|“||We meet again, Fraulein. You Americans are all the same...overdressing for the wrong occasions. Now...what shall we talk about?||„|
|~ Toht, to Marion Ravenwood upon their second encounter|
Major Arnold Ernst Toht is the secondary antagonist in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
He was portrayed by the late Ronald Lacey.
Toht was a sadistic Nazi Gestapo agent. During the Nazis' effort to locate the Ark of the Covenant, Toht was sent to Nepal by the Third Reich Special Antiquities Collection to acquire the headpiece to the Staff of Ra from Marion Ravenwood. Toht and his subordinate Otto hired three henchmen off the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal known as Ratty Nepalese, Mean Mongolian, and Giant Sherpa and followed Indiana Jones to The Raven bar in Patan where they tried to take the piece.
All the henchmen who went into the bar with Toht died during the ensuing fight with Jones and Ravenwood, during which Marion's bar was set ablaze. Toht noticed the headpiece lying on the ground during the skirmish, but when he tried to pick it up, he burned his hand as the headpiece had been lying close to the fire. Howling in pain, he ran outside to plunge his hand into the snow. He eventually fled with a serious burn scar on his palm. From this scar, the Nazis were able to create a crude, one-sided reproduction of the headpiece. However, the missing information from the other side would prove critical to finding the Ark's resting place, the Well of the Souls.
Toht later met up with Colonel Dietrich, Gobler, and René Belloq in Cairo, his "Heil Hitler" salute revealing his scarred hand. Frustrated with Belloq's inability to extract useful information from Ravenwood (who had been captured shortly after she arrived in Egypt with Jones), Dietrich had Toht intercede. His own interrogation proved equally fruitless, however. When the Nazis finally caught up with Jones at the Well of the Souls, Toht threw Ravenwood into the Well, for they had no further use for her. Toht walked away, giggling with glee as Jones and Ravenwood were sealed within the Well.
He later accompanied Belloq and his fellow Nazis in the effort to deliver the Ark to a safer location, since his duty was to oversee the delivery of the artifact Hitler desired. However, Jones succeeded in stealing the ark back from them. Toht and the others followed him and reclaimed the Ark, along with Marion, the next day, taking both to a small Aegean island north of Crete. Jones went after them in hopes of rescuing Marion, eventually revealing himself on their way to the Tabernacle. In the standoff that followed, Toht quietly sat on the sidelines as Belloq called Jones's bluff, forcing him to surrender.That evening, Toht stood with Belloq and Dietrich in the Tabernacle for the ceremonial opening of the Ark. Initially, the Ark seemed to bear only sand, to Belloq's dismay and Dietrich's chagrin. Toht, on the other hand, was amused, as he had never quite believed in the supernatural aspects of his assignment. His laughter was replaced by astonishment as the Ark unleashed its true power, starting with the emergence of strange spirits. As the spirits swarmed around the assembly, Toht turned to see one of them approach; before his eyes, it transformed into a monstrous Angel of Death and howled at him and his cohorts, leaving him screaming in terror. The Gestapo agent's face was then melted off his skull by the heat of the Ark's flames, killing him along with Dietrich has his skull being hollowed and Belloq's head exploding. His collapsed remains wee then swept up and incinerated by the following firestorm.