The Magus


1h 56m 1968

Brief Synopsis

An English teacher arrives on a sleepy Greek island to take up a vacant teaching post. The last man to hold the post committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. Slowly but surely, he is drawn into a bizarre game engineered by a reclusive local magician. The deeper into the game he is drawn, the more he senses danger... yet cannot seem to untangle himself from the fascinating and compelling influence that the game is having on his mind.

Film Details

Also Known As
The god game
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 10 Dec 1968
Production Company
Blazer Films
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United Kingdom
Location
Spain
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Magus by John Fowles (Boston, 1965).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Nicholas Urfe leaves London to accept a teaching position at a boys' school on the Greek island of Phraxos. He recalls breaking with his mistress, Anne, a stewardess, after which he discarded her talisman, a crystal paperweight in which a flower is embedded. Upon arrival he is greeted by a fellow faculty member, who shows him to his room and informs him that his predecessor committed suicide. In the desk he finds a sheet of paper on which is inscribed the phrase "waiting room." He later finds a villa, the gate of which is similarly emblazoned. Its mysterious owner, 70-year-old Maurice Conchis, invites him to visit the next weekend. In the intervening time, Nicholas learns that the estate belongs to a Dr. Lambros and is shown the tombstone of a man named Conchis who died in 1944. While a guest of Conchis, Nicholas stakes his life on a throw of dice but refuses to pay, thereby winning, according to Conchis' arcane logic. The host then relates the tragic story of his youthful romance with Lily, who, disappointed by Conchis' refusal to enlist at the start of World War I, died shortly thereafter. Nicholas, therefore, is puzzled to see her, apparently alive and impossibly young. By way of explanation, Conchis asserts that he is the psychiatrist, Dr. Lambros, and Lily, his patient. Lily, however, insists that she is an actress, Conchis a filmmaker, and Nicholas an ignorant participant. After an idyllic weekend with Anne in Athens, Nicholas returns to Phraxos, where he receives news of the stewardess' suicide. He is then drawn into a drama representing Conchis' dilemma during World War II, when, as mayor of his village, he was given the choice of beating three partisans to death or sacrificing 80 hostages. Thereafter, Nicholas finds himself on trial, accused by Conchis of egotism. After seeing Lily in a pornographic film, Nicholas is ordered to whip her but cannot bring himself to mete out punishment. Awakening, he is told by Conchis that he has attempted suicide, and that the game is over. Rushing to the villa, Nicholas finds it abandoned, save for the archaic statue of a goddess. Beside the sculpture is Anne's talisman; in the distance, Nicholas espies Anne herself.

Film Details

Also Known As
The god game
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 10 Dec 1968
Production Company
Blazer Films
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United Kingdom
Location
Spain
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Magus by John Fowles (Boston, 1965).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Guy Green (1913-2005)


Guy Green, an Oscar®-winning cinematographer who did his best work for David Lean in the '40s (Great Expectations, Oliver Twist) and who later developed into a notable film director (A Patch of Blue) died on September 15 in his Beverly Hills home of kidney failure. He was 91.

He was born on November 5, 1913 in Somerset, England. Long fascinated by cinema, he became a film projectionist while still in his teens, and was a clapper boy by age 20. He bacame a camera operator during World War II in such fine war dramas as One of Our Aircraft Is Missing; In Which We Serve (both 1942) and This Happy Breed (1944). His big break came as a director of photography came for Carol Reed's The Way Ahead (1944). He was eventually chosen by David Lean to photograph Great Expectations (1946), and his moody, corrosive look at Dickensian London deservedly earned an Academy Award. His work as a cinematographer for the next few years were justly celebrated. Film after film: Blanche Fury (1947), Oliver Twist (1948), The Passionate Friends (1949), Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), The Beggar's Opera (1953), I Am a Camera (1955), all highlighted his gift for cloud-soaked period pieces with sweeping vistas of broad landscapes.

He made his directorial debut in a modest crime drama, River Beat (1954). Some minor titles followed: Portrait of Alison (1955); House of Secrets (1956); the ingenious mystery thriller The Snorkel (1958); the controversial child molestation drama The Mark (1961) starring Stuart Whitman in an Oscar® nominated performance; and his breakthrough picture, The Angry Silence (1960) which starred Richard Attenborough as an outcast who tries to battle labor union corruption. This film earned Green a BAFTA (a British Oscar equivilant) nomination for Best Director and opened the door for him to Hollywood.

Once there, he proceeded to make some pleasant domestic dramas: Light in the Piazza (1962), and Diamond Head (1963), before moving onto what many critics consider his finest work: A Patch of Blue (1965). The film, based on Elizabeth Kata's novel about the interracial love between a blind girl (Elizabeth Hartman) and a black man (Sidney Poitier) despite the protests of her bigoted mother (Shelley Winters), was a critical and commercial hit, and it earned Green a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director.

Strangely, Green would never enjoy a critical success equal to A Patch of Blue again. Despite his talent for sensitive material and handling of actors, Green's next two films: a forgettable Hayley Mills vehicle Pretty Polly (1967); and The Magus simply didn't attract the moviegoers or the film reviewers. He redeemed himself slightly with the mature Anthony Quinn-Ingrid Bergman love story Walk in the Spring Rain (1970); and the historical drama Luther (1973), before he stooped to lurid dreck with Jacqueline Susan's Once Is Not Enough (1975).

Eventually, Green would find solace directing a series of television movies, the best of which was an adaptation of the Arthur Hailey (of Airport fame) novel Strong Medicine (1986) starring Sam Neill and Annette O’Toole. Green is survived by his wife Josephine.

by Michael T. Toole
Guy Green (1913-2005)

Guy Green (1913-2005)

Guy Green, an Oscar®-winning cinematographer who did his best work for David Lean in the '40s (Great Expectations, Oliver Twist) and who later developed into a notable film director (A Patch of Blue) died on September 15 in his Beverly Hills home of kidney failure. He was 91. He was born on November 5, 1913 in Somerset, England. Long fascinated by cinema, he became a film projectionist while still in his teens, and was a clapper boy by age 20. He bacame a camera operator during World War II in such fine war dramas as One of Our Aircraft Is Missing; In Which We Serve (both 1942) and This Happy Breed (1944). His big break came as a director of photography came for Carol Reed's The Way Ahead (1944). He was eventually chosen by David Lean to photograph Great Expectations (1946), and his moody, corrosive look at Dickensian London deservedly earned an Academy Award. His work as a cinematographer for the next few years were justly celebrated. Film after film: Blanche Fury (1947), Oliver Twist (1948), The Passionate Friends (1949), Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), The Beggar's Opera (1953), I Am a Camera (1955), all highlighted his gift for cloud-soaked period pieces with sweeping vistas of broad landscapes. He made his directorial debut in a modest crime drama, River Beat (1954). Some minor titles followed: Portrait of Alison (1955); House of Secrets (1956); the ingenious mystery thriller The Snorkel (1958); the controversial child molestation drama The Mark (1961) starring Stuart Whitman in an Oscar® nominated performance; and his breakthrough picture, The Angry Silence (1960) which starred Richard Attenborough as an outcast who tries to battle labor union corruption. This film earned Green a BAFTA (a British Oscar equivilant) nomination for Best Director and opened the door for him to Hollywood. Once there, he proceeded to make some pleasant domestic dramas: Light in the Piazza (1962), and Diamond Head (1963), before moving onto what many critics consider his finest work: A Patch of Blue (1965). The film, based on Elizabeth Kata's novel about the interracial love between a blind girl (Elizabeth Hartman) and a black man (Sidney Poitier) despite the protests of her bigoted mother (Shelley Winters), was a critical and commercial hit, and it earned Green a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director. Strangely, Green would never enjoy a critical success equal to A Patch of Blue again. Despite his talent for sensitive material and handling of actors, Green's next two films: a forgettable Hayley Mills vehicle Pretty Polly (1967); and The Magus simply didn't attract the moviegoers or the film reviewers. He redeemed himself slightly with the mature Anthony Quinn-Ingrid Bergman love story Walk in the Spring Rain (1970); and the historical drama Luther (1973), before he stooped to lurid dreck with Jacqueline Susan's Once Is Not Enough (1975). Eventually, Green would find solace directing a series of television movies, the best of which was an adaptation of the Arthur Hailey (of Airport fame) novel Strong Medicine (1986) starring Sam Neill and Annette O’Toole. Green is survived by his wife Josephine. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Spain. Opened in London in November 1969. Working Title: The God Game.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter December 10, 1968

Released in United States Winter December 10, 1968