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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Poster

Quotes

[Meeting with Dr. Gilchrist in the cemetery]

Mortimer Brewster: Pull up a tombstone!

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Mortimer Brewster: Look I probably should have told you this before but you see... well... insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops.

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[last lines]

Mortimer Brewster: No, no. I'm not a Brewster. I'm the son of a sea-cook! Ha! Ha! Chaaaaarrrge!

[he runs off across the cemetary]

Cab Driver: And I'm not a cab driver, I'm a coffee pot!

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Aunt Martha: For a gallon of elderberry wine, I take one teaspoon full of arsenic, then add half a teaspoon full of strychnine, and then just a pinch of cyanide.

Mortimer Brewster: Hmm. Should have quite a kick.

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Elaine Harper: But Mortimer, you're going to love me for my mind, too.

Mortimer Brewster: One thing at a time!

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Mortimer Brewster: Aunt Abby, how can I believe you? There are twelve men down in the cellar and you admit you poisoned them.

Aunt Abby Brewster: Yes, I did. But you don't think I'd stoop to telling a fib.

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[discussing the body count]

Dr. Einstein: You got twelve, they got twelve.

[angrily grabs Dr. Einstein's necktie]

Jonathan Brewster: I've got thirteen!

Dr. Einstein: No, Johnny, twelve - don't brag.

Jonathan Brewster: Thirteen! There's Mr. Spinalzo and the first one in London, two in Johannesburg, one in Sydney, one in Melbourne, two in San Francisco, one in Phoenix, Arizona...

Dr. Einstein: Phoenix?

Jonathan Brewster: The filling station...

Dr. Einstein: Filling station? Oh!

[slits throat]

Dr. Einstein: Yes.

Jonathan Brewster: Then three in Chicago and one in South Bend. That makes thirteen.

Dr. Einstein: You cannot count the one in South Bend. He died of pneumonia!

Jonathan Brewster: He wouldn't have died of pneumonia if I hadn't shot him!

Dr. Einstein: No, no, Johnny. You cannot count him. You got twelve, they got twelve. The old ladies is just as good as you are!

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Mortimer Brewster: The name Brewster is code for Roosevelt.

Teddy Brewster: Code for Roosevelt?

Mortimer Brewster: Yes. Don't you see? Take the name Brewster, take away the B, and what have you got?

Teddy Brewster: Rooster!

Mortimer Brewster: Uh-huh. And what does a rooster do?

Teddy Brewster: Crows.

Mortimer Brewster: It crows. And where do you hunt in Africa?

Teddy Brewster: On the veldt!

Mortimer Brewster: There you are: crows - veldt!

Teddy Brewster: Ingenious! My compliments to the boys in the code department.

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Teddy Brewster: Mr. Witherfork!

Mr. Witherspoon: Spoon!

[Mortimer hands him a spoon]

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Mortimer Brewster: Mr. President, may I have the pleasure of presenting...

Teddy Brewster: Doctor Livingston?

Dr. Gilchrist: Livingstone?

Mortimer Brewster: Uh, well, that's what he presumes.

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Lt. Rooney: Who are you? What's your name?

Mortimer Brewster: Well, usually I'm Mortimer Brewster, but I'm not quite myself today.

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Jonathan Brewster: [to Dr. Einstein] This is the home of my youth... As a boy, I couldn't wait to escape from this house. Now, I'm glad to escape back into it.

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Teddy Brewster: [Mr. Witherspoon has just met Teddy and Teddy pulls Mortimer aside] Is he trying to move into the White House before I've moved out?

Mortimer Brewster: Who?

Teddy Brewster: [points to Mr. Witherspoon] Taft!

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Mortimer Brewster: I saw a play last week, it had a character in it, reminded me of Jonathon.

Abby Brewster: Oh, really?

Mortimer Brewster: Yeah, a honey of a lunatic. One of those whodunits called "Murder Will Out".

Abby Brewster: Oh, dear!

Mortimer Brewster: Yeah, what a play. When the curtain goes up the first thing you see is a dead body. The next thing...

[opens the window seat and finds a dead body]

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Mortimer Brewster: [finding a second body in the window seat] Ye, Gods! There's another one!

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Police Sgt. Brophy: Look, Sergeant, I promised ya I wouldn't swear but what the he -

[stops, noticing the Reverend]

Police Sgt. Brophy: What's goin' on here anyway?

Reverend Harper: Oh, he's quite harmless.

Police Sgt. Brophy: Thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt. So what? There's a lot of worse guys he could think he was.

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Cab Driver: Hey! $22.50!

Mortimer Brewster: What?

Cab Driver: $22.50!

Mortimer Brewster: Oh, yes, looks good on you!

Cab Driver: Yeah. Not the suit, the meter!

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Mortimer Brewster: Look, Aunt Martha, men don't just get into window seats and die!

Abby Brewster: We know, dear. He died first.

Mortimer Brewster: Wait a minute! Stop all this. Now, look, darling, how did he die?

Abby Brewster: Oh, Mortimer, don't be so inquisitive. The gentleman died because he drank some wine with poison in it.

Mortimer Brewster: How did the poison get in the wine?

Martha Brewster: Well, we put it in wine, because it's less noticeable. When it's in tea, it has a distinct odor.

Mortimer Brewster: You mean, you... You put it in the wine!

Abby Brewster: Yes. And I put Mr. Hoskins in the window seat, because Reverend Harper was coming.

Mortimer Brewster: Now, look at me, darling. You mean, you mean you knew what you'd done and you didn't want the Reverend Harper to see the body?

Abby Brewster: Well, not at tea. That wouldn't have been very nice.

Mortimer Brewster: Oh, it's first-degree.

Abby Brewster: Now, Mortimer, you know all about it and just forget about it. I do think that Aunt Martha and I have the right to our own little secrets.

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[speaking of a character in a play he has seen]

Mortimer Brewster: He sits there *waiting* to be tied up and gagged!

[laughs]

Mortimer Brewster: The big dope!

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Dr. Einstein: At least people in plays act like they've got sense.

Mortimer Brewster: Oh, you think so? Did you ever see anybody in a play act like they got any intelligence?

Dr. Einstein: [agonizing] How can somebody be so stupid!

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Mortimer Brewster: Look, you can't do things like that! Now, I don't know how I can explain this to you. But, it's not only against the law, its wrong!

Martha Brewster: Oh, piffle!

Mortimer Brewster: It's not a nice thing to do. People wouldn't understand. He wouldn't understand. What I mean is... Well... This is developing into a very bad habit!

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Teddy Brewster: [His first line] I must be catching cold.

Abby Brewster: No, dear, it was Reverend Harper who sneezed.

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Reverend Harper: Have you ever tried to persuade him that he wasn't Teddy Roosevelt?

Abby Brewster: Oh, no.

Martha Brewster: Oh, he's so happy being Teddy Roosevelt.

Abby Brewster: Oh... Do you remember, Martha, once, a long time ago, we thought if he'd be George Washington, it might be a change for him, and we suggested it.

Martha Brewster: And do you know what happened? He just stayed under his bed for days and wouldn't be anybody.

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Dr. Einstein: Where am I? Oh, here I am.

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Mortimer Brewster: When I come back, I expect to find you gone. Wait for me!

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Martha Brewster: [to Mortimer] One of our gentlemen found time to say "How delicious"!

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[on the telephone]

Mortimer Brewster: Hello... Operator? Can you hear my voice? You can? Are you sure?

[hangs up]

Mortimer Brewster: Well, then I must be here.

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[Elaine is impatient to leave on the honeymoon]

Elaine Harper: But, darling - Niagara Falls.

Mortimer Brewster: It does? Well, let it.

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[speaking of the Brewster sisters]

Police Sgt. Brophy: They're two of the dearest, sweetest, kindest, old ladies that ever walked the earth. They're out of this world. They're like, they're like pressed rose leaves.

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[to Jonathan]

Mortimer Brewster: Where did you get that face? Hollywood?

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Jonathan Brewster: Teddy, I think it's time for you to go to bed.

Teddy Brewster: I beg your pardon. Who are you?

Jonathan Brewster: I'm Woodrow Wilson. Go to bed!

Teddy Brewster: No, you're not Wilson, but you're face is familiar. Let me see. You're not anyone I know now - perhaps later on my hunting trip to Africa. Yes, you look like someone I might meet in the jungle.

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[Explaining to Elaine why they shouldn't be married]

Mortimer Brewster: You wouldn't want to have children with three heads, would you? I mean, you wouldn't want to set up housekeeping in a padded cell. Oh, it would be bad.

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Cab Driver: I knew this would end up in the nuthouse.

Mr. Witherspoon: [offended] We like to think of it as a rest home!

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Mortimer Brewster: You didn't want the reverend to see the body?

Aunt Abby: Well, not at tea. That wouldn't have been very nice.

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Jonathan Brewster: Tonight, we are taking care of Mortimer.

Dr. Einstein: But, Johnny, not tonight. I'm sleepy. We'll do it tomorrow, or the next day.

Jonathan Brewster: Look at me, Doctor. You can see that it's got to be done, can't you?

Dr. Einstein: Yeah, I know that look.

Jonathan Brewster: It's a little late to dissolve our partnership.

Dr. Einstein: Okay, okay, Johnny. Okay, we'll do it. But the quick way, huh? The quick twist like in London.

Jonathan Brewster: No, Doctor. I think this calls for something special. I think, perhaps, the Melbourne method.

Dr. Einstein: [cringing] No! Not the Melbourne method, please! Two hours!

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Aunt Abby: [to Mortimer] Now, Mortimer, you behave. You're too old to be flying off the handle like this!

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Aunt Abby Brewster: Just the thought of Jonathan frightens me. Do you remember how he used to cut worms in two with his teeth?

Mortimer Brewster: Oh, Jonathan? He's probably in prison or hanged or something by now.

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Mortimer Brewster: [trying to make Jonathan leave] Now, Jonathon. Be a good fellow. Here's ten dollars. Go out and haunt yourself a hotel?

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[repeated line]

Teddy Brewster: Charge!

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Teddy Brewster: [showing Einstein a photo] This is the picture I was telling you about, General. Here we are, both of us. President Roosevelt and General Goethals. That's me, General, and that's you.

Dr. Einstein: My how I've changed.

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Teddy Brewster: [after charging up the stairs] Charge the blockhouse!

Reverend Harper: Blockhouse?

Aunt Abby: Yes. The stairs are always San Juan Hill.

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[Mortimer has just been talking to his aunts but was interrupted by the phone ringing. He now hangs it up]

Mortimer Brewster: Now, where was I? Twelve... *TWELVE*?

[He runs back to talk to his aunts again]

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[to Mortimer on Teddy]

Dr. Gilchrist: I've just been appointed Ambassador to Bolivia.

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Mortimer Brewster: [to Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha] Come here. I've got the two nicest Aunts in the world. Of course, you've got the nicest nephew in the world, too.

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Martha Brewster: [about the men they have poisoned] Let me see, now. This is eleven, isn't it, Abby?

Abby Brewster: Oh, no, dear. This makes twelve.

Martha Brewster: Abby, dear. I think you're wrong. This one is only eleven.

Abby Brewster: No, dear, because I remember when Mr. Hoskins first came in, it occurred to me that he'd make just an even dozen.

Martha Brewster: But, Abby, dear. I really don't think you should count the first one.

Abby Brewster: Oh, I was counting the first one, and that makes it twelve.

Martha Brewster: It does? Well, she's probably right. Abby usually is. I get them mixed up sometimes.

Mortimer Brewster: Makes it twelve? Twelve.

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Jonathan Brewster: [to Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha] Dr. Einstein and I need a place to sleep. You remember that, as a boy, I could be disagreeable. It would not be pleasant for any of us if... I don't have to go into details, do I?

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Cab Driver: Hey, you! Five more bucks and you'll own it!

Mortimer Brewster: Oh, no thanks! It wouldn't fit me!

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Teddy Brewster: [as Theodore Roosevelt] I'll be in my office vetoing bills.

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Martha Brewster: Are you leaving, Doctor?

Dr. Einstein: Yes, please.

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Elaine Harper: [Mortimer is feeling amorous in the cemetery with Elaine] Mortimer! Right out here in the open with everyone looking?

Mortimer Brewster: Yes, right out here in the open with everyone looking. Let everyone in Brooklyn over sixteen look!

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Mortimer Brewster: What is this? Did everybody in Brooklyn know I was going to get married except me?

Martha Brewster: We knew you'd find out about it in time.

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Mortimer Brewster: Yeah, yeah, I know that bromide. Something borrowed, something blue - old, new! Rice and old shoes, carry you over the threshold, Niagara Falls - all the silly tripe I've made fun of for years. Is this what I've come to? I can't go through with it. I won't marry you and that's that!

Elaine Harper: [Adoring] Yes, Mortimer.

Mortimer Brewster: What do you mean, "Yes, Mortimer"? Aren't you insulted? Aren't you going to cry? Aren't you going to make a scene?

Elaine Harper: [Adoring] No, Mortimer.

Mortimer Brewster: And don't "No, Mortimer" me either! Don't... Don't you see, marriage is a superstition, it... It's old-fashioned, it's... I... Ohhhh...

[He kisses her and hauls her into the marriage license office]

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Elaine Harper: Now, wait a minute! Listen! You can't marry me one minute and throw me out of the house the next.

Mortimer Brewster: I am not throwing you out of the house, I am not throwing you out of the house! Will you get out of here?

[pushes her out and slams the door; Mr. Gibbs is standing on the porch holding a newspaper]

Elaine Harper: Mortimer!

Mortimer Brewster: [picks up the phone] I'm sorry, Judge. But a thing happened. Look, Judge... About Teddy... you see, he's...

Elaine Harper: Mortimer!

Mortimer Brewster: [into the phone] You see, Judge, it's his bugle blowing. Yes, the neighbors have been complaining, and the police are all set to throw him into a state institution.

Elaine Harper: How do you like that...

Mr. Gibbs: I read an ad here about a room to rent...

Elaine Harper: Oh, shut up!

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[after finding the dead body in the window seat]

Mortimer Brewster: But - what happened to him?

Martha Brewster: [cheerfully] He died.

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Jonathan Brewster: Perhaps we'd better introduce ourselves. May I present Dr. Einstein.

Elaine Harper: Dr. Einstein?

Jonathan Brewster: A surgeon of great distinction... and something of a magician.

Elaine Harper: Now, I suppose you're going to tell me that you're Boris Kar...

Jonathan Brewster: I am Jonathan Brewster!

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Jonathan Brewster: We're moving the car behind the house. You'd better get to bed.

Martha Brewster: The car is alright where it is until morning.

Jonathan Brewster: I don't want to leave it in the street. That might be against the law.

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[to Mortimer]

Elaine Harper: We were married today. We were going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Your brother tries to kill me. A taxi is waiting and now you want to sleep on a window seat. You can take the honeymoon, your wedding ring, your taxi, your window seat, and put 'em in a barrel and push 'em all over Niagara Falls!

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[Repeated line]

Jonathan Brewster: Go to bed, Aunt Abby!

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Mortimer Brewster: Certainly there are thirteen bodies in the cellar and there are hundreds more in the attic!

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[after listening to Mortimer's description of a character in a play]

Dr. Einstein: You know, you were right about that fellow. He wasn't very bright.

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Mortimer Brewster: All I did was cross the bridge and I was in Brooklyn. Amazing.

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Jonathan Brewster: [threatening Mortimer] If you tell O'Hara what's in the window seat, I'll tell him what's in the cellar.

Mortimer Brewster: Cellar?

Jonathan Brewster: There's an elderly gentleman down there who seems to be very dead.

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Reporter: Looks like the same suckers get married everyday.

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[singing]

Mortimer Brewster: There is a Happydale, far, far away...

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Dr. Einstein: You shouldn't have killed him. Just because he know something about us, what happens?

Jonathan Brewster: We come to him for help, and he tries to shake us down. Besides, he said I looked like Boris Karloff!

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Jonathan Brewster: [to Dr. Einstein] This time, I want the face of an absolute non-enity!

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Mortimer Brewster: But there's a body in the window seat!

Aunt Abby: Yes, dear, we know.

Mortimer Brewster: You know?

Martha Brewster: Of course!

Aunt Abby: Yes, but it has nothing to do with Teddy. Now, Mortimer, you just forget about it. Forget you ever saw the gentleman.

Mortimer Brewster: Forget?

Aunt Abby: We never dreamed you'd peek.

Mortimer Brewster: What the...?

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Mortimer Brewster: [on the telephone] Yes, operator, I'd like the Happy Dale Sanatorium, Happy Dale, New York. Come on, operator, what's taking so long? They're just across the river. I could swim it faster! No, I don't want the Happy Dale Laundry. I want the Happy Dale Sanatorium. Sanatorium, sanatorium, sanatorium. Yes, yes, like a broken record. Hello - what? They're busy? Busy? Look, they're busy and you're dizzy. No, I am not drunk, madam, but you've given me an idea.

[throws down the phone in disgust]

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Mortimer Brewster: Wait outside.

Dr. Gilchrist: But it's Halloween!

Mortimer Brewster: Oh, don't worry about Halloween. The pixies won't be out till after midnight.

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Jonathan Brewster: [pulling on surgical gloves] And now doctor... we go to work!

Dr. Einstein: No, Johnny. I cannot operate without a drink!

Jonathan Brewster: Pull yourself together, doctor!

Dr. Einstein: I cannot pull myself together without a drink!

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Dr. Einstein: Alright, Mr. President, we go to Panama.

Teddy Brewster: Bully, bully! Follow me, General. It's down south, you know.

Dr. Einstein: [hat falling across his eyes] Well, Bon voyage!

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Mortimer Brewster: Even the cat's in on it!

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Mortimer Brewster: [watching the fighting, lighting up a cigarette] Go on - fight, fight. I don't care.

Mortimer Brewster: [watching the police trying to bring down Jonathan with a shoe] Oh, don't do that. It never works.

Mortimer Brewster: [Jonathan collapses] What do you know? it worked!

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Mortimer Brewster: [to Dr Einstein] Stop underplaying, I can't hear you!

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Mortimer Brewster: [to Mr. Gibbs] You... Get out of here! D'ya wanna be poisoned? D'ya wanna be murdered? D'ya wanna be killed?

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Mortimer Brewster: Now look, darling, how did he die?

Abby Brewster: Oh, Mortimer, don't be so inquisitive. The gentleman died because he drank some wine with poison in it.

Mortimer Brewster: Well, how did the poison get in the wine?

Martha Brewster: Well, we put in wine because it's less noticeable. When it's in tea it has a distinct odor.

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Jonathan Brewster: I'll get every one of you! I hate cops! I'll brain the first one that comes near me!

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[first lines]

Baseball Fan: I'll knock your block off, you big stiff! You're a bum!

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Photographer at Marriage License Office: Mr. Brewster?

Mortimer Brewster: Now, look... Goodbye, dear.

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Teddy Brewster: Charge! Charge the blockhouse!

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Mr. Witherspoon: [to himself] Another Roosevelt? Oh, dear, dear.

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Teddy Brewster: [to Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha] General Goethals was very pleased. He said the canal was just the right size.

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Abby Brewster: [to Mortimer about the body in the window seat] Who can that be?

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Dr. Einstein: [to Mortimer] Look, when Johnny's in that mood, he's a madman! He's a maniac! And then things happen. Horrible things...

[draws finger across throat]

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Jonathan Brewster: [to Dr. Einstein] To my dear dead brother.

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Officer Patrick O'Hara: [to Sgt. Brophy, about Jonathon] Look at that puss. He looks like Boris Karloff.

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Teddy Brewster: What news have you brought me?

Mortimer Brewster: Just this, Mr. President, the country is squarely behind you.

Teddy Brewster: Yes, I know.

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Teddy Brewster: Gentlemen, what news have you brought me?

Police Sgt. Brophy: [salutes] Colonel, we have nothing to report.

Officer Patrick O'Hara: Huh?

[Brophy elbows him and he salutes also]

Officer Patrick O'Hara: Oh, no! Absolutely nothing to report!

Teddy Brewster: Splendid. Thank you, gentlemen. At ease.

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Mortimer Brewster: [introducing Teddy to Gilchrist] Oh, uh, Mr. President, may I have the pleasure of introducing...

Teddy Brewster: Dr. Livingstone!

Dr. Gilchrist: Livingstone?

Mortimer Brewster: Yeah, well, that's what he presumes.

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Teddy Brewster: [to Mr. Witherspoon] Mr. Witherfork.

Mr. Witherspoon: "Spoon".

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Lt. Rooney: What has occurred?

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Teddy Brewster: A *secret* proclamation? How unusual.

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Martha Brewster: [Mortimer is about to leave, but has Mr. Witherspoon's hat on] Hmm! Hmm!

Mortimer Brewster: What, hmm hmm?

Martha Brewster: The hat!

Mortimer Brewster: [Notices hat and throws it on the ground] Argh!

[slams door]

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Teddy Brewster: Yes, Doctor, I'll run for a third term, but I won't be elected. That will be the last of the Roosevelts in the White House.

Dr. Gilchrist: That's what you think!

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Mortimer Brewster: I probably should have told you this before but, you see, well... insanity runs in my family.

[He hears Abby and Martha singing]

Mortimer Brewster: It practically gallops!

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Dr. Einstein: [to Jonathon] We got a hot stiff on our hands!

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See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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