Rainy Day Movie is a feature here on Living With a Nerd that provides short insights into movies and series that you should save for a rainy day. In this edition of Rainy Day Movie, we take a look at the hilariously overdone Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future.
With a slight art-film feel and constant breaking of the fourth wall, Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (AKA Changes His Profession) is one heck of a wacky movie. Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future is a Soviet film from 1973 about a scientist that creates a machine capable of opening portals through time. Through a rather funny mishap, he accidently swaps the places of Ivan the Terrible and Ivan the small time crook…who just happen to look fairly close to identical. The portal closes, and suddenly Ivan the Terrible is stuck in 1973 Soviet Russia and Ivan the small time crook is stuck back in mid-1500’s Moscow.
With surprisingly high production values, the picture looks great on this DVD transfer. Things can get a bit grainy at times, but overall scenes are clear and audio is clean. I don’t know how accurate the translation is, but the script is absolutely hilarious. Some of the comedy is very physical, but most of it comes in the form of sharp retorts and one-liners. The number of possible destructions to the timeline of history are humorous as well, such as Ivan the Terrible seeing a painting of him killing his own son, or the Swedish Ambassador back in the 1500’s being given a ball-point pen to distract him.
The time machine itself is a big bubbly looking thing that seems like it would fall apart if someone just tripped over it (or if it had a giant spear thrown into it…) Inexplicable liquids fill flasks surrounding the device, with knobs and levers all over the place. It’s almost as if the filmmakers purposely made the contraption look ridiculous, either for comedic effect or just because they felt like it. There is no way they were trying to go for a “serious” looking time machine, though…this thing is crazy.
With a great script, good visuals, and hijinks galore, Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future is a hilariously awesome movie. It clocks in at nearly 2 hours and doesn’t feel very fast-paced, so save this one for a rainy afternoon.