"There must be a ghost in the house. Perhaps the ghost of bridegroom number one."
Dinah says this to her sister, Tracy the day before the wedding. She obliquely suggests that Dexter is a better husband for her sister than George, and that Dexter's presence still lives with Tracy. Basically, she is suggesting that Tracy isn't over her previous marriage yet.
"Don't say 'sock' darling, 'strike' is quite an ugly enough word."
Mrs. Lord tells her youngest daughter Dinah not to say the word "sock," referring to the time that Dexter pushed Tracy to the ground by her face. Her statement doesn't draw attention to the fact that her daughter Tracy was hit, but rather to Dinah's use of proper language. Mrs. Lord's fixation on appropriate language is comic and demonstrates that she is more invested in properness and manners than anything else. In the upper classes, this line suggests, how one says something is more important than what one says.
"Look, who's doing the interviewing here?"
When Mike and Liz first meet Tracy, she knows that they are reporters for Spy Magazine, but they do not know that she knows their true identities. She affects a parodic performance of a well-to-do socialite, blithely and glibly flitting around the room and asking them rapid-fire questions. In her self-assured questioning, she gets the flabbergasted reporters to say more about themselves than they mean to. When she leaves the room, Mike becomes frustrated, turns to Liz, and says this, referring to the fact that they are meant to be exposing her for the magazine, but she has, rather craftily, gotten them talking about themselves instead.
"You'll never be a first-class human being or a first-class woman until you've learned to have some regard for human frailty."
Dexter says this to Tracy as a scathing criticism. In his mind, she is too abrasive, too exterminating, and too judgmental. He tells her that her impossibly high standards make her unlikeable and prevent her from being "a first-class human being or a first-class woman." This is his final, hurtful statement to her after going on a rant about everything that's wrong with her.
"Be whatever you like, you're my redhead."
At the end of the film, when Tracy is speaking to the group assembled in her house to see her get married to George Kittredge, Dexter proposes to her. She accepts joyfully and promises him that she will be "yar," using a sailing term to illustrate that she will be a better and more amenable wife in the future. He responds with this line, assuring her that she can be anything she wants to be and affectionately calling her his "redhead." This is a somewhat curious line, because earlier in the film he went on a long rant about all the things that were wrong with her personality, and here he suggests that she can be "whatever [she] like[s]." Nevertheless, it serves as a romantic moment.
"Mac the night watchman is a prince among men, Uncle Willie is a... pincher. Upper and lower my eye. I'll take the lower, thanks."
Drunk on the terrace after the party on the eve of her wedding, Tracy says this to Mike after he accuses her of having "all the arrogance of [her] class." She says this to make the point that class has nothing to do with character, and that classes of people are made up of individuals. As she sees it, there are crummy and wonderful people in equal measure in all classes. She extols the virtues of the night watchman, while throwing her own Uncle Willie under the bus for his lecherous tendencies. If one were to go by the personalities and characters of individuals in the upper and lower classes, her preference is the "lower."
"I would sell my grandmother for a drink—and you know how I love my grandmother."
Mike delivers this comic line to Dexter when he has already had quite a bit to drink. He suggests that he would "sell his grandmother" just to get a drink. The line is meant to communicate that he loves to drink so much that he would be willing to ingloriously dispose of his grandmother just to get some alcohol.
"Oh it's all right Tracy. We all go haywire at times and if we don't, maybe we ought to."
When George confronts Tracy about her intoxicated state the evening before on the afternoon of their wedding, Liz says this to Tracy to comfort her about her indiscretion. By telling Tracy that it is natural for people to "go haywire at times," she is forgiving her for her intoxication after the party and her misguided rendezvous with Mike. Liz often has a wise assessment of situations, and here she displays that wisdom and forgives Tracy for her all-too-human messiness.
"Put me in your pocket, Mike."
Tracy whispers this to Mike on the night she becomes too intoxicated in the garden. She is very drunk and the couple have kissed, and she wants to go for a swim. Dreamily, she requests that he put her in his pocket, an uncharacteristically vulnerable request for the usually domineering socialite. The statement suggests that she wants to become small and curl up in his pocket. The wild drunkenness, as much as it will give her a headache in the morning, is showing Tracy how to be more vulnerable and human.
"I can't afford to hate anybody. I'm only a photographer."
After Mike tells Sidney Kidd that he doesn't like him very much, Sidney turns to Liz and asks if she hates him, to which she responds with this witty statement. It is representative of Liz's sardonic humor, her ability to cut to the core of a situation without showing her emotional cards. It also shows that, as a photographer for a tabloid magazine, she has to keep her opinions to herself if she wants to keep her job. Unlike Mike, she is more concerned about keeping her job and making a living than expressing how she feels about her crooked boss. This statement, however, reveals quite a bit about her feelings about working for Spy Magazine.
The Philadelphia Story Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Philadelphia Story is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.