A fun-filled Disney romp about Herbie – a Volkswagen Beetle who develops a distinct personality and its own ideas of where it wants to go. Herbie’s owner (Dean Jones) goes along for the ride – like he has a choice!
Herbie begins his life in the care of race driver Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson), a stuffy Brit with a lead foot and a short temper.
When Thorndyke’s abuse gets to be too much, Herbie is rescued by kinder, gentler racer Jim Douglas (Jones), a perpetual loser on the track. With the Bug’s help, Jim goes on a hot streak, but the driver doesn’t realise the car’s doing most of the work.
Seeing the Bug’s real worth, Thorndyke wants Herbie back. Naturally, Jim refuses, and naturally, Thorndyke doesn’t take no for an answer.
Underhanded tactics lead to car chasing mayhem, which leads to the slapstick humour everyone’s been waiting for.
It was familiar ground for director Robert Stevenson, whose resume included Disney live-action classics like The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) and Mary Poppins (1964).
The Love Bug continued that success, becoming one of Disney’s most successful live-action films.
The wildly popular Herbie continued his antics in three feature sequels over the next eleven years, as well as a short-lived 1982 prime-time series.
This heart-warming family comedy is aimed at the kids, yet it offers a bit of sophistication.
The film contains ample pure Disney slapstick and clever stunts, mostly set in the streets of San Francisco. The results are often hilarious.