The Magus film--Is it really that bad?

Discussions relating to movie adaptations of John Fowles' novels (The Collector, The Magus, The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Ebony Tower).

The Magus film--Is it really that bad?

Postby Magusbob on Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:03 pm

Just finished watching The Magus for the first time in several years (the DVD was released in 2006). The film is, of course, remembered by many as a dismal failure, and even those who've never seen it may have heard of the famous Woody Allen quote: "If I had my life to live over again, I would want everything exactly the same with the exception of seeing the film version of The Magus." John Fowles himself, despite having written the screenplay, called the film adaptation of his second novel "a disaster all the way down the line."

In spite of all that, I really don't think it's all that bad a film.

The strengths, in my opinion: the beautiful cinematography and Greek island setting; Anthony Quinn as a convincing Conchis; the well-done Nazi war scenes; and some individual dramatic scenes such as the dice game between Nicholas and Conchis.

The weaknesses: miscasting of Michael Caine as Nicholas (stiff as a board), and especially Candice Bergen as Lily/Julie (god awful); the self-conscious sex scenes; the incomprehensible plot twists, particularly late in the film; the absurd attempt at humor in the trial scene; and the ending, which in the context of what precedes it falls flat.

I'd be curious to get the take of others on this...especially those who are younger and perhaps saw the film recently for the first time.
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Re: The Magus film--Is it really that bad?

Postby HunterSam on Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:20 am

I agree with you Bob, I saw this movie for the first time recently too and thought it was better than the reviews would have you believe. The setting is beautiful too.
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Re: The Magus film--Is it really that bad?

Postby joethebrick on Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:51 am

I have not watched that yet, but I want, to be able to discuss it. Has anybody also watched The French Lieutenant's Woman, is it worth watching?
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Re: The Magus film--Is it really that bad?

Postby Adminbob on Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:34 pm

The French Lieutenant's Woman is excellent...without question the best film adaptation of a Fowles novel, and the one of which Fowles himself was most satisfied.
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