This is a cutie, the story of a little foreign car whose philosophy is ‘be nice to me and I’ll be nice to you’. Because Dean Jones, a second-rate racing driver, objects to David Tomlinson, a wealthy, but stuffy, racer, kicking it, the little car – a Volkswagen – adopts Jones and wins a flock of races for him.
For sheer inventiveness of situation and the charm that such an idea projects, The Love Bug rates as one of the better entries of the Disney organization.
Treatment is light and imaginative, and Herbie gradually takes on all the attributes of a human. Herbie is all heart, while having a will of iron, muscles of steel, the strength of 10 and a stubborn streak.
Direction by Robert Stevenson, who also helmed the classic Mary Poppins, is fast and fanciful, warmly attuned to the demands of the premise and getting the most from his cast.
Jones delivers well as the driver who thinks it’s his driving which wins him all those races.