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Rosa Klebb - Lotte Lenya

Described in Ian Fleming's novels as a repulsive, 'toad-like' woman, SMERSH Colonel Rosa Klebb is one of the cinema's greatest villainesses. Unbeknown to her superiors, Klebb is SPECTRE agent number 3, reporting directly to Ernst Stavro Blofeld and entrusted to carry out the theft of the Lektor and the execution of 007. Klebb is humourless and quite masculine in behaviour and appearance. On the surface she appears to be asexual, but her brief and intimidating flirtations with Tatiana hint at lesbianism (whereas in Fleming's novel this is blatantly obvious). At the climax of the film, Klebb tries personally to murder 007 with the now famous shoe containing a poison-tipped knife but falls victim to Tatiana's gun.

The casting of Lotte Lenya as Klebb is truly inspirational. In reality, a gentle, cultured woman who gained in popularity by teaming up with her husband composer Kurt Weil for memorable stage productions, Lenya is absolutely riveting as Klebb. The actress always found it amusing that, despite her significant accomplishments dating back to the 1930s, she was best remembered for the mad woman of SPECTRE who, in the words of Bond, 'had her kicks'.

Other villains in From Russia With Love


Ernst Stavro Blofeld