The Love Bug

Earlier this week, I wrote a review for 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea that discussed the treatment of some of Disney’s classic movies on DVD.  The Love Bug is no exception; Disney stuffed this two-disc set with everything it could find.

For those not familiar with the title, The Love Bug tells the story of a down-and-out race-car driver by the name of Jim Douglas.  Douglas is played by the go-to male lead for Disney movies in the 60s and 70s: Dean Jones.  Buddy Hackett turns in a brilliant performance as Douglas’s sidekick, Tennessee Steinmetz.  As a matter of fact, watching Hackett in this role reminds one of his vocal role in The Little Mermaid.  Michelle Lee, best known for her role on TV’s Knots Landing, plays the love interest.  David Tomlinson plays the “villain,” while evoking memories of his role as the father on Mary Poppins.

Of course, the real star of the movie is Herbie, the little VW Bug with a spirit of his own.  Herbie is what brings Douglas and Carole together and continues to find ways to force them to spend time together.  As the movie goes on, Herbie one-ups each stunt to a climatic finish to a race.  By the end of the movie, it is hard to not think of Herbie as a real entity, even though he is just a car.

What I noticed is that Disney really tried to appeal to the generation pf the late 60s.  Set in San Francisco, the viewer is treated to many images of hippies, peace symbols, and terminology used that doesn’t seem forced.  It should be noted that Disney also flirted with the subtle innuendo, such as the first look at Carole and Douglas’s apparent reputation.

Presented in wide-screen format, the two-disc set also has the following features:

  • Audio commentaries from the director
  • 5.1 audio remastering
  • Over 10 different videos about various aspects of production
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Radio spots
  • A cartoon that could have been the blueprint for the Herbie part of the story

Again, it was well-worth the extra 2-3 hours to go through all of the extra features.

My advice:  Grab this movie, the family, and pop some popcorn — #53 will never come in last…

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