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Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo DVD Review

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo

Theatrical Release: June 24, 1977 / Running Time: 105 Minutes / Rating: G

Director: Vincent McEveety

Cast: Dean Jones (Jim Douglas), Don Knotts (Wheely Applegate), Julie Sommars (Diane Darcy), Jacques Marin (Inspector Bouchet/Double X), Roy Kinnear (Quincey), Bernard Fox (Max), Eric Braeden (Bruno Von Stickle), Alan Caillou (Emile)

The Herbie films make up the largest live action Disney franchise, with a total of four theatrical films, one television movie, and a short lived TV series. This third installment, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, marks the return of Dean Jones. It also marks the addition of Don Knotts, the comic actor who has made a number of Disney films over the years and voices a character in next year's Chicken Little.

In the world of Herbie films, it has been twelve years since the charismatic Volkswagen was a successful racecar. (Even though Monte Carlo was made less than 9 years after The Love Bug.) Jim Douglas (Jones) is again Herbie's owner and driver. With the events of Herbie Rides Again entirely forgotten, Douglas and his assistant Wheely Applegate (Knotts) are entering a trans-France race from Paris to Monte Carlo.

Around the same time, two bumbling British thiefs (Bernard Fox and Willy Wonka's Roy Kinnear) are pulling off the heist of an extremely valuable jewel. Triggering off the alarms, the crooks try to ease pass the authorities, and in the process, they stick the gem inside Herbie.

Dean Jones AND Don Knotts?! Pinch me, I must be dreaming! No slow ride for Herbie!

Meanwhile, Herbie's got something different altogether on his mind. He's fallen in love with a fellow racecar, and his road performance is becoming erratic. Diane Darcy (Julie Sommars) owns the object of Herbie's affections. Finding Jim's explanations about Herbie's personality and pursuers to be ridiculous, Diane thinks that he is out to deter a female driver from entering the race.

Despite the presence of two of Disney's finest comic talents of the decade, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo feels like a big step down from the first two films. While there's good chemistry from Knotts and Jones, there is a real excess of race scenes, the weak point of the first film, which here are not as original and are even less exciting.

Herbie's role is as big in Monte Carlo as it's ever been, and this seems to be the film's shortcoming. Trying to spread such little story over 105 minutes, the film wears thin. A bit more development among the human characters and less repetitive driving scenes would have made better use of the cast and made for a more entertaining film.

Buy Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo from Amazon.com DVD Details

1.33:1 Cropped Fullscreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Closed Captioned
Release Date: May 4, 2004
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
White Keepcase


Unfortunately, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo has been reformatted from its 1.66:1 original theatrical ratio. DVD releases in Europe and Australia presented the film in letterboxed widescreen. Here, we just get reformatted fullscreen and somewhat disappointing picture quality too.

It's tough to tell if the fullscreen transfer is cropped, open-matte, or a mixture of both. Whatever the case, there were no noticeable problems with framing. The film often did lack the sharpness and vitality of The Love Bug and Herbie Rides Again.

The dynamic duo make comeback talk. Their pompous, mustachioed foreign competitors laugh at little Herbie.

There's also a fair amount of artifacts that detract from picture quality. On the plus side, colors are vibrant and fleshtones seem pretty much on-the-mark. Certain parts of the film are not troubled at all, and look fine.

The film is remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1. The surround speakers come to life only for music, but they are used quite effectively for this. Dialogue and sound effects felt like a 1970s Disney film, and the DVD track does a satisfactory job of reproducing them without problem. There isn't any channel separation, but nonetheless, the surround sound does help create an environment for the film.


Along with the other two Herbie sequels, Monte Carlo contains no bonus features, but is covered some in the substantial extras of The Love Bug's two-disc Special Edition. The menus are very basic 16x9 stills.

The disc opens with a 90-second trailer for classic live action Disney films on video and DVD, highlighting The Love Bug, The Parent Trap, The Apple Dumpling Gang and sequel, The Absent Minded Professor, The Love Bug, Escape to Witch Mountain and its sequel.

Mr. Salt did NOT get what he wanted! Opps!


Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo isn't as funny or as much fun as the two previous Herbie films. Furthermore, the subpar fullscreen transfer is a disappointment. Some Herbie fans may like that the Beetle has a larger role than the second film and these folks probably won't be deterred from adding this to their collection at any rate. In any event, this DVD shouldn't be a higher priority than the superior Love Bug and Herbie Rides Again.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com
Also available in The Herbie Collection (release date: June 1, 2004)

UltimateDisney.com | Review Index | Live Action (Pre-1980) Films Page | May 4 Catalogue Releases

Related Reviews
The Love Bug (1969) | Herbie Rides Again (1974) | Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)
Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
Snowball Express (1972) | Blackbeard's Ghost (1968) | Monkeys, Go Home! (1967)
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) | The Biscuit Eater (1972) | Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
Pete's Dragon (1977) | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) | The Rescuers (1977)

Reviewed April 28, 2004.