In Guy Green's adaptation of John Fowles's acclaimed second novel, Michael Caine plays Nicholas Urfe, an English schoolteacher evading serious romantic commitment with stewardess Anne (Godard muse Anna Karina). As a last resort, Urfe escapes the clutches of his paramour by accepting a professorship on the Greek island of Phraxos, and, upon arrival, promptly discovers that his predecessor committed suicide. Via a clue left behind in the room of the deceased, Urfe soon encounters Conchis (Anthony Quinn), an impresario/psychic/black magician/filmmaker who may have been responsible for the former professor's death, and who twists Urfe's mind and perceptions, while subtly leading the young man down the path to higher consciousness. Urfe also discovers the radiant Lily (Candice Bergen), a Diana-like figure (and possibly a literal goddess incarnation), with whom he becomes instantly smitten - and who just happens to be Conchis's lover.
by Nathan Southern synopsis