"Manhattan" (Woody Allen) Q: Cut scene?

I recently re-watched Woody Allen’s Manhattan, and noticed a scene missing. Before his character quits the SNL-type show he writes for, he has an argument with the producer about a scene he wrote that has been censored or cut, and it’s some kind of reference to sex with children.

In light of the ongoing controversies in Allen’s private life, it would certainly make sense to cut this scene, I just wonder if I’m misremembering it, if it was in Annie Hall or some other film instead. Did he actually make this significant cut, 30-odd years later? (This is the iTunes version, not a DVD.) IMDB doesn’t mention the scene or the dialogue, but does credit Gary Weis as a TV director and Kenny Vance as a TV producer (They may have been the guys in the control room when Isaac quits).

I’m not here to defend Woody’s good name. If he molested Moses he deserves a jail cell, and if he didn’t, Mia deserves one. Beyond that, I’m reminded of Richard Cohen’s description of the 1991 controversy as “people trying to make an Old Testament monster out of a garden variety pervert.”

It may have had something to do with the head of the film ratings board changing Manhattan’s rating from a PG to an R (I think it was) when he realized it was about a 40-year-old man having sex with a 17-year-old girl. This was discussed at length in Steven Bach’s book Final Cut.

Hmm. In Annie Hall he gets arrested for a traffic accident. His friend who has to pick him up is annoyed because he was with “sixteen year old twins, Max. Twins. Imagine the mathematical possibilities.”

Could this be the line you’re thinking of? BTW, it’s hard to believe that even in 1977 this line didn’t land with a clank and raise a few red flags.

There is an early interview with him on Johnny Carson where he jokes about the neighborhood child molester. I think it’s even on a best of Carson tape.

It’s not an answer to your question, but recently a woman came forward, who says that at the age of sixteen in 1976 began an affair with Woody Allen. The affair apparently lasted eight years and appears to have been consensual. So when in this 1979 film, his character has a consensual affair with a seventeen-year-old played by Mariel Hemingway, the real-life situation seems to have been the inspiration for the movie situation.

The scene I’m describing was definitely in the theatrical release in '79, and years later it was on cable (I can’t think of any other Woody Allen movie where he’s a TV writer except for THE FRONT, which I never saw, and maybe CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS which was years later). The scene went something like this:

Woody ambushes his show’s producer in a white office hallway.

WOODY: (Agitated) You cut my scene! Why did you cut my scene? What did I possibly write that was so controversial you had to cut my scene out of the show?

PRODUCER: (Very calm) Homosexual incest with children is considered a very sensitive topic…

Surprisingly, it didn’t. 16-year olds were considered near-adults at the time. They could drive and be legally married in some states. In fact, there were even efforts to allow them to vote. Moreover, if you look at many past photos of 16-year-olds, they actually look older than 16-year olds now.

This wasn’t just something that reflected the loose times of the 60s and 70s. When my great-grandfather married my great-grandmother, he was 27 and she had just turned 16. This was in 1914.

Sixteen is still the most common age of consent in the United States, by far:

So nobody but me remembers this scene? Interesting. Maybe it was cut in the DVD or VHS release in the 90s.

The line (or something very close to it) is actually from “Hannah and Her Sisters.” From IMDB:

Mickey: Why all of a sudden is the sketch dirty?

Ed Smythe: Child molestation is a touchy subject, and the affiliates…

Mickey: Read the papers, half the country’s doing it!

Ed Smythe: Yes, but you name names.

Mickey: We never-we don’t name names, we say “The Pope”!

That must be it, then. Thanks!