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The Love Bug (1968)

The Love Bug (1968)



Dean Jones

Michele Lee

David Tomlinson

Buddy Hackett


Directed by Robert Stevenson


You know how some movies age well with time? Then there are some movies that are just timeless, no matter when you see it, it will always be a classic. The Love Bug is neither of these movies. I recall seeing this movie when I was quite younger, and I was captured by the idea of an anthropomorphic car just wanting to be the one and only in his driver’s eye. I guess the ease of satisfaction that came from the bad guy getting oil splashed on his face and sprayed on his shoes were enough to have young me smile. Now watching it, I dozed off twice and had to start watching the movie again from the start twice.

It is not that the story is bad, it is just boring, and the antics of the car were mild and easy to enjoy, but the races were too annoying and the gimmicks that happened on the racetrack made me lose more interest in finding this movie exciting.

Then there is the needless betting, and the back-n-forth of who will end up owning the car was also tiresome.

The Love Bug was the first in a series of movies that followed the adventures of Herbie. Herbie is the anthropomorphic Volkswagen Beetle car. He does not talk but has a mind of its own and does everything it can to make sure that his new owner gets ahead not only in the races, but in life.

The movie does not make any mention to the origin of Herbie all we know is that it is a unique car with those above listed features. Herbie is a race car and can take on any race car and win.

The movie’s protagonist is Jim who came across Herbie when he went by a car showroom and was struck by the beauty of another car. His interest also peaked when he met the showroom lady Carole, his love interest. The showroom owner Peter (portrayed by the magnificent David Tomlinson [ Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks]) is the antagonist in this movie. When Jim was admiring the car, he could not afford, Herbie bumped into him as he was leaving. We see Peter being mean to the existence of Herbie and asked for it to be thrown in the back. Herbie sneaks out and follows Jim home, the police were called, and they traced Herbie’s whereabout to Jim. Jim was forced to buy Herbie to avoid the charges of theft. At first Jim struggled to control Herbie and tried to give him back. But when he finally decided to work on the car, he discovered that it was a race car and from there, Jim and Herbie were winning races. Peter now wanted Herbie back and started pulling all possible things to get Herbie back in his shop to discover what could make a Beetle beat race cars.

Disney made many more movies after this 1968 one and I guess they milked the hell out of this franchise before the laid it to rest.


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