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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 (79 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.95
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Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Woody Allen, Ben Duncan, Daniel Okrent
  • 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 (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004STRD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,657 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sweet and Lowdown (Fullscreen)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Woody Allen's affectionate pseudo-documentary centers on Emmet Ray (Sean Penn), "the second-best jazz guitarist in the world," a '30s musical virtuoso with a stormy personal life that includes drunkenness, thievery and failed relationships with socialite writer Uma Thurman and mute laundress Samantha Morton. With Anthony LaPaglia and Gretchen Mol. 95 min. Standard; Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital mono, French Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; theatrical trailers. NOTE: This Title Is Out Of Print; Limit One Per Customer.

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.
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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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Woody back to basics. April 3, 2000
It's such a shame that Woody Allen's films just aren't opened to the large audiences anymore. Sweet and Lowdown, Allen's latest comedic invention, is a film that seems to go back to style of comedic farce and character study that Woody took on in his first major films. At times a mock documentary in the vein of "Take the Money and Run" and "Zelig", Sweet and Lowdown is a more mature film that has a lot more notes to it than the early movies. This film also features something that no other Allen film has had - a truly transformative performance from an actor. Sean Penn and Allen paint such a quircky and complex character that I actually left the theatre thinking Emmitt Ray must have been a real person. Surely no filmakers and actor could come up with such a figure. But alas they did and this is the magic of this film which also features great supporting work and good music to boot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 1 day 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 2 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 3 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 3 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 6 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 8 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 8 months ago by Dr. Stephanie Jourdan
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT WIDESCREEN?
great movie but 1:33 aspect ratio takes away the intended visual. 5 star movie with no star dvd. the theatrical release was 1:85 & that was the intended format.
Published 13 months ago by Bob Wyler
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this show
I am a Django fan, and I loved the story line, and the Pizzarelle guitar was very tastey. I have to go now, and shoot some rats.
Published 15 months ago by Charlie Bretl
5.0 out of 5 stars great
this is by far sean penns best movie!! its so great how its put together! woody allen definitely out did himself!!
Published 17 months ago by Seth A. Eubanks
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