When you think of most James Bond baddies, you think of hulking giants ala Jaws or Asian henchmen with a penchant for bowler hats that can decapitate you. So imagine this 5 foot woman named Rosa Klebb who actually comes pretty close to taking out Bond in the entertaining film From Russia With Love. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little but Lotte Lenya who potrayed the sadistic Klebb makes a memorable Bond villian and she is definitely one woman you don't want to mess with. After her opening scene with Spectre head Number One, where she thought she was about to be executed for her past failures, Klebb is hired for a sinister plot to kill James Bond 007 once and for all. She recruits the top agent Red Grant (menacingly played by Robert Shaw) as the muscle and the lovely Tatiana Romanova (played by Daniela Bianchi) to woo Bond. With all this coming at 007, you think he wouldn't have a chance. But he is Bond (played for the second time by Sean Connery) and he will find a way to defeat the bad guys.
Really, Mr. Bond...you have no chance with me at all
Anyway Rosa Klebb who despite her small frame is adept in hand to hand combat and her subtle manipulation of Tatiana borders on lesbanism. She convinces our young Tatiana that Bond is the enemy and she must do her assignment for the good of her country. Klebb scenes with Tatiana are a little disturbing as you can see her coming on to the young and naive girl. Klebb may be tender with Tatiana but she is strict with Grant as in one scene where she wants to see how tough he is, she punches him in the gut...with BRASS KNUCKLES! Ouch!
I do a little house cleaning on the side as well.
After Bond escapes his encounter with Grant, it falls to Klebb to take on our debonair agent. Klebb has a little blade that protrudes from the tip of her shoe with which she tries to take out Bond. Her almost spastic and uncontrollable lunges at Bond border on hysterical and deadly. Klebb goes down as one of the best Bond villians (male or female) ever. And Lenya was perfect. You would be surprised to know that despite a short film career of less than 10 films, including her Academy nominated performance as a Supporting actress in 1961's The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone with Vivien Leigh, Lenya was a successful and classically trained singer and dancer. But of course most film fans know her as Klebb. It is a truly wicked performance and one woman to definitely be wary of. Check out the scene below as she tells Tatiana her assignment in her own special way.
ROSA KLEBB Ratings:
SCHEMINGS - 5
MANIPULATIVE - 4
SMARTNESS - 4
TRUSTWORTHY - 1
TOUGHNESS - 3
Here are some choice quotes from Rosa Klebb herself:
Training is useful, but there is no substitute for experience.
Corporal, I have chosen you for an important assignment. It's purpose is to give false information to the enemy. If you complete it successfully, you will be promoted.