(aka 'The God Game')
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.
The Magus is one of the weirdest films of the late 60's. A star studded cast and brimming with exquisite cinematography only enhance its Losey-reminiscent appeal. It is from the John Fowles' novel (from a screenplay by the author himself) and it is certainly convoluted. It was panned by the critics - even Woody Allen stated that if he had to live his life over again he would do everything the same... except he wouldn't go to see The Magus. If the lack of comprehension of the film was solely due to ineptness then I would agree - but I really got the feeling that something unique was being attempted. Its success or failure is totally up to the individual viewer, but regardless it follows an unusual structural path with an diverse flow. I was fascinated at times, but those anticipating the standard fare will no doubt be left scratching their head in disquieted belief - their expectations tossed down a well. Those prepared for an unusual and complex cinema experience filled with fanatical twists and turns might get something out of it. Comparing it to the novel will surely be a mistake, as beside it the film version is a resolute failure.
Theatrical Release: December 10th, 1968
DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.77 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUBs: Spanish mono, French mono|
|Subtitles||English, Spanish, None|
John Fowles: The Literary Magus (22:44)
A beautiful 2.35:1 progressive transfer that I could have taken screen captures of all day. Colors are bright and defined and the overall image has some strong detail. The mono audio is a little weak, sounding echoy at times - generally though it is consistent and certainly clear enough to make out all the dialogue. I didn't listen to the stereo track, but suspect it is superior. There are optional subtitles in English or Spanish.
There is a 20 minute featurette, with many people discussing Fowles and the novel; The Magus. It recounts how highly revered the author still is but nothing of the film is mentioned.
I can't really recommend the film as most will be infuriated with it, but the DVD is certainly up to scratch - a brilliant 16X9 image, an interesting featurette and at a fairly reasonable price.