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Sweet and Lowdown (Fullscreen) (1999)

Sean Penn , Samantha Morton , Woody Allen  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.95
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Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Woody Allen, Uma Thurman, Anthony Lapaglia
  • Directors: Woody Allen
  • Writers: Woody Allen
  • Producers: Charles H. Joffe, J.E. Beaucaire, Jack Rollins, Jean Doumanian, Letty Aronson
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 20, 2000
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004STRD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,973 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sweet and Lowdown (Fullscreen)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In the 1930's, Emmet Ray ruled as the second greatest jazz guitarist in the world. But offstage, and particularly in regards to his relationships with women, he was the undisputed king. Academy Award(r)-nominee Sean Penn stars in this richly textured comedic portrait. Emmet's reputation as a renownedmusician is eclipsed by his eccentric career moves, hilarious clashes with gangsters and stormy love affairs with two very different women: Hattie (a breakout performance By Academy Award(r) and GoldenGlobe-nominee Samantha Morton), a mute laundress who loves Emmet unconditionally, and Blanche (Uma Thurman), an eccentric heiress he impulsively marries. SWEET AND LOWDOWN has been acclaimed as "a loving and comic tribute to a musical era! A standout performance by Sean Penn! Samantha Morton's Hattie is a very sweet virtuoso performance!" (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Film, One of Allen's Best January 22, 2002
Throughout history, especially when the world was a much bigger place, before the time that whenever a "celebrity" sneezed it was front page tabloid news, how many truly great artists-- those of genius, even-- went unknown, unheralded and unrecognized to the end? Perhaps there was another Monet in our midst who, for whatever reason, was never noticed; who can say with any certainty there was not, or is not? It's a consideration writer/director Woody Allen examines in his often humorous, and more often poignant, "Sweet and Lowdown," starring Sean Penn and Samantha Morton. In it, Allen chronicles the life of the fictitious Emmet Ray (Penn), who just may have been the second greatest guitar player in the world during the `30s.
Allen employs the effective (in his hands) storytelling device of "interviews" with those who knew Ray in one capacity or another, to fill in the gaps as he attempts to draw a picture of this talented genius, about whom very little is really known. Only a handful of recordings-- made during the final years-- remain of who and what Ray is, or was. The portrait that comes into focus is that of a man, who though gifted as a musician, had a bit more trouble when it came to living his day to day life. Self-centered, irresponsible and taken to drink, he was something of a lowdown character. Then, one day in Atlantic City, Ray meets a sweet, young girl, Hattie (Morton), and they begin a relationship of sorts. The problem is, Ray is a self professed free spirit, an artist, who goes where he wants and does what he wants. Not exactly conducive to a sold relationship. But inbetween, there's the music; and, as Ray himself will tell anyone who will listen, he's the best guitar player in the world, with the possible exception of this "gypsy in France, "-- Django Reinhardt.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sean Penn and Samantha Morton Shine! July 11, 2000
All the rumors you hear about Penn's being such the best actor of his generation must be true. In performance after performance, he becomes whomever he needs to become, whether Death Row convict ("Dead Man Walking") or eccentric lover veering into mental illness ("She's So Lovely") or, in this film, Emmet Ray, a jazz guitarist in the early part of the 20th century. I could swear Penn really knows how to play a guitar like Django R, he's so convincing as Emmet Ray! Ray excuses any atrocious behavior he engages in by his standard line to everyone, "But I'm an artist," reminding us of John Cusack's similar role in Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway."

Samantha Morton shines as Ray's girlfriend, a mute laundress. Uma Thurman plays the vamp while wearing a stunning wardrobe from the 1920s. Oscar nominations for Penn and Morton were well deserved and, regardless of how you feel about Woody Allen these days, the film stands on its own, especially with the bravura acting ability of Penn and the luminosity of Morton. Allen makes a brief appearance as a narrator in the film but is not a character in it. Penn does NOT play Woody Allen in the film, which is what Allen has been accused of making his leading men do in his most recent films. I have no doubt that Penn COULD play Woody Allen if he wanted to do so but in this film he is Emmet Ray, right down to his toes.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To see it is to love it.... April 23, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
A Woody Allen masterpiece and although I love Woody Allen, I don't say that about all his movies. I was especially impressed with the acting and the complex characters presented in the film. Sean Penn plays Emmet Ray, an incredibly talented Jazz guitarist who is every bit aware of it (annoyingly so) and uses every opportunity to boast about how he is one of the best guitarists in the world, second only to the great Django Reinhart. Yet, this fact seems to be one that haunts him constantly and keeps him insecure and vulnerable despite all the fronts he puts up. His love life is also one to ponder. Ray is a brutish, uncaring, and unfaithful lover to every woman he has ever known. He does not change his ways much, even after he meets the right woman, Hattie, played by Samantha Morton. Hattie is a mute girl which seems to be right up Ray's alley, since she never questions or challenges him as his other girlfriend's had. Hattie's sweetness and unwavering devotion to Ray ironically are not really perceived as signs of weakness but rather almost elevate Hattie to somewhat of a modern-day heroine who, through her love, is able to transform the ways of Ray to make him want to be a better man.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Music, Memorable Acting, Wonderful Directing! October 19, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I think only a filmmaker like Woody Allen could of pulled off a movie like this. Everyone, whether your an Allen fan or not, knows his love for music of the 20's and 30's. It's because of his knowledge about jazz and outstanding filmmaking ability that "Sweet and Lowdown" proved to be one of the best films of 1999! The movie centers around a fictitious jazz guitarist named Emmet Ray, who as the film goes on we learn is the second greatest jazz guitarist in the world, except for "some gypsy from paris". Allen tries his hardest to make us believe everything we see on screen, I know people who after seeing this movie actually thought that Emmet Ray existed. But we learn a lot about Emmet, when he plays his music, it's the most beautiful thing you've ever heard, but when his not playing jazz, he's one of the most screwed up people you'll ever meet. We find out he's a drunk, a kleptomanaic,and a pimp among other things. But most people forgive him for all his "bad sides" as soon as he starts to play his guitar. This is a theme Allen worked on in "Deconstructing Harry". That of the artist only being able to function properly in his\her art but not in life itself. And after watching the movie it's hard to think of anyone else besides Sean Penn acting in the role of Emmet Ray. Penn delivers an Oscar worthy performance, that in my opinion,should have gotten him the Oscar. Penn really had to show his wide range as an actor to pull off this role. It's a character that demands great skill to play. Samantha Morton plays Hattie, who turns out to be the one true love of his life, only when he realizes it, it's too late, this makes for the very emotional scene at the end. Even though the role of Hattie is that of a mute, Morton managed to steal every scene she's in! Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved Sean Penn in this..Fabulous work..
Published 2 months ago by Ben Feuer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The life of the ultimate scumbag & BRILLIANT musician!! ... tp
Published 2 months ago by Terence E Patterson
Sean Pean & Woody at their best. Great fun…. When Woody gets wacky he's at his best…I can see this one over and over..
Published 5 months ago by Jim McMullan
3.0 out of 5 stars good actors working hard, but . . .
You can't fault the actors for the fact that this movie isn't all that engaging -- and you can't fault the designer and cinematographer either. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Stanley Crowe
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful movie!
wonderful sentiment, touching and funny. another great one by Woody. great acting, music, atmosphere, and tempo. what's not to like!
Published 8 months ago by charles vega
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and Lowdown
good movie. entertained the whole family on Christmas day. I would recommend it for most ages and will watch it again.
Published 9 months ago by Cait Davies
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked this movie, but others hated it
Sean Penn is a good actor, and I usually like anything done by Woody Allen.
I enjoyed this movie, but others that saw it really did not like it. It's kind of
off beat. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nom de plume
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Allen's best
"Sweet and Lowdown" tells the story of Emmet Ray, an outsized and utterly self-absorbed personality who is also a gifted swing era jazz guitarist. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Chris C. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you kidding?

I'm not a Sean Penn fan. I think I've only seen him in one movie, the one with Susan Sarandon and I know him from the iconic stoner character of... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Tina
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy fantastic!
Has Woody Allen ever done a biography before? This was so wonderful, I think he should do more. And Sean Penn delivers many great performances. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr. Stephanie Jourdan
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