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    #1

    no subways smelling sweet-sour

    Hi,

    The quote comes from Kirk Douglas playing Charles Tatum, a former big-city newspaperman, now a small-town newspaper journalist talking about New York in Ace in the Hole. (1951 - directed by Billy Wilder for Paramount Pictures)

    Give me those eight spindly trees in front of Rockefeller Center any day.
    That's enough outdoors for me. No subways smelling sweet-sour.
    "[...] subways smelling sweet-sour." means :


    1. ... smelling food ? (sweet and sour)
    2. ... smelling sweat ?
    3. ... stinking. (in general)


    Any help or idea is welcome.

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    #2

    Re: no subways smelling sweet-sour

    Possibly 1 or smelling both good and bad IMO.

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: no subways smelling sweet-sour

    Hello, Hell!

    It doesn't make sense.

    Did you find that written somewhere, or did you write down what you heard while you were watching the movie?
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #4

    Re: no subways smelling sweet-sour

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Hello, Hell!

    It doesn't make sense.

    Did you find that written somewhere, or did you write down what you heard while you were watching the movie?
    I checked the spelling with official subtitles. Just for clarification:

    "Give me those eight spindly trees in front of Rockefeller Center any day.
    That's enough outdoors for me. No subways smelling sweet-sour. [... like in New York.]"

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: no subways smelling sweet-sour

    Quote Originally Posted by Hell Armsfeldt View Post
    I checked the spelling with official subtitles. Just for clarification:

    "Give me those eight spindly trees in front of Rockefeller Center any day.
    That's enough outdoors for me. No subways smelling sweet-sour. [... like in New York.]"
    Oh! That makes sense.

    Subtitles are often very wrong. I just ordered the movie from Netflix and will probably see it Wednesday night. I'll let you know what I find out.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #6

    Re: no subways smelling sweet-sour

    Meanwhile, you can already enjoy a clip from this scene. You can find out this quote at 50" to 1'05".


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    #7

    Re: no subways smelling sweet-sour

    Not A Teacher

    If the New York Subway is anything like the London Underground, then it means the various human body odours mostly sweat that mix together to make a distinct smell.

    In in the clip from the movie the character is describing New York, where he used to live, to the quiet nature of New Mexico.

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    #8

    Re: no subways smelling sweet-sour

    It can probably mean either in that context. Like maybe the people smell of sweet and sour chinese food

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: no subways smelling sweet-sour

    Thanks! Context is everything. He's listing things New Mexico lacks that he misses.

    ... no subways smelling sweet-sour.... = ... there are no subways here, with their sweet-sour smell.....
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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