Count Lippe is a fictional criminal and enforcer who is working for the criminal organisation SPECTRE and the tertiary antagonist of the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball. He is played by the late actor Guy Doleman. The character is based on the villain of the same name from Ian Fleming's 1961 novel.
A nobleman of undetermined nationality, Count Lippe is first encountered by James Bond at the Shrublands health spa. He is ultimately revealed to be an agent of SPECTRE charged with hiring Angelo Palazzi to impersonate NATO pilot François Derval. The spa itself is conveniently close to the RAF airbase from which SPECTRE plans to hijack a Vulcan bomber and its atomic payload.
On his first meeting with Lippe, Bond notices a criminal tattoo (a red square with a spike through it - a Tong symbol) on the man's wrist. Suspicious, he searches Lippe's room, but is seen leaving by Palazzi who is bandaged after plastic surgery. Patricia Fearing there would be a discovery, Lippe tries to murder Bond with a spinal traction machine, but is foiled by Fearing. As in the novel, Bond retaliates against Lippe by trapping him in a steam bath and turning up the heat.
- "Nice to have met you, Mr. Bond."
- ― Lippe sabotages Bond's traction table.
Later that evening Lippe and Angelo arrive at a Whitbread House hotel where the unsuspecting François Derval is relaxing with his mistress, SPECTRE assassin Fiona Volpe. Making a call from the public telephone box outside, Lippe informs the pilot that they have a car waiting to take him to the air base. The pair then proceed up to Derval's room and murder him with a poison gas pistol. After receiving his payment from Volpe, Palazzi demands more - a quarter of a million dollars. The Count threatens Angelo with a silenced pistol, but is instructed by the more pragmatic Volpe to put it away. She agrees to his demands to avoid further complications.
Using a fake ambulance, which Lippe had arranged, they transport the dead and bandaged Derval back to Shrublands to make it appear that he is Palazzi. As they dispose of the body they are suddenly interrupted by Bond and are forced to abandon the corpse in the traction room. As he makes a phone call, one of Lippe's assistants makes an attempt on Bond's life, but is ultimately killed. On his way out of the traction room Bond trips the fire alarm forcing the Count to flee the scene.
The following morning, Bond leaves due to an urgent call from the office. Lippe notices him leaving and sets off in pursuit of Bond's DB5. Approaching from behind, the Count attempts to shoot 007 with a revolver. As Bond prepares the car's defenses, Lippe's vehicle suddenly bursts into flames - shot from behind by the rockets of a masked assassin's motorcycle. As the assassin streaks past, Lippe's vehicle careers out of control and topples into a ditch where it explodes violently. It is revealed that Lippe was killed by Volpe on Blofeld's orders, as punishment for his poor judgement in hiring the greedy Palazzi.
Behind the scenes
- The Counts of Lippe really existed, and have descendants still living today. However, since 1806 all members of the family have had the title of Prince, not Count.