The Love Bug

( 3 )


Walt Disney Pictures' production of The Love Bug, directed by Robert Stevenson, was one of the studio's most popular and enduring feature films of the 1960s, yielding three sequels and a made-for-TV remake a generation later, though it never got much respect on home video. There was one early laserdisc edition that was never upgraded, and that was it until May 2003, when Buena Vista issued this double-disc DVD Special Edition. The film-to-video transfer (done in a non-anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio to ...
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Walt Disney Pictures' production of The Love Bug, directed by Robert Stevenson, was one of the studio's most popular and enduring feature films of the 1960s, yielding three sequels and a made-for-TV remake a generation later, though it never got much respect on home video. There was one early laserdisc edition that was never upgraded, and that was it until May 2003, when Buena Vista issued this double-disc DVD Special Edition. The film-to-video transfer (done in a non-anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio to recapture the theatrical proportions of the image) is just beautiful. Every flesh tone and some of the smallest details (down to the petals of the roses that Dean Jones' character buys for Michele Lee) are presented about as well as they were the day the movie opened. So it's a pleasure to watch, especially compared with any presentation that the movie has had since 1969 -- and that alone is a selling point. The first disc also contains the 1951 cartoon Susie the Little Blue Coupe, featuring Sterling Holloway as narrator, but the real treat is the audio commentary track featuring Jones, Buddy Hackett, and Lee. Hackett is priceless in his recollections, funny and insightful within the limitations of his memory. Jones has the better memory, but is somewhat less entertaining, while Lee still displays a girlish charm in observing herself as an actress more than 30 years later. Surprisingly, none of them offers much in the way of recollections about director Robert Stevenson, though Jones has a wealth of memories concerning various members of the crew. Supporting the movie on the second disc are various featurettes, both contemporary and from the period of the movie's release, principally focusing on Herbie the Volkswagen, plus two deleted scenes, production stills, storyboards, and other artifacts from the planning stages of the picture. Nobody involved seemed prepared for the immense success of the movie, one of the last major successes of the "old" Disney. No one seems to have reckoned that, in addition to being extremely entertaining in its zany way and filled with characters who were fun to watch (with Lee sexy enough to draw the attention of older boys and men bringing their kids to see it), the movie had the good fortune to appear in the midst of the Vietnam War, and during a very tough, strife-filled year domestically. A fantasy about a clever car -- and a VW "Bug" at that (the most looked-down-upon vehicle on the road in America at the time) -- was just what the doctor ordered. The two discs on this set are both easy to maneuver , with straightforward menus and selections, that are entertainingly designed.
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Special Features

Audio commentary with Dean Jones, Michelle Lee, and Buddy Hackett; "Susie the Little Blue Coupe" cartoon ; "That Lovable Bug" featurette; "The Many Lives of Herbie" featurette; Herbie Mania; "Lost Treasures: Searching for Herbie" featurette; 1969 Disney studio album; Production gallery; Behind-the-scenes promo; Love Bug Day at Disneyland; The man who gave Herbie his voice; Deleted scenes; Theatrical trailer; DVD credits; Radio spots; Sound Studio 1: "Herbie on the Rocks"; Sound Studio 2: "Thorndyke and the Bear"; Production stills; Comic book; Biographies of Dean Jones, Michelle Lee, Buddy Hackett, David Tomlinson, and Robert Stevenson; Advertising material; Screenplay excerpt from "Herbie Goes Over the Edge"
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Incredibly, in a movie year that included The Graduate, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, Rosemary's Baby, Yellow Submarine, Planet of the Apes, and Academy Award winner Oliver!, 1968's top-grossing film was The Love Bug. Disney's live-action fantasy showcased a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own: a rubber-burning, wheelie-popping pre-New Beetle that sees the good in the heart of an arrogant, washed-up race car driver Dean Jones and saves him. The oily villains here are David Tomlinson, the neglectful dad in Mary Poppins, and Joe Flynn, the perpetually flustered Capt. Binghampton from McHale's Navy. Meanwhile, Jones's pit crew features Buddy Hackett, as the spiritually attuned welding artist Tennessee Steinmetz, and Michele Lee, a spunky girlfriend who doesn't take a backseat to the guys. Set in San Francisco, this film's images of hippies and beatniks look closely -- one of them is played by Jones are dated to be sure, but the scenes of "the little car" taking control of the wheel and playing matchmaker are still irresistible. You can expect to get a lot of mileage out of this revved-up DVD. The full tank of features includes archival footage of the film's production and publicity "Love Bug Day at Disneyland", breezy commentary by Jones and Hackett, and an endearingly perky Lee, who points out some continuity errors. Highly recommended.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
One of the highest-grossing films of 1968, The Love Bug is a surprisingly agreeable "family film." True, it's blatantly manipulative and most of its characters -- especially "bad guy" Peter Thorndyke -- are essentially "one note" types. But those types fit well within the confines of the formulaic script, and the basic premise -- that a car can have a soul and a life of its own -- may be silly, but it's still engaging. And strangely enough, the character of Herbie really does have appeal; even against one's will, a viewer comes to care for this bizarre conglomeration of metal and human emotions. The human cast is enjoyable, too. Dean Jones is a little on the dull side, but he's also saddled with the stuffiest role -- and he does manage to be quite believable conversing with an automobile. Buddy Hackett and David Tomlinson are over the top with some groan-inducing jokes, but they're fun, and Michele Lee is enchanting. The special effects have not aged well, but they're good enough to pass. Children who enjoy The Love Bug may want to check out the three sequels, but viewers should be advised that the series starts to run out of gas before too long.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/20/2003
  • UPC: 786936192445
  • Original Release: 1968
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Thx
  • Sound: THX-Supervised Mastering, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:48:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 26,677

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dean Jones Jim
Michele Lee Carole
David Tomlinson Thorndyke
Buddy Hackett Tennessee
Joe Flynn Havershaw
Benson Fong Mr. Wu
Joe E. Ross Detective
Iris Adrian Carhop
Bert Convy
Bob Drake
Ted Duncan
Brian Fong
Alan Fordney
Robert Foulk
Ned Glass
Andy Granatelli Himself
Chick Hearn
Nicole Jaffe
Barry Kelley Police Sergeant
Fred Krone
Gil Lamb
Hope Lange
Gary Owens
Robert Reed
Pete L. Renoudet
Dale Van Sickel
Jesse Wayne
Gerald Jann
Fred Stromsoe
Wally Boag
Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez
Jim McCullough Sr.
Technical Credits
Robert Stevenson Director
George Bruns Score Composer
Carroll Clark Art Director
Edward Colman Cinematographer
Robert O. Cook Sound/Sound Designer
Don DaGradi Screenwriter
Peter Ellenshaw Special Effects
Hal G. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Howard Jensen Special Effects
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Danny Lee Special Effects
Eustace Lycett Special Effects
Otis Malcolm Makeup
Alan Maley Special Effects
John Mansbridge Art Director, Production Designer
Robert Mattey Special Effects
Dean Thomas Sound/Sound Designer
Bill Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer
Bill Walsh Producer, Screenwriter
Cotton Warburton Editor
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits/Demolition Derby [2:59]
2. A Driver [3:08]
3. Muzzled [6:29]
4. Trick Car [10:12]
5. "Herbie" [5:23]
6. Racing [10:48]
7. Thorndyke's Plot [8:36]
8. The Riverside Race [2:11]
9. A Very Special Little Car [1:17]
10. Herbie Runs Away [8:32]
11. El Dorado [8:16]
12. Thorndyke's Dirty Tricks [:48]
13. The Last Car [12:36]
14. Run for the Gold [6:50]
15. A Tang Wu Enterprise/End Credits [6:49]
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Side #1 --
   Bonus Material
      Audio Commentary
      Cartoon: Susie, the Little Blue Coupe
      Register Your DVD
   Scene Selection
   Sneak Peeks
      Disney Family Favorites
   Set Up
         English for the Hearing Impaired
Side #2 -- The Love Bug (Bonus Material)
   Bonus Material
      Lost Treasures
      The Love Bug Production Archives
         Production Gallery
         Behind-The-Scenes Promo
         Love Bug Day at Disneyland
         The Man Who Gave Herbie His Voice
         Deleted Scenes: "Used Car Lot" & "Playground"
         Theatrical Trailer
         DVD Credits
            Production Stills
               Production Photos
               Concept Art
            Comic Book
               Dean Jones
               Michele Lee
               Buddy Hackett
               David Tomlinson
               Robert Stevenson
               Press Book
            Production Documents
            Screenplay Excerpt
         Audio Archives
            Radio Spots
            Sound Studio 1: "Herbie On The Rocks"
            Sound Studio 2: "Thorndyke and The Bear"
      1969 Disney Studio Album
      That Lovable Bug
      The Many Live of Herbie
      Herbie Mania
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Classic Herbie is fun and family-friendly

    My kids love this original movie. It is fun, clean and full of complete silliness. Herbie is a great hero. This movie is much better than the remake, which we also have.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Good yuks, nostalgia, and just plain fun!

    Ahhhh...takes me back. Adults who remember three hour trips with five college students packed in a VW bug will get a kick out of this delightful fanciful tale. That's not what this movie's about, but to this day that's what I am reminded of when I see a "bug." The actors, Dean Jones and Michelle Lee, pull off this good old fashioned love story without looking too silly. Sit down in the livingroom with a bowl of popcorn and a Coke, and treat the family to a fun Saturday night at home. If you worked at it, I guess you could find some discussion fodder for afterwards, but for me, it was just clean fun!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews