Sweet and Lowdown (1999) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In the 1930s, jazz guitarist Emmet Ray idolizes Django Reinhardt, faces gangsters and falls in love with a mute woman.

  • A comedic biopic focused on the life of fictional jazz guitarist Emmett Ray. Ray was an irresponsible, free-spending, arrogant, obnoxious, alcohol-abusing, miserable human being, who was also arguably the best guitarist in the world. We follow Ray's life: bouts of getting drunk, his bizzare hobbies of shooting rats and watching passing trains, his dreams of fame and fortune, his strange obsession with the better-known guitarist Django Reinhardt, and of course, playing his beautiful music.

  • Mockumentary on Emmet Ray, arguably the second best jazz guitarist of the late 1930s behind French gypsy Django Reinhardt to which Emmet would have agreed. Emmet, in fact, had a morbid fear on many levels of ever meeting Django. Part of the mockumentary includes interviews with those in the know about Emmet, including Woody Allen, whose commentary outlines why he found Emmet a fascinating enough character about who to make a movie. The name Emmet Ray is perhaps obscure today as he only made a few recordings, he not wanting others to be able to copy him by listening to his recordings over and over. Besides being a musical genius, he was extremely irresponsible, having a small stable of whores to finance his lifestyle, including gambling, drinking, womanizing and feeling privileged to have anything he wanted. Those who employed him had to weigh the benefits of the extra customers he would bring in, against he showing up late and/or drunk if at all. He was also an eccentric character, he dropping everything to partake in either of his two favorite pastimes, watching trains go by, or shooting rats at garbage dumps. His life had the potential to be tamed when he met Hattie, a mute laundress, who may have been mentally affected by the childhood disease that took her ability to speak. After a rough start due to communication problems, Emmet grew to have a real affection for Hattie, who in turn was fiercely loyal to him if that loyalty was returned. Their relationship largely had to be on Emmet's terms, including he being the focus. But the possibility of a long term future for them may have been predicated on Emmet getting a glimpse of his life without her.



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