The Magus is a 1968 British mystery film directed by Guy Green. The screenplay was written by John Fowles, based on his 1965 novel of the same name. It starred Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn, Candice Bergen and Anna Karina.
Nicholas Urfe is a young Englishman, who has taken a teaching position on the Greek island of Phraxos, following the previous instructor’s suicide. For Nicholas, it is a chance to sample different surroundings and an opportunity to escape from a relationship with his emotionally unstable lover Anne.
At first, Nicholas’ life on Phraxos is uneventful but peaceful. However, he soon becomes involved with a reclusive man named Maurice Conchis, who owns an estate on the opposite side of the island, and has a beautiful young woman named Lily as his companion. On being introduced to the couple, Nicholas’ life begins to unravel, and he tries to find out who the mysterious Conchis really is.
Is he a psychiatrist? A film producer? A Nazi sympathiser? Or a magician who controls the lives and destinies of those around him? Nicholas quickly begins to lose his grip on reality, sinking deeper into Conchis’s game.
During visits to Conchis’s estate, Nicholas has a series of experiences which gradually become more unexpected and bizarre. Many are related to (or are re-enactments of) past events from Conchis’s life. Ultimately, these events begin happening off the estate as well at unexpected times and places, raising questions as to how much power and control Conchis can actually exercise over others’ lives.
The story climaxes with a “trial” directed by Conchis, with Nicholas (and many others) participating.