How about [movies] that no longer exist?

TenzytileTenzytile Registered User regular
edited August 19 in Debate and/or Discourse
What we see and understand of film is actually very limited. It's limited in a cultural sense, as the means we have to learn about movies are through the processes of popular word of mouth and canonization. It's limited in a corporate sense, as large, multi-billion dollar corporations largely control what we're able to see at theaters and on streaming services. But moreover, our outlooks are limited because most films we aren't at all able to watch!---so much stuff was never released, or is stuck in rights management limbo, or played at some festival without accruing distribution, or is just private art.

But they're there, which is more than can be said for lost films.

The high majority of films made in the early 20th century simply don't exist anymore. The reasons for this are numerous: fires started and fueled by highly flammable nitrate film, damage and recycling from the two world wars, neglect and misplacement, and censorship and targeted destruction.

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Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery


It might be easy to handwave lost films as ones that were never significant enough to have been saved in the first place, or at least think that they probably weren't widely printed or shipped. This isn't true at all of course. Many lost films were considered some of the finest works of their time. Here are a few of the most notable:

Arirang (1926)

A Korean film named after a national folk song that was made under the Japanese occupation, and whose story was directly about resisting the occupiers. It was an enormous success, and is considered one of the most formative Korean films ever made. Apparently the audiences would conclude the film singing the titular song in protest. It was lost during the Korean War, but a print was said to be in the possession of a Japanese collector. When this man died in 2005, his collection was possessed by the Japanese government and there has been no confirmation of Arirang's existence within it.

The Last Moment (1928)

An expressionistic Hollywood film from Hungarian director Paul Fejos, about a suicidal man's final moments as he drowns himself. As a silent film, it reportedly used no inter-titles and utilized experimental editing techniques to express its subject's story in a flashback narrative---making it an especially unusual and noteworthy item. Reviews at the time were enthusiastic, and there are no known rumours of its current existence.

4 Devils (1928)

Directed by F.W. Murnau, the influential German Expressionist pioneer responsible for Nosferatu and the Oscar-winning Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, this was his second American film, reteaming with Janet Gaynor. It was apparently a sleazy and imaginative film about a group of trapeze artists, and was considered one of Murnau's finest achievements. He died three years later in a car accident at the age of 42. The only surviving print was said to have been borrowed by Mary Duncan, one of the lead actors, who never returned the reels to Fox. There's held hope that one of her heirs may still have it.

Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery (1928-1931)

One of the most important Chinese films ever made, this massive wuxia film, which ran 27 (!!!) hours long, was exhibited over the course of three years in 18 feature installments. It's considered by many to be the most influential prewar Chinese film, and is credited with creating much of the iconic wuxia film style we still know today. None of its reels are known to exist because of Kuomintang censorship and destruction brought on by the combination of the Chinese Civil War and the war with the Japanese.

The devastating wars in East Asia erased a lot of cinematic history from the 30's back to its origins in the region. It's said that 90% of Japanese cinema made before the war is completely gone---and they were second only to America in the volume of films produced in the 1930's.

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The Passion of Joan of Arc


Still, these films are lost, not necessarily gone forever. Many films exist in fragments, and many have been found complete many years after the fact. There are some interesting stories of rediscovery, like:

-How a large portion of the iconic German silent Metropolis was considered lost for eight decades, only to be discovered in Argentina in 2008. Now there's only a five minute chunk missing---it's almost all there!

-How Carl Theodor Dreyer's masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc from 1928, which was censored by the French government to begin with, was partly lost practically a year after its release due to a film laboratory fire. A much shorter rerelease and later compromised cut with a host of 'creative' changes were all that existed for decades; Dreyer was unhappy with both. Then in 1981 a complete version of the original cut (before initial state censorship) was discovered in the closet of a Norwegian mental hospital.

-How Tomu Uchida's landmark independent film Tsuchi from 1939 was lost during the war, then a seriously damaged print reemerged in Germany with German subtitles thirty years later. Thirty years after that a more complete version showed up in Russia, with Russian subtitles. Neither of these versions have the ending of the film.

-How Teinosuke Kinugasa personally rediscovered his most notable film, the innovative avant-garde silent film A Page of Madness in his garden shed. He had forgotten that he hid it there during the second world war 30 years prior.

-How the highly regarded 1971 Australian outback madness film Wake in Fright was considered lost for decades until the film's editor rediscovered the negatives himself after an eight year search. They were all the way in Pittsburgh PA, in a shipping container marked "For Destruction".

So there's some hope that films that are lost might reappear one day from their hibernation in a dusty store room or mine shaft or belly of some large mammal. Until that day comes, let's discuss the films that we have seen and the ones we can expect to, with a little more certainty, see one day.

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Currently watching: 1957/unseen Criterions
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  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent The World on This SideRegistered User regular
    Hearing about Orson Welles went through on the Magnificent Ambersons is painful.
    Though RKO excised over forty minutes of footage, now lost to history, and added an incongruously upbeat ending, The Magnificent Ambersons is an emotionally rich family saga and a masterful elegy for a bygone chapter of American life.

    https://www.criterion.com/films/28711-the-magnificent-ambersons

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  • y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    I watched Metropolis this week! Hadnt realized until I watched it how recently they found the missing footage.

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  • RickRudeRickRude Registered User regular
    edited August 20
    Hipefully this isnt considered a political post. If so, sorry.

    Today i learned Trump was cut from the telivision version of home alone 2 in canada. His cameo is gone. It was done to save time as it wasnt needed for the plot, and we need time for commercials. . Not sure if it was edited for time in any other countries versions.

    Anyways this happened in like 2014 and trump is now blaming the canadian prime minister and thinks it has to do with his politics.

    I thought it was a funny story.

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  • RickRudeRickRude Registered User regular
    In other news this Richard Pryor 3 pack from amazon is paying dividends. First the toy held up, then stir crazy was absolutely hillarious. A little slow but a lot of funny.

    Next up is my favorote duo pairibg of pryor and wilder that i remembee from my childhood. See no evil, hear no evil. Lets see id that holds up as well.

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  • flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    The Toy? The movie where a rich white boy literally "buys" Richard Pryor as plaything/companion for himself, but it's okay because they learn to be friends? That holds up?

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  • Atlas in ChainsAtlas in Chains Registered User regular
    I want to vote on a ranked list of comic actors from the 70's and 80's just to see where Gene Wilder lands in relation to Martin Short. Also, no matter where Eugene Levy lands, I will complain it's too low.

  • CoinageCoinage Heaviside LayerRegistered User regular
    Nightcrawler was added to Netflix this month, and if like me you missed it, you may think "but I already watched the Oscar-winning films Taxi Driver and Joker". And it's true, all 3 movies feature unsuccessful men in a violent large city doing an Acting. But there's a crucial difference: Nightcrawler is emphatically not the story of a man pushed over the edge by alienation from society. At the beginning of the movie he's broke, unemployed, and alone, but that doesn't bother him. As the incarnation of homo economicus he accepts the position the market has placed him in. And when he does begin to find success in the market niche of helping local news fan racism for ad dollars, his dead-eyed adherence to business school jargon works. It makes people uncomfortable because he's a sociopath, but far from being alienated, he understands the underpinnings of the world better than the people he's talking to.

    You don't need me to tell you that the situation escalates, but, importantly, he doesn't show the slightest hesitation or guilt for his actions. And why should he? He's only looking out for his best opportunities for profit, just like everyone else.

    In conclusion: Jake Gyllenhaal would have won an Oscar if Nightcrawler was new, but because it was released in 2014 when the economy was "good" he was snubbed. Fuck neoliberalism. We live in a society

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  • SorceSorce Registered User regular
    The Toy? The movie where a rich white boy literally "buys" Richard Pryor as plaything/companion for himself, but it's okay because they learn to be friends? That holds up?
    They also team up to fuck with the KKK though.

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  • AtomikaAtomika Insubordinate. And churlish. Registered User regular
    That was a year with several glaring snubs, if I recall

    Nightcrawler was my favorite film of that season

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  • Stabbity StyleStabbity Style Warning: Mothership Reporting Kennewick, WARegistered User regular
    Nightcrawler was so good. It's a movie I kind of want to rewatch, but also really don't because of how unsettling it is. Also had a fantastic score, if I remember correctly.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod


    I'm going to be honest

    I know I'm being manipulated - it's a trailer, that's what they do - but cool location + all-star cast of RADA thespians + edgy remix of classic pop song + I AM HERCULE POIROT gets me absolutely as much as it did the first time

    I think I would be down for about 20 of these

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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited August 20
    “I wyul deliverrrrr yur kilurrrrrr!”

    The accent is teetering right on the edge of ‘Allo ‘Allo and I appreciate that.

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  • JazzJazz Fuck cancer. Un-UKRegistered User regular
    "I wyul fi-yind ze Fallen Madonna wiz ze Big Boobies by van Clomp!"

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  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    I went to see Murder on the Orient Express based on Branagh's amazing double-barrelled moustache and this will be no different

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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Speaking of 'Allo 'Allo, apparently Helga is Christopher Nolan's aunt.

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  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    edited August 20
    I still go "good moaning!" every now and then, much to the confusion of some of these late-20s children I work with.

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  • JazzJazz Fuck cancer. Un-UKRegistered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    Speaking of 'Allo 'Allo, apparently Helga is Christopher Nolan's aunt.

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  • AtomikaAtomika Insubordinate. And churlish. Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »


    I'm going to be honest

    I know I'm being manipulated - it's a trailer, that's what they do - but cool location + all-star cast of RADA thespians + edgy remix of classic pop song + I AM HERCULE POIROT gets me absolutely as much as it did the first time

    I think I would be down for about 20 of these

    I don’t know how many of the stories follow that template, but Agatha Christie wrote nearly 90 stories featuring Poirot



    Jesus that’s a lot of stories

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  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent The World on This SideRegistered User regular
    Is it wrong to hope that Daniel Craig shows up?

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  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Is it wrong to hope that Daniel Craig shows up?

    Yeah, I was initially interested because I thought it might be that continuation of his role in Knives Out.

    Turns out it's just a regular high-budget murder flick. Pass and a half.

  • SnicketysnickSnicketysnick The Greatest Hype Man in WesterosRegistered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    I still go "good moaning!" every now and then, much to the confusion of some of these late-20s children I work with.

    "Listen carefully....I shall say this only once" is a family staple round these parts

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  • RickRudeRickRude Registered User regular
    The Toy? The movie where a rich white boy literally "buys" Richard Pryor as plaything/companion for himself, but it's okay because they learn to be friends? That holds up?

    Yup. Its surprising because i thought itd be cringey watching it now, but it was still a lot of fun. And as someone said, the take down the klan.

  • AtomikaAtomika Insubordinate. And churlish. Registered User regular
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Is it wrong to hope that Daniel Craig shows up?

    Yeah, I was initially interested because I thought it might be that continuation of his role in Knives Out.

    Turns out it's just a regular high-budget murder flick. Pass and a half.

    Um. . it’s a sequel to 2018’s Murder on the Orient Express

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Atomika wrote: »
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Is it wrong to hope that Daniel Craig shows up?

    Yeah, I was initially interested because I thought it might be that continuation of his role in Knives Out.

    Turns out it's just a regular high-budget murder flick. Pass and a half.

    Um. . it’s a sequel to 2018’s Murder on the Orient Express

    Which was good, if that sort of thing is your thing.

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  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Atomika wrote: »
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Is it wrong to hope that Daniel Craig shows up?

    Yeah, I was initially interested because I thought it might be that continuation of his role in Knives Out.

    Turns out it's just a regular high-budget murder flick. Pass and a half.

    Um. . it’s a sequel to 2018’s Murder on the Orient Express

    Which was good, if that sort of thing is your thing.

    Yeah, I'm not saying that as a criticism, just that I'm not at all interested. If I was interested in Agatha Christie murder novels, I'd read them.

  • NobeardNobeard North Carolina: Failed StateRegistered User regular
    Why did Biff, after handing over the Sports Almanac to his younger self, go to his original future and not the future of the hellscape present that Marty and Doc went to? I know the answer is "because the plot demands it", but I just realized this paradox and it tickles my fancy to try and solve it.

    I'm not saying we are going to have an autocratic dystopia, but things keep happening that look like they come from an autocratic dystopia.
  • TexiKenTexiKen O! T! M! Registered User regular
    Nobeard wrote: »
    Why did Biff, after handing over the Sports Almanac to his younger self, go to his original future and not the future of the hellscape present that Marty and Doc went to? I know the answer is "because the plot demands it", but I just realized this paradox and it tickles my fancy to try and solve it.

    I'm guessing by the film's logic shown in the first one, the past being changed didn't fade through to the present fast enough? I'm trying to think how long he was in the past in 1, but the time change started effecting in a day or so, and in 2 it seems like he fixes the past pretty fast, in under 12 hours or so, yeah?

    I don't know, this is why I fucking hate time travel and people who use it are hack fraud writers.

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  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Nobeard wrote: »
    Why did Biff, after handing over the Sports Almanac to his younger self, go to his original future and not the future of the hellscape present that Marty and Doc went to? I know the answer is "because the plot demands it", but I just realized this paradox and it tickles my fancy to try and solve it.

    Bah, easy. Changing the past changes the future, but you can't have multiple parallel timelines, just one running timeline. Marty and Doc being in the future locked that timeline in place and prevented the timeline changes from coming into play. When they left to go back into the past, the timeline was able to then rectify to match the new Biff timeline so the future would then be Biff hellscape (but they wouldn't see it, having already left). The timeline only changes around you if you're from that point in the timeline, which is why 1985 changes around Jennifer and the future changes for Biff after Doc and Marty change everything back. Then the only existing timeline is the one they put in place so it's the only one they can return to in 1985.

    Honestly, it's like you've never had to make up the rules of time travel before.

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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Atomika wrote: »
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Is it wrong to hope that Daniel Craig shows up?

    Yeah, I was initially interested because I thought it might be that continuation of his role in Knives Out.

    Turns out it's just a regular high-budget murder flick. Pass and a half.

    Um. . it’s a sequel to 2018’s Murder on the Orient Express

    Which was good, if that sort of thing is your thing.

    I feel like the 2018 Murder on the Orient Express kinda missed the point.

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  • NobeardNobeard North Carolina: Failed StateRegistered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Atomika wrote: »
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Is it wrong to hope that Daniel Craig shows up?

    Yeah, I was initially interested because I thought it might be that continuation of his role in Knives Out.

    Turns out it's just a regular high-budget murder flick. Pass and a half.

    Um. . it’s a sequel to 2018’s Murder on the Orient Express

    Which was good, if that sort of thing is your thing.

    I feel like the 2018 Murder on the Orient Express kinda missed the point.

    Do tell. I liked the movie but have not read any Agatha Christie books. Nor seen any other adaptations of her books.

    I'm not saying we are going to have an autocratic dystopia, but things keep happening that look like they come from an autocratic dystopia.
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  • navgoosenavgoose Registered User regular
    edited August 21
    Nobeard wrote: »
    Why did Biff, after handing over the Sports Almanac to his younger self, go to his original future and not the future of the hellscape present that Marty and Doc went to? I know the answer is "because the plot demands it", but I just realized this paradox and it tickles my fancy to try and solve it.

    Rule 0 of time travel movies is to break at least one established rule of said time travel movie.

    Alternatively maybe Doc Brown was just wrong about that intricity of time travel.

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  • RedTideRedTide Registered User regular
    I always thought they established Old Man Biff as being the victim of a self fading in 2015?

    He unmakes himself in 1955 when he hands over the almanac and by the time he gets back to 2015 he's struggling to exit the car and breaks his cane because he's on his way out.

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  • AtomikaAtomika Insubordinate. And churlish. Registered User regular
    RedTide wrote: »
    I always thought they established Old Man Biff as being the victim of a self fading in 2015?

    He unmakes himself in 1955 when he hands over the almanac and by the time he gets back to 2015 he's struggling to exit the car and breaks his cane because he's on his way out.

    There’s a scene that was cut that explains what’s going on a little more clearly

  • WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    I really enjoyed Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express, even though I already knew going in who did it. It was a very pretty, very comfortable movie. A little too action-packed for my Poirot tastes, but it was neat.

    Definitely going to watch Death on the Nile as well, provided... well, you know. And, hey, I can't remember who did it in that one, so that's nice.

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  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    Nobeard wrote: »
    Why did Biff, after handing over the Sports Almanac to his younger self, being the largest not simply devour Doc and Marty?

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  • FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    Nightcrawler was one of the reasons why I just passed on Joker, because everything I heard it was a much better movie with much better commentary.
    RedTide wrote: »
    I always thought they established Old Man Biff as being the victim of a self fading in 2015?

    He unmakes himself in 1955 when he hands over the almanac and by the time he gets back to 2015 he's struggling to exit the car and breaks his cane because he's on his way out.

    Why did his cane stay around?

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  • Mc zanyMc zany Registered User regular
    RedTide wrote: »
    I always thought they established Old Man Biff as being the victim of a self fading in 2015?

    He unmakes himself in 1955 when he hands over the almanac and by the time he gets back to 2015 he's struggling to exit the car and breaks his cane because he's on his way out.

    Why did his cane stay around?[/quote]

    Well the scene was deleted but at a guess I would say that inanimate objects take longer to disappear than living ones.

  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    edited August 21
    Nobeard wrote: »
    Why did Biff, after handing over the Sports Almanac to his younger self, go to his original future and not the future of the hellscape present that Marty and Doc went to? I know the answer is "because the plot demands it", but I just realized this paradox and it tickles my fancy to try and solve it.

    It's because he wasn't successful, right? If time is constant then when Biff travels to the Future and sees he should know that his play wasn't successful long term.

    So he should know that either 1985 Biff screws it all up or is stopped by another time traveler.

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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Nobeard wrote: »
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Atomika wrote: »
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Is it wrong to hope that Daniel Craig shows up?

    Yeah, I was initially interested because I thought it might be that continuation of his role in Knives Out.

    Turns out it's just a regular high-budget murder flick. Pass and a half.

    Um. . it’s a sequel to 2018’s Murder on the Orient Express

    Which was good, if that sort of thing is your thing.

    I feel like the 2018 Murder on the Orient Express kinda missed the point.

    Do tell. I liked the movie but have not read any Agatha Christie books. Nor seen any other adaptations of her books.

    Sure.
    The movie climaxes the action with Poirot using an unloaded gun to virtue test the passengers, and then has them get back onto the train afterwards with him giving the denouement of the film.

    The original does not have this at all. Everyone is kept on the train for the entire length of the proceedings, and there is no attempt to cheaply heighten the tension. It all comes down to Poirot ruminating on what true justice is in this case, and having him put his faith in the people victims on the train as opposed to the ideals of ‘the law’.

    Poirot should not be testing the purity of the people on the train (and confining the story to the train is important, letting them get off it and changing the setting is vastly different). It should come down to him realizing where justice truly lies after having heard the stories of everyone on board and fully understanding why the events have taken place as they have.

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  • Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver Registered User, ClubPA regular
    MegaMan001 wrote: »
    Nobeard wrote: »
    Why did Biff, after handing over the Sports Almanac to his younger self, go to his original future and not the future of the hellscape present that Marty and Doc went to? I know the answer is "because the plot demands it", but I just realized this paradox and it tickles my fancy to try and solve it.

    It's because he wasn't successful, right? If time is constant then when Biff travels to the Future and sees he should know that his play wasn't successful long term.

    So he should know that either 1985 Biff screws it all up or is stopped by another time traveler.

    A cut scene in the movie was that Biff, after returning to the future, fades away in horror because in the alternate future he gets killed at some point.

    You can explain it away by saying that changing the future is not instantaneous, it takes ‘time’ for shit to get adjusted, which is why Marty slowly fades away in the first movie as opposed to instantly vanishing the moment he ruins his parents’ first meeting.

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