Herbie Rides Again

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Herbie Rides Again
Ridesagain.jpeg
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Produced by Bill Walsh
Written by Gordon Buford
Bill Walsh
Starring Helen Hayes
Ken Berry
Stefanie Powers
Keenan Wynn
John McIntire
Music by George Bruns
Cinematography Frank V. Phillips
Editing by Cotton Warburton
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release dates
  • June 6, 1974 (1974-06-06)
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $38,229,000[1]

Herbie Rides Again is a 1974 comedy film. It is the sequel to The Love Bug, released six years earlier, and the second in a series of movies made by Walt Disney Productions starring an anthropomorphic 1963 Volkswagen racing Beetle named Herbie. The movie starred Helen Hayes, Stefanie Powers, Ken Berry, and Keenan Wynn reprising his villainous role as Alonzo Hawk (originated in the films The Absent-Minded Professor and Son of Flubber).

Herbie Rides Again was followed by two more theatrical sequels Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo and Herbie Goes Bananas. A later theatrical sequel, Herbie: Fully Loaded was released in 2005.

Plot[edit]

Ruthless real estate magnate Alonzo Hawk (Keenan Wynn) is pursuing his newest indoor shopping center, the 130-story Hawk Plaza. His only obstacle is an archaic firehouse inhabited by "Grandma" Steinmetz (Helen Hayes), widow of its former owner, Fire Captain Steinmetz, and aunt of mechanic Tennessee Steinmetz (Buddy Hackett), who appeared in The Love Bug; her displaced neighbor, flight attendant Nicole Harris (Stefanie Powers); and their sentient machines: Herbie the Love Bug, an orchestrion that chooses its own songs, and a retired cable car known as "Old No. 22". It is explained that Tennessee has gone to Tibet to visit his ailing philosophy teacher, while Herbie's former owner, Jim Douglas, has gone to Europe.

Hawk has made numerous attempts at evicting Mrs. Steinmetz, intending to imprison her in a retirement home of his own making; but Hawk's lawyers have been unsuccessful in these attempts, and when his lawyer nephew Willoughby Whitfield (Ken Berry) comes to visit him, Hawk sends him to Mrs. Steinmetz in their stead. Having met the firehouse's inhabitants, Willoughby becomes disillusioned and decides to return home to Missouri. Having lost him, Hawk attempts to capture Herbie; but when Hawk insults him, Herbie causes a series of traffic collisions and discards Hawk at his own office door, where Hawk orders his subordinates to capture Herbie again, followed by a Policeman giving Hawk several tickets for traffic offenses. While Herbie takes Mrs. Steinmetz to market, they are chased by Hawk's men; whereupon Herbie makes several daring escapes culminating in travel through the 1909 landmark Sheraton Palace Hotel and along a suspension cable on the Golden Gate Bridge, leaving Mrs. Steinmetz unaware of his activity throughout.

Willoughby having decided to go home in disguise, he is convinced by Nicole to stay. On their return to the firehouse, they find that every item of furniture has been removed by Hawk; whereupon Mrs. Steinmetz, Willoughby, Nicole, and Herbie track the theft to a warehouse, which they invade to recover the furniture and whence they return, Mrs. Steinmetz riding "No. 22" while Nicole and Willoughby follow in Herbie. Piled into "No. 22" is Steinmetz's furniture, as well as a drunk named Judson (John McIntire), who thinks himself on a public cable car. Hawk pursues; but Herbie distracts him and later rescues Mrs. Steinmetz and Judson from a potential crash.

Hawk thereafter recruits an independent demolition agent named Loostgarten (Chuck McCann); while Mrs Steinmetz decides to confront Hawk herself. Accompanied by Willoughby, she drives Herbie onto the window-cleaning machine of Hawk’s skyscraper to reach his office, where Mrs. Steinmetz overhears a telephoned conversation with Loostgarten about the deal to demolish the firehouse and activates the window cleaning machine to fill the office with foam and water. This done, Herbie pursues Hawk around the building's perimetre until Mrs Steinmetz orders him to desist.

Disguising his voice to resemble his uncle's, Willoughby directs Loostgarten to demolish Hawk's own house. Loostgarten then telephones Hawk to confirm the demolition, waking Hawk from several nightmares showing himself at the mercy of Herbie; whereupon Hawk gives confirmation, but belatedly realizes that he has condemned his own residence and attacks Loostgarten.

In the morning, Hawk calls a truce with Mrs. Steinmetz, and thinking him sincere Willoughby and Nicole go for dinner, while Mrs. Steinmetz invites Judson to a similar meeting; but Hawk violates the truce by sending earthmovers to crush the firehouse and its inhabitants, prompting Herbie to go in search of Nicole and Willoughby. In the absence of Herbie, the only means of defense is an antique Fire hose, which Judson uses against the earthmovers.

Having obtained Nicole and Willoughby, Herbie animates several other Volkswagen Beetles from various places in the city, with whom to frighten Hawk's men and ruin his scheme. Hawk is pursued from the grounds by Herbie, and later captured by the police; and later, Nicole and Willoughby are married, and ride Herbie through an arch formed by the other Volkswagen Beetles.

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Cast[edit]

Keenan Wynn's character Alonzo Hawk had previously appeared in The Absent-Minded Professor and Son of Flubber. Fritz Feld, who appears as the Maitre d', and Vito Scotti, who plays the Italian cab driver, also appear in the sequel Herbie Goes Bananas as crewmen of the ship Sun Princess. Dan Tobin, Raymond Bailey, Iggie Wolfington, Robert S. Carson and John Zaremba played Hawk's attorneys; Disney regular Norman Grabowski played "Security guard #2;" John Myhers played the San Francisco's Office of the President announcer; and Alan Carney played the Announcer at the Chicken Tournament.

Deleted scenes[edit]

The GAF View-Master reel set for the film shows a still from a deleted sequence where one of Hawk's nightmares has him about to be treated by a pair of white VW Beetle doctors, who decide to "take his carburetor out and have a look at it". As they approach Hawk, he is woken by Loostgarten.

Props[edit]

The Herbies used for the film consisted both of 1963 and 1965 Beetles.

The included 1965 models make for some bad continuity errors as the windows are noticeably larger on the 1965 cars. This was to become worse in subsequent Herbie films as even later model cars were included.

One of the VW Beetles used in the deleted nightmare sequence (see above) was first used in The Love Bug as a stunt car during the El Dorado race (also used for interior filming). Many years after Herbie Rides Again, the car's red cross, mechanical arms, and eyeball headlights were removed and restored to former appearance.

"Hawk Plaza" is shown as a shining, twin-tower skyscraper touted as "The World's Highest Building". Coincidentally, The Towering Inferno, released six months later, featured "The Glass Tower", a shining, golden single-tower 138-story San Francisco skyscraper touted as "The Tallest Building in the World". (New York's twin towers of the World Trade Center, "The Tallest Buildings in the World" had officially opened in 1973, and Chicago's 108-story Sears Tower took that honor in 1974.)

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

Herbie Rides Again opened on June 6, 1974 in 2,178 theaters and 1,761 drive-in theaters. The film grossed $38,229,000 at the domestic box office, accumulating $17,500,000 in theatrical rentals, adding a total of $55,729,000.

Video releases[edit]

Herbie Rides Again was released on VHS on October 15, 1981 and re-released in 1985, 1992, 1995 and September 16, 1997. It was released on DVD in Region 1 on May 4, 2004 and was re-released as a 2-DVD double feature set along with Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo on April 26, 2009. A Blu-Ray DVD release for Herbie Rides Again has been rumored to happen but has not been announced.

Reception[edit]

Herbie Rides Again has received mostly positive reviews, scoring an 80% at Rotten Tomatoes.com.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Box Office Information for Herbie Rides Again". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Herbie Rides Again at Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 January 17. 

External links[edit]