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Tatiana Romanova
Character from the James Bond franchise
Affiliation KGB (novel)
Soviet Army Intelligence (film)
Portrayed by Daniela Bianchi

Tatiana Romanova is a fictional character in the James Bond novel, film, and video game From Russia with Love. She is played by Daniela Bianchi in the movie. According to William F. Nolan, Fleming based Tatiana Romanova on Christine Granville.[1]

Background

A corporal in Soviet Army Intelligence, Tatiana Romanova is assigned to work in the Soviet Embassy in Istanbul as a cypher clerk. She originally intended to be a ballerina, but she had to drop out because she was just one inch too tall to qualify. She has a number of friends and is very popular, and she has had three lovers.

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From Russia With Love

She likes the look of Bond, and when she sees him face-to-face she comments, "You're even nicer than your photograph", to which 007 replies "You're the most beautiful girl I have ever seen."

Her commanding officer is Rosa Klebb — in the screenplay adaptation, she is secretly an agent for SPECTRE — who manipulates her into believing that she is on an important mission for her country, when she is in fact merely a pawn in the terrorist organization's latest bid to humiliate and scandalize the British Secret service. At the end of the film, when Klebb appears dressed as a cleaning lady who tries to steal the LEKTOR code machine, Romanova is torn between her orders to shoot Bond and her feelings for him; in the end, she turns on her former superior, ultimately saving the day.

In the novel, Rosa Klebb is actually a member of the Soviet government, commander in chief of the Otydell II section of the SMERSH. Thus, Romanova works for the Soviets who assign her the mission of seducing Bond and having him take her to England to deliver the LEKTOR as well as misinform the British about some issues. She was then supposed to be rescued by Russian agents.

In both instances, Romanova is a very dedicated woman, loyal to her country and eager to participate in what she believes is an important mission. She does, however, hesitate when she is required to meet Colonel Klebb, a mean and wicked woman who loves to play with the psyches of her prisoners by torturing them and then, when lost in pain, caressing them in a motherly way. Romanov fears Klebb and suffers when she reports to her for the first time, where she is interrogated by Klebb. After being told that her life depends on accepting the mission, she receives her briefing, a "true labor of love", according to Klebb. In the novel, these events are followed by a bizarre scene where Klebb asks Romanova to come close to her, after having put on a pink negligee, to which Romanova responds by simply storming out of Klebb's chambers in a desperate run.

Once in Istanbul, she contacts Darko Kerim Bey (Ali Kerim Bey in the film) and tells him her plans: she would willingly defect from the Soviet Union and take with her the precious LEKTOR only if James Bond assisted the operation. She claimed that she had fallen in love with the man from a picture she had seen in a secret file and wanted to live with him.

Both M and Bond believe this to be a trap, but the prize was high enough to go for it. They react just as the main brain behind the plot, chess champion Kronsteen, predicted. Bond then flies to Istanbul and contacts Kerim. While they wait for the girl to show up, they spy on the Soviet headquarters and become involved in a racial dispute between a Gypsy tribe commanded by Vavra, and a gang of Bulgarian thieves led by Krilencu, an old enemy of Kerim. After the riot at the camp, that is in fact motivated by the Cold War potencies in the city, Bond returns to his hotel room and finds Romanova walking naked across the room and getting into his bed, wearing only a black velvet choker and black stockings. They make love but are secretly filmed by Klebb's minions and herself via a one-way mirror. This tape is explicitly planned to be used to embarrass MI6 as desired by the Soviet council seen in the first third of the book.

After meeting her again to verify the authenticity of her information, they blow up the Soviet embassy in Istanbul to cover their escape. With the help of Kerim, they board the Orient Express and depart for Trieste and the Italian frontier. As a part of Kronsteen's strategy, the SMERSH/SPECTRE assassin Donovan 'Red' Grant kills Kerim. Bond contacts Grant, who is pretending to be an agent named Nash. After sedating Romanova, Nash's identity is revealed to Bond, who then fights Grant in their train room. Prior to the fight, Grant explains that his role involves, following Bond's death, murdering the sleeping Romanova with Bond's gun and then throwing her body from the train. Bond finally defeats the murderer and manages to take Romanova to Venice. It is there they meet Klebb again who, in an attempt to retrieve the LEKTOR and kill Bond, disguises herself as a maid and tries to eliminate the agent with a dagger-tipped shoe poisoned with blowfish venom. In the movie, Romanova shoots Klebb, thus saving Bond. In the novel, however, Bond defeats the woman, but at the price of being poisoned. He is attended by his French Intelligence friend Rene Mathis and regains full health until the following book, Dr. No. It is unclear as to what ultimately becomes of Tatiana in the novel as in her last appearance, she is still heavily effected by the sedatives; when Bond confronts Klebb, she is sleeping in the city's British Embassy. It is presumed that she has been arrested and/or released by the British, something that was to be part of the plan according to Klebb.

References

  1. ^ FILMFAX Magazine Oct 2003-Jan 2004

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