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Rating History

The Magus
The Magus (1968)
11 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

This movie is worth seeing as an artifact of its time, but not on its own merits as a film. Michael Caine is too old for the role of Nicholas Urfe, and he gives a flat and disengaged performance. Anthony Quinn fares better as the mysterious Conchis.

The novel is 600+ pages of intrigue and philosophy, and it's not going to translate to the screen without heavy editing. Unfortunately the screenplay chops up the plot to the point of incoherence. Some changes (like Australian Allison becoming French Anne) seem pointless.

The best thing you can say for the direction is that the location is very pretty. The plot twists that are gasp-worthy in the novel are unfortunately baffling to unintentionally funny in the movie. I would love to see a modern remake of the Magus in the hands of David Fincher, or perhaps David Lynch. The Magus deserves better treatment than this film.