Study Guide

From Russia With Love Kronsteen / Number Five (Vladek Sheybal)

Kronsteen / Number Five (Vladek Sheybal)

Checkmate

We're not sure how the agents of SPECTRE get their numbers. Random draw? Their IQ? Rock Paper Scissors tournament? We're even less sure why Number Five is the one who gets to make the master plan. Were numbers two, three, and four all on vacation?

KRONSTEEN: […] According to your instructions, I have planned for SPECTRE to steal from the Russians their new Lektor decoding machine. For this we need the services of a female member of the Russian cryptograph section in Turkey and, uh, the help of the British Secret Service. Naturally, neither the Russians nor the British will be aware that they are now working for us.

Kronsteen, aka Number Five, is a cocky chess player who occasionally talks about himself in the third person. When Number One asks him if he's sure the plan is foolproof, he says,

KRONSTEEN: I have anticipated every possible variation of countermove.

Wow. Not only is he wrong, but Number One, the shadowy grandmaster of SPECTRE, goes with it. We're not sure who's more naïve: Kronsteen for thinking he has it all figured out or Number One for trusting him.

NUMBER ONE: But what makes you think that 'M,' the head of British intelligence, will oblige you by falling in with your plan?

KRONSTEEN: For the simple reason that it is so obviously a trap. My reading of the British mentality is that they always treat a trap as a challenge. And in any case, they couldn't possibly pass up even the slightest chance of getting their hands on a Lektor decoder. They have wanted one for years.

Well, he was right about that.

The icing on the cake for Number One and for Kronsteen is that they think they'll get to kill James Bond during this operation. They want revenge for the death of Dr. No.

Number Five shows his true colors when his plan fails. He passes the buck, blaming it on Klebb for picking Grant.

NUMBER ONE: What do you have to say, Number Five?

KRONSTEEN: He was Klebb's choice. Her people failed.

KLEBB: (to Kronsteen) It was your plan! They followed it implicitly.

KRONSTEEN: Impossible. It was perfect.

KLEBB: Except for one thing. They were dealing with Bond!

KRONSTEEN: Who is Bond... compared to Kronsteen?

In this case, Number One doesn't stand with Kronsteen and has him killed. Kronsteen's stabbed and poisoned to die a slow and painful death. Harsh, but it's the SPECTRE way. If he were as good at life as he is at chess, he would have seen that move coming.

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