Yet again, watching this film, I can’t help thinking... it’s nothing short of a miracle that it was released at all in that time and place. As if the Thaw wasn’t long over. As if the sixties were still swinging. A play by Bulgakov? A song by Vysotsky? Impossible. Не может быть! (No, that would be the name of the next Gaidai’s movie, not even remotely as successful as Иван Васильевич. The era of slapstick comedy was coming to an end.) But here you are: a genuine Soviet blockbuster. Forty years later, still funny, still immensely popular.