

In the second half, atmosphere builds, which again improves the picture. As it moves along, Alias John Preston becomes more engrossing. Lee’s performance becomes wonderfully tortured, and his talent carries the film as it shifts from dull drama to psychological character study.

I almost turned off Alias John Preston when the beginning didn’t grab me, but I’m glad I stuck with it, for Lee’s incredibly memorable performance at the very least! I won’t be adding it to my favorites list since the viewing experience was so uneven for me, but I’d say it’s worth a one-time watch.

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