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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Magus - the movie

Apparently I was wrong. There was a '68 movie released and Antony Quinn did play Conchis. I swear I had not read that far down the wikipedia posting on the book - I was so right. Quinn is ideal for the role. I will definitely watch the movie as the entire cast seems up for the job. Despite bad criticism I shall watch it - shame if it was not a good one as the book is ideal base for a movie

here is the wikipedia note:

A film version was released in 1968, directed by Guy Green, and written by Fowles. It starred Michael Caine as Nicholas Urfe, Anthony Quinn as Maurice Conchis, Anna Karina as Alison, Candice Bergen as Lily/Julie, and Julian Glover as Anton, and was filmed in the island of Majorca. The adaptation, however, was a failure. Michael Caine himself has said that it was the worst film he had been involved in, because no one knew what it was all about. Woody Allen said "If I had to live my life again, I'd do everything the same, except that I wouldn't see The Magus."[1] The Magus was commercially released on DVD in the US on October 17, 2006 .

The Magus


Regarding my Naxonian holidays I will talk in several following postings. One good thing that came out of it is that I had lots of time on the beach sun..baking and reading. The first book I finished was The Magus by John Fowles. It was highly recommended from a US cisco colleague. It is the story of an Oxford graduate who wants to get away from the UK and choses to go to a deserted Greek island. Story is taking place a bit after the WWII.
There he is involved in the psychological games of a local rich man that keeps himself isolated on his villa where strange things happen.
At the end, our hero undergoes a really crash course in psychoanalysis and his ... torturer, the Greek mysterious man saves him about 20 years on the couch, something he would not have done. And he turns from being an egocentric arrogant intellectual to a person that is now trying to deeply understand others. It was not easy and in the process he almost lost his sanity. In fact, the Magus was a bestseller, partly because it tapped successfully into - and even arguably helped to promote - the 1960s popular interest in psychoanalysis and mystical philosophy. It has been recently featured on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels, #93 and #71 on the Reader's and Critics' lists, respectively.
As a read, it is definitely written skillfully and there are several twists in the story so that the reader stops guessing what is going to happen next. This is the kind of books that should be turned into a movie as the heroes and heroines have roles that require extremely good acting skills. I would see Conchis - the Greek rich man - played by Antony Quinn, he would be ideal of that role had it being filmed while he was still playing. The description of Phraxos, the island where the plot is taking place (in real life it is Spetses) is fantastic. Most importantly how the author describes Greece, it is something I have never read in another book before. Not so much the country, but its people and the spirit of the nation seen in the eyes of a foreigner who redefines himself in the simplicity, austerity, mysticism, beauty, divinity that Greece makes him discover.
It is a great companion for the chaise longue

Notes:
1. More detailed description of the story you can find on wikipedia. John Fowels is an acclaimed author who among others wrote The Collector & The French Lieutenant's Woman
2. The cover picture is the one of the first edition. Current editions have a different cover

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