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Sweet and Lowdown Details


Woody Allen immerses himself in the world of vintage jazz in this period mock-biography of a musician gifted in his art but a sad student in life. Emmet Ray (Sean Penn) is a 1930s jazz guitarist considered one of the finest musicians ever to touch a fretboard, second only to the legendary Django Reinhardt. For all the passion and sensitivity of his music, Emmet is a louse off-stage; he earned his living as a pimp before gaining fame, and he throws his money away on flashy clothes and big cars, going through women like guitar picks. He also has another charming hobby: shooting rats at the city dump. But when Emmet meets Hattie (Samantha Morton), a shy, mute woman who earns her living doing laundry, he discovers that she loves his music, and he promptly falls for her. However, his inability to be faithful, his arrogant conviction that a musician should never marry, and his belief that he can do better than Hattie eventually doom their relationship. Emmet later marries Blanche (Uma Thurman), a beautiful and refined woman with a career as an author, but she is no more interested in fidelity than he is, and in time he realizes how foolish he was to give up Hattie. Jazz guitarist Howard Alden plays Emmet's solos on the soundtrack, while several authorities on jazz discuss "Emmet's" music, including Nat Hentoff, Douglas McGrath, and one Woody Allen. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:September 4, 1999


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sean Penn Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1999 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sean Penn Best Actor 1999 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Samantha Morton Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television 1999 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Samantha Morton Best Supporting Actress 1999 Nominee


Sean Penn
as Emmet Ray
Samantha Morton
as Hattie
Uma Thurman
as Blanche
Brian Markinson
as Bill Shields
Anthony LaPaglia
as Al Torrio
Gretchen Mol
as Ellie
Vincent Guastaferro
as Sid Bishop
John Waters
as Mr. Haynes
Constance Schulman
as Hazel
Kellie Overbey
as Iris
James Urbaniak
as Harry
Brad Garrett
as Joe Bedloe
Woody Allen
as himself
Douglas McGrath
as Himself


Woody Allen
Jean Doumanian
Woody Allen
Zhao Fei
Dick Hyman
Composer (Music Score)
Alisa Lepselter
Santo Loquasto
Production Designer
Tom Warren
Art Director
Richard Brick
Letty Aronson
Executive Producer
J.E. Beaucaire
Executive Producer
Charles H. Joffe
Executive Producer
Laura Cunningham-Bauer
Costume Designer
Les Lazarowitz
Sound/Sound Designer
Richard Patrick
First Assistant Director
Laura Rosenthal
Juliet Taylor