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In Raiders of the Lost Ark he seems to be quiet during the majority of the film.

This is the character I am referring to:

Roth as seen in the movie

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    Because he doesn't need to. His presence and appearance are enough
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 16:24
  • 2
    I remember him having at least one line in every scene he appeared in... IMO he didn't have enough screen time in general to have massive amounts of dialogue.
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 16:47
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    He has 16 lines in total...and held your attention with every word and move.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 17:49
  • Toht's role was dramatically scaled back during the scripting phase. Apparently he was going to have interchangeable arms (gun, flamethrower) and a robotic red glowing eye. Lucas put his foot down. forum.rebelscum.com/showthread.php?t=1074079
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 19:02
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    "Spielberg: Our biggest dispute was that I had this heavy-metal view of the character of Toht (Ronald Lacey). I saw him with a prosthetic hand that was in fact a machine gun and a flamethrower. He was like The Terminator before The Terminator. We've got the artwork to prove it. That's where George put his foot down and said, "Steven, you're crossing out of one genre and into another." I agreed. All that hard work just became refuse in the art department.": empireonline.com/movies/features/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 19:03

1 Answer 1

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Behind the scenes, some of his material was cut

In an interview in issue 227 of Empire magazine, Steven Spielberg revealed that the character was "like The Terminator before The Terminator", but George Lucas vetoed it.

Spielberg: Our biggest dispute was that I had this heavy-metal view of the character of Toht [Ronald Lacey]. I saw him with a prosthetic hand that was in fact a machine gun and a flamethrower. He was like The Terminator before The Terminator. We've got the artwork to prove it. That's where George put his foot down and said, "Steven, you're crossing out of one genre and into another." I agreed. All that hard work just became refuse in the art department.

It's possible that Toht had additional dialogue related to this, but it was cut along with the design.

Thematically, speaking less gives his words have extra weight

TV Tropes calls this sort of character The Quiet One

This character isn't The Speechless, and is "definitely" not The Voiceless. Nor are they the Ineffectual Loner. They just rarely talk, so anything which IS said carries extra weight.

By speaking so rarely, viewers pay additional attention to the few words that Toht does say. This also makes him a bit more mysterious and unnerving; he speaks differently than Indy, Marion, and the other characters, separating him from them.

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