Written By: Norith Soth

To become a great screenwriter, you must… Kill Your Babies!

Think you have what it takes to be a great screenwriter?  Are you cold blooded?  Do you take your coffee black?  Okay, tough guy, do you kill babies? You know, that amazing scene in your screenplay that serves no purpose, except to demonstrate your unparallelled witticism?



Woody Allen kills babies with no conscience.  Remember an Oscar winning film called “Hannah and Her Sisters”? Remember the delicious humanity hater played by Max von Sydow?  Barbara Hershey’s reclusive professor boyfriend guy?  This guy speaks the truth.  I’d vote him into office today!

Too bad Sydow only has two scenes in “Hannah” and in one of them, says the best line in the entire movie: “If Jesus came down and saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”


Well, guess what?  This unsung cinematic hero has more lines that were viciously cut out by The Woodman.  Witness page 12 below.

Hannah_12Floating slaughterhouse.  Yes, he can run on that slogan.

But that’s not all.  After Barbara Hershey dumps Sydow, he vanishes from the movie.  But in the screenplay, he comes back.  Remember, he was painter.  Well, he gets his own show. Withnesseth below:


Cobra and mongoose.  Wow.  Barbara Hershey dumped this gem?  If I had written scene, it would take all the fiber in my being to cut it out, but Woody Allen did it like an assassin.  With a cudgel, he cut the scene out.  Why?  Because it made the script flow. Woody later recycled this character with Larry David in “Whatever Works” but you get the message.  Kill your babies, baby!