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Rosa Klebb

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Colonel Rosa Klebb is a fictional character and the antagonist from the James Bond film and novel From Russia with Love. She was played by Lotte Lenya in the film version. Her name punningly derives from the popular Soviet phrase for women's rights, khleb i rozy (Cyrillic: хлеб и розы), which in turn was a direct Russian translation of the internationally used Labor slogan bread and roses.[1]

Novel biographyEdit

Colonel Klebb is a high ranking member of the feared Russian counter-intelligence agency SMERSH, where she serves as the supervisor of Department II (operations and executions). She has a reputation for overseeing the interrogations of enemy agents in which, after exacting various methods of torture on the target, she speaks to them in a warm and motherly tone in an unusual and apparently effective method of extracting necessary information. Klebb is assigned to spearhead an operation to get revenge on James Bond for his involvement in the deaths of two SMERSH operatives, Le Chiffre and Mr. Big. Teaming with Tov Kronsteen and Red Grant, Klebb sets a trap for Bond, enlisting a cipher clerk, Tatiana Romanova, to pretend to defect, claiming to fall in love with Bond. When Bond takes the bait, Grant will kill him. This plan backfires, however, when Tatiana really does fall in love with Bond. After Grant is killed, Klebb must attend to Bond herself.

She tracks him and Tatiana to Paris and he encounters her in a hotel room, dressed as a wealthy widow. After failing to kill him with a gun hidden in a telephone, she successfully poisons him by means of fugu venom tipped dart hidden in her shoe; she is then captured by Bond's friend Rene Mathis, of the Deuxième Bureau. The novel ends when Bond collapses to the floor; Fleming had intended to end the series at that point with Bond's death. In the next novel, Doctor No, M reveals that Bond survived due to Mathis' timely intervention, and that Klebb had subsequently died.

Film biographyEdit

File:Rosa Klebb's deadly weapon.jpg

Klebb is a former SMERSH agent who has defected to become a member of SPECTRE (Blofeld refers to her as "No. 3"). She uses Kronsteen's plans to obtain the Lektor device and kill Bond. She hires Tatiania Romanova to help Bond steal the Lektor, and then sends Red Grant to kill Bond and recover it. When Red Grant dies at the hand of Bond, Blofeld wants to know who is behind the failure. Then, thanks to Morzeny, Kronsteen dies and Klebb makes one last attempt to get Bond and the Lektor. Posing as a maid, she attempts to take the Lektor; when she is caught she points a gun at Bond. Tatiana Romanova then distracts her, causing her to drop the gun, and Bond and Klebb fight. As in the novel, Klebb attempts to kick Bond with the poison tipped shoe, but Bond blocks the attack with a chair. Tatiana then picks up Bond's gun and, with some hesitation trying not to hit Bond, kills her.


It is strongly implied in the film, and explicitly stated in the novel, that Klebb is a lesbian. Her hard, almost masculine appearance, coupled with several instances when she touches Tatiana and comments on her beauty or her reaction when Morzeny touches her, give a 1963-era stereotype for this aspect of the character. Klebb's lesbianism was toned down in the movie, probably to avoid a restricted rating.


Rosa Klebb was one of two inspirations (the other being Irma Bunt) for the character of Frau Farbissina, of the Austin Powers series of films who is a lesbian/bisexual.

Klebb's bobcut and cold character also inspired the character of Colonel-Doctor Irina Spalko in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

In the Batman film The Dark Knight, the Joker uses a weapon similar to Rosa Klebb's shoe knife to attack Batman.

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  1. Brendan Plant. "Top 10 Bond villains", The Times, 2008-04-01. Retrieved on 2008-04-03. 
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