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Teheran '43, Spy Ring: Nazi's plot to assassinate the Big Three

French-Soviet thriller film (1980)
By Darius Kadivar

"Teheran 43, Spy Ring" starts in 1980 in Paris as Soviet Agent Andrei (André) Borodin (Igor Kostolevsky), attends an auction of secret documents dating back to 1943, and supervised by Maître Legraine (Curd Jürgens) for his client, Max Richard (Armen Djigarkhanian). The memories of André take the action back to 1943 during the Teheran meetings of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill ...

A high-ranking Nazi officer Scherner (Albert Filozov) , developed a plan to assassinate the three world leaders in order to undermine the Allied forces. He commissions the German agent Max Richard to carry out his plan, but it failed miserably due to the quick action and thinking of Andre. While in Teheran, André meets a French woman, Marie Louni (Natalia Belokhvostikova), living in the city and they had a brief but intense affair.

Nearly four decades later, André is looking for his one time love but this time to protect her knowing that Scherner now head of a dangerous terrorist organization has been liberated in Paris in exchange of hostages of a high-jacked airplane. The ex-Nazi officer wants to eliminate all witness' of the events which took place in Teheran during WWII. Unfortunately André arrives too late and Marie is killed by a truck while attempting to make an important phone call from a cabin. Nazi officer has been captured - but not for long. Freed by terrorists, the officer is hunting down the German agent who failed to carry out the planned assassinations.

Max Richard on the other hand has become a bitter old man who lives at Françoise (Claude Jade), a young French woman, who hides him. He trusts her and shows her all the documents. Max doesn't know, that Françoise actually works for the officer Scherner who having found the documents kills Max.

"Ex-German spy Max (Armen Djigarkhanian) seeking
custody is sheltered by Françoise ( Claude Jade)"

In the meantime, While André keeps on hunting for the Nazi Officer he comes accross a young beautiful woman who strangely looks like Marie. He soon discovers that She is actually the daughter he had with his one time love. As for Maître Legraine (Curd Jürgens) he interrogates Scherner and Françoise on the whereabouts of the famous War documents. Alain Delon plays the role of a French police Inspector Roche who is investigating on assassinations carried out in Paris and gradually discovers the political and historical intentions behind these assassinations ...

"Alain Delon is the French Inspector Roche"
(photo courtesy Alain Delon Diffusion SA)

This film was shot in 1979 and is a French-Russian co-production. It was supposed to be shot in Iran in the late 70's but due to the political upheavals of the time in Iran, the production decided to reconstruct the Tehran of the 1940's in the Soviet Union. The sets are quite authentic and through historical documentaries and reconstruction's the atmosphere of Tehran is recreated quite faithfully.

Tehran '43 was essentially an attempt by the Soviet Film industry of the time to collaborate with western producers and actors to achieve a film that could attract international audiences and which focuses essentially on the love story between André (Igor Kostolevsky) and Marie (Natalia Belokhvostikova) and the romance which develops between there daughter also played by Natalia Belokhvostikova and the French inspector Roche portrayed by Alain Delon.

"Inspector Roche (Alain Delon) in charge of the investigations
and Marie's daughter ( Natalia Belokhvostikova) have a brief romance."

Despite its shortcomings the film succeeds fairly well in recreating a love story with a historical background, but does not achieve the qualities of an efficient thriller and some characters such as the Nazi agent appears as too naive or stereotyped which is a pity because a good thriller needs a balance between the Good and the Bad in which the audience can be able to identify to the characters without necessarily their motivations. Also had the producers managed to have the film shot in Iran in normal circumstances they would certainly have had more time and control of the project in order to film on location offering wider possibilities in the plot. Still to give it justice the film was a good and interesting attempt in setting a story around the Tehran Conference of 1943 ( prior and often confused with the Yalta Conference ) which has never been done in any other movie to this day. It should also be noted that this film was to be German Star Curd Jürgens last screen appearance as Maître Legraine for he died shortly after the films release in 1981.

Maître Legraine (Curd Jürgens) also wants the WWII Documents

The film won the Golden Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1981 but despite an interesting plot and good casting did not do well at the box office.

"French Release Film Poster"

Another attractive aspect of the film is the beautiful music score composed by French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour : " Une Vie D'Amour " which seems to be the only trace of this film which is unavailable on the market..

Below the lyrics to the song which is however available on several CD's of Aznavour :

UNE VIE D'AMOUR ( A Life of Love ) (Lyrics: Charles Aznavour / Musique : Georges Garvarentz)

Une vie d'amour
Que l'on s'était jurée
Et que le temps a désarticulée
Jour apres jour Blesse mes pensées
Tant des mots d'amour
En nos cours étouffés
Dans un sanglot l'espace d'un baiser
Sont restés sourds
À tout, mais n'ont rien changé
Car un au revoir Ne peut être un adieu
Et fou d'espoir
Je m'en remets à Dieu
Pour te revoir
Et te parler encore
Et te jurer encore

Une vie d'amour Remplie de rires clairs Un seul chemin Déchirant nos enfers Allant plus loin Que la nuit La nuit des nuits

Une vie d'amour Que l'on s'était jurée Et que le temps a désarticulée Jour apres jour Blesse mes pensées Tant des mots d'amour Que nos cours ont criés De mots tremblés, de larmes soulignées Dernier recours De joies désaharmonisées

Des aubes en fleurs Aux crépuscules gris Tout va, tout meurt Mais la flamme survit Dans la chaleur D'un immortel été D'un éternel été

Une vie d'amour Une vie pour s'aimer Aveuglément Jusqu'au souffle dernier Bon an mal an Mon amour T'aimer encore

Et toujours ...

Authors notes:

"Teheran 43, Spy Ring" ( French Title: "Teheran 43. Nid d'espions" / Russian title: "TEGERAN-43" / Australian title on video : The Eliminator, Franco-Soviet film directed by Aleksandre Alov starring Alain Delon (Inspector Roche) , Claude Jade (Françoise) , Curd Jürgens( Maître Legraine) , Natalia Belokhvostikova (Marie / Marie's daughter) , Igor Kostolevsky ( André Borodin), Armen Djigarkhanina (Max Richard), Georges Géret (Dennis Pew)

Alain Delon's Official Website:

CD "Mes Amours" of Charles Aznavour contains the song "Une Vie d'Amour" N°21) and is available at

About the author:
Darius Kadivar was born to an Iranian father and French mother,and lives and works currently in France as a multimedia documentalist. Interested in movies and particularily historic Epics made by Hollywood's Golden Age in the 50's and 60's. He has contributed a number of articles on movies for various on-line magazines.

... Payvand News - 2/4/03 ... --

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