The Love Bug

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Details At A Glance

Category Family Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1969 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 103:17 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Robert Stevenson

Warner Home Video
Starring Dean Jones
Michele Lee
David Tomlinson
Buddy Hackett
Joe Flynn
Benson Fong
Andy Granatelli
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music George Bruns

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame (?) MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono)
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    The Love Bug is a Disney classic. Ostensibly starring Dean Jones (Jim), Michele Lee (Carole), Buddy Hackett (Tennessee Steinmetz) and David Tomlinson (Thorndyke), the real star of this movie is Herbie, the Love Bug. For those of you too young to remember, Herbie is a VW Beetle with a mind and personality of his own.

    The gist of the story is that Herbie is unloved and unwanted, until Jim, a struggling racecar driver, shows him some compassion. Herbie is so moved by this that he follows Jim home. Through a series of misadventures, Jim comes to own Herbie, and races him. Herbie loves to race, and Jim becomes quite successful on the race track, much to the chagrin of Thorndyke, Jim's arch-rival. Jim, of course, presumes that it is his driving skill that is leading to his success on the track, but we know better, and soon, Jim does as well, though almost not soon enough.

    It all comes down to the final race of the season, where Thorndyke tries to win with a host of dirty tricks. Will Herbie come through?

    There isn't too much to this plot, which is firmly targeted at a younger age range, and the special effects are very dated-looking, but this movie is just a good, fun, clean, lighthearted and enjoyable way to spend a little under two hours. And Herbie is just soooo cute and funny that you just can't help but like him.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (4:3). It is not 16x9 enhanced. Judging by the composition of the shots, this appears to be a Full Frame transfer of the original movie which was presented at an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 rather than a zoomed in Pan & Scan transfer. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me at all if an old laserdisc transfer was used to create this DVD.

    The transfer looked like a 1969 movie. It was very reminiscent of sitting in front of the TV on a lazy Saturday afternoon watching the Saturday afternoon movie matinee, except for the fact that there were no commercial breaks. There was not a great deal of sharpness and clarity in this transfer, but it remained acceptable at almost all times. There was a small section of footage which was quite out of focus between 61:40 - 62:04. There was not a lot of shadow detail, either, but again, this remained perfectly acceptable given the age of the movie.

    The colours were generally well rendered, though with a dated look about them. The opening car racing sequence looked very washed out, but once the movie proper started, the colour returned to a more normal saturation level.

    Occasional MPEG artefacts could be seen during scene transitions, with some blockiness apparent, but nothing that was too severe. There was a small amount of aliasing at times, but once again, nothing to be overly concerned about. At times, there was significant image wobble, though the origin of this problem is unclear - it may have been a result of the telecine process, or it may be inherent in the film itself. The worst point in the transfer for this is from 24:48 - 24:57.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono), and French Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono). The default soundtrack is the English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was easily understood, even though it was quite compressed and frequency limited.

    There were no audio sync problems.

    The score by George Bruns sounded dated but suited the movie just fine.

    The surround channels were not used.

    The .1 channel was not used.


    As is typical for Buena Vista discs, there are no extras whatsoever on this disc.


    This is a standard 4:3 menu, with no remarkable features.

R4 vs R1

    This disc is unavailable in Region 1.


    The Love Bug is an old classic, that is acceptably presented on DVD. Whether or not it is worth paying $34.95 for a dated, Full Frame mono transfer is up to you. If you have children, or just have fond memories of Herbie, then the answer is a probable yes, otherwise, perhaps a rental will suffice.

    The video quality is acceptable given the age of the source material.

    The audio quality is acceptable given the age of the source material.

    The extras - what extras?

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

© Michael Demtschyna
14th September 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer