Teheran 43 (Assassination Attempt, 1980)

Pic above: Igor Kostolevsky, Alain Delon, Albert Filozov and Natalia Belokhvostikova

Russian DVD edition

Text written 2021-01-27

International cloak and dagger thriller and Mission Impossible: Teheran

A very entertaining and surprisingly well made Cloak and Dagger international action thriller with a mix of Russian and Euro actors, and
co-directed by Russian veteran duo Alexander Alov (1923-1983) and Vladimir Naumov (1927 - still alive when writing this, 93 years old).
A rare Soviet Union co-production with France and Switzerland and the film became a huge success in Soviet with a lot of viewers, but
the film flopped in France. Teheran 43 won The Golden Prize at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival in 1982 (today the prize is
called the Golden George, not after George Constanza in Seinfeld but after the patron saint of Moscow).
The both director friends received life achievement awards in 1983, so Teheran 43 was a big film in the Soviet Union, but surely somewhat
forgotten and obscure elsewhere and today. I'm a film nerd i guess and i had never heard of it.

The film is based on real events, Hitler and Nazy Germany's assassination attempt of the Big Three, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt, at the
Teheran Conference in 1943, and the film has a delightfully intricate construction and it takes some time before you know what's going on,
and the best of all, the film has some great production values. It looks awesome and shot in it's original 4:3 fullscreen ratio by cinemato-
grapher Valentin Zheleznyakov and with probably most if not all of the supposed Iranian settings filmed in Soviet Union, and in studio.
There are some scenes shot in New York, in Paris, in Moscow and in some atmospherical old Swiss town, and in Paris scenes were maybe
shot Guerilla style (and without location permit ?) as people walking by on a crowded street looks and points at the camera.

Somehow this film felt like Brian De Palma, if he had been a Russian back then, could've made it, it really did.

The film starts in the present, in 1980, with the Paris lawyer Legraine (austrian Curd "The Spy who Loved Me" Jürgens) holding a press
conference (speaking in french with russian narration with english subs, but after this everyone speaks in russian with english subtitles).
He's talking about an old mystery that now can be solved, about the planned murder of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt in Teheran 1943,
and about a man under alias "Erich Bechler" that has been offered 3 million dollars for his manuscript where he will reveal everything
about the assassination attempt. Then, this "Erich" turns up in person and he says that the person who handled this attack in 1943 still are
alive, and locked into prison for terrorism.
Chaos enfolds, when another man turns up and shoots at "Erich" ... who draws his gun and answers the fire, and in the excitement shoots
and kills an innocent lying on the floor. WTF ? What is happening ? Who's "Erich" and who were the attacker ? Confusion and a great
and almost Palma-esque start to this movie. (yes, i sound if i am obsessed of De Palma, but he would've given this scene some fireworks).

OK, later i got that this lawyer Legraine was speaking at an auction house (in Paris) and he was going to auction off material belonging to
his client "Erich" or really Max (played very charismatically by Armen Dzhigarkhanyan). Max's material being documents (including one
with the name signature of Adolf Hitler), manuscripts and a film, hitherto unknown, regarding the 1943 assassination attempt.

In 1943 Adolf Hitler wanted to kill the three leaders of the Soviet Union, UK and USA in "Operation Long Jump" and he trusted one of his
SS operatives, in the film a Schoerner (Albert Filozov) to plan the operation, and Schoerner wanted Max to be the one executing it.
But the Soviet Union suspected something was going on and sent agent Andrey (Igor Kostolevsky) to follow Max.
And now follows the first Flashback, with Max going to Switzerland to find a way of entering Iran legally, and where Natalia Belokhvostikova
as a persian/farsi speaking frenchwoman Marie Lunie and Swiss lawyer Simon (Gleh Strizhenov) enters the film as his associates.

Alain Delon plays Paris cop Foche, Claude Jade plays Max french girlfriend Francoise and Natalia B. plays a double role as mother and
daughter, and everyone speaks perfect russian (nice dubbing). International cloak and dagger thriller and Mission Impossible: Teheran, and
i'm sure Brian De Palma would love it.
Everything looks great with production values, the set design looked amazing and also the location shooting somewhere in the Soviet Union
and the studio shots pretending to be Teheran, Iran, and the old Soviet Union film industry surely could make films looking good.
And the actors were fine, especially Armen Dzhigarkhanyan as Max ha, ha, i just couldn't take my eyes away from him, very charismatic.
Dzhigarkhanyan was an Armenian-Russian actor (1935-2020) and one of the most known, popular and beloved of them all. A Legend.

Final words: I enjoyed this film immensively. It showed how well russian actors could interact with western european one's, and the russian
sentiment to the proceedings just made it even more enjoyable. And, another great thing about Teheran 43 is - there are NO Propaganda
anywhere, not even a hint of it. Just made for fun. If made in Hollywood there would probably be lots of political tiresome garbage.

The film is presented in it's original 4:3 fullscreen ratio
with russian audio and english subtitles, in the 145 minutes version. No extras and
region ALL. The picture quality and the english subtitles were great
This looks like a regular Russian DVD edition, maybe made for the US and Canadian markets ? Hologram sticker marked sleeve.


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