Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973)

Now that you’ve got Ivan the Terrible in your kitchen, what are you gonna do with him?

Before watching Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future, it hadn’t ever dawned on me that anything coming out of Soviet Russia could be goofy. Holy crap, this movie goofy. I’d first seen this in my Russian class and I’ve been wanting to see it again for the longest time. What better time than right after watching Eisenstein’s stunning classic Ivan the Terrible?

Shurik, a recurring character in Leonid Gaidai‘s films, here plays a bumbling scientist working on perfecting his time machine. When trying to prove to his humorless, bureaucracy-obsessed landlord Ivan Vasilyevich Bunsha that his experiments are worthwhile, Shurik accidentally sets off the machine and sends Bunsha (along with a burglar named Miloslavsky) to sixteenth-century Moscow. The antics don’t stop there, of course, because while 1972 Moscow lost a landlord and a thief, it gained none-other than the infamous Tsar Ivan Grozny!

Naturally, hilarity, misunderstandings, and musical numbers ensue as each Ivan tries to get back to his home century. What doesn’t sound attractive about that? I demand you see it.


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