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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.67%
Average: 6.67%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 3.33%

1 review, 24 user ratings

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Parent Trap, The (1961)
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by Dr. Isaksson

"This ain't the Olsen Twins"
5 stars

Walt Disney's "The Parent Trap" made in 1961 was a highly technical achievement at the time using an intricate split screen camera technique. The film's interesting story was derived from a German children's book entitled "Das Doppelle Lottchen" by Erich Kastner and was bought by the Disney Studios for adaptation to film in 1960. The plot revolves around two identical twins girls separated at birth because of their parents' divorce but in a strange twist of fate, at the age of 13, they accidentally meet. One girl had been raised by her father in California all her life and the other by her mother in Boston. A highly unlikely situation when you really think about it but Walt loves to tell tales and this one had the makings of a great story.

Hayley Mils was the first and only choice to play the leads after making the hit Disney film Pollyanna. The director of Pollyanna and the subsequent director of The Parent Trap David Swift and Walt Disney both were certain that the 13 year old Oscar winner Mills was definitely deserving of another great vehicle to star in. The only dilemma was how would they manage to get Haley Mills to play identical twins? To star in a film where she had to be in the same room with herself almost all of the time. Well, leave it to Disney to try out their new technical advances on a film that would required such prowess. The end result, needless to say, is a film of joyous romp and thus another Walt Disney classic was born.

The story begins with the twins Sharon and Susan unexpectedly meeting at camp. Susan's two friends fill her head with the notion that that Sharon girl's got some nerve 'stealing her face' and that sets off quite a rivalry. Let's just say the twin girls don't exactly hit it off during their first encounters. In fact, they can't stand one another. But once they get a good battle out of their system and after the dust settles they begin to understand their most unusual situation (that they really are sisters) and once the two grasp this most unbelievable coincidence it sets the ball in motion causing them to take action. Sharon and Susan decide to switch places in order to each live with the other's parent. Sharon will live her father for the first time and Susan will live with her mother. Each gaining the opportunity to experience what it is they have missed out on. Yet, behind it all, the switch has a deeper inclination which the girls are hoping to accomplish. This mix up can only force their Mother and Father to reunite, face to face, hopefully for good. This is the set up. This is The Parent Trap.

Such a dynamic story setting has to rely on good, strong characters who the viewer can care about and I can't say enough about the brilliant casting choices made for this film. Everyone involved gives it their all and they play off of each other brilliantly. Maureen O'Hara is feisty, fun and beautiful as the twins' mother Maggie and her ex-husband is played by the great Brian Keith who gives a fun performance filled with a sort of scatterbrained warmth that heightens the touching interplay between himself, his ex-wife and their twin daughters. Of course the thing that solidifies the film's greatness is the fetching twins played by Hayley Mills who really steal the show as Sharon and Susan. Mills perhaps gives out a bit too much of her english accent in some scenes but her alluring acting ability and charm far outweigh the slight imperfections. Just having to play one character in a lead role is enough for a 13 year old but to play two who are meant to have distinctly opposite personalities deserves high marks for the uniquely beautiful Mills. The rest of cast is also picture perfect and I must make a special note of actress Joanna Barnes who is oh so bitchy and ruthless as Mitch's young, money hungry fiancee Vicky. It is this fantastic grouping of actors that will always ensure greatness and they all deliver. It seems that of all the work Hayley Mills has done she will always be remembered as Susan and Sharon from The Parent Trap. She has said that she still gets approached by people who say that they loved the film and that it has a special place in their hearts.

Strangely, one of the most problematic things about the making of the The Parent Trap for Disney was not the split screen camera workings but of the creation of the title. The film went through tons of working titles like "We Belong Together" to "For Now, For Ever" and even "Petticoats and 'Bluejeans". At one point it became so difficult for anyone to decide on a proper title that Walt Disney decided to hold a contest in the production offices to see who could come up with the best one. The one with the best title would win one hundred dollars. Seemingly out from nowhere, Walt Disney declared the film is going to be called The Parent Trap and that's was it. No one knew who came up with the title and It's unclear whether anyone got the hundred bucks.

The deluxe 2 disc DVD has a very entertaining audio commentary by Director David Swift and Hayley Mills. It's jammed with loads of fun facts about the making of the film and was also very lovingly conversed throughout.

"The Parent Trap" is a film that endures. Each time I watch it I always seem to find something new and refreshing within. It is truly a classy classic. **** 1/2 Stars

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originally posted: 07/10/04 08:18:17
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User Comments

4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
12/29/09 Stephanie i lovee this movi 5 stars
9/08/09 Jeff Wilder Entertaining non-animated Disney screwball comedy 4 stars
7/04/09 Anthony One of my favorite Walt Disney films, it will always be my favorite Hayley Mills films. 5 stars
11/24/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
8/15/08 Melissa This is one of my favorite older movies. I like it better than the remake. 3 stars
6/22/08 R.W. Welch Mills shines in cleverly plotted family comedy. Could have been tightened some. 4 stars
11/11/07 tammie You had to see it in the 1960's. It's a great little movie and has Brian Keith! 4 stars
10/27/07 jhing it's good to watch,a great movie!,.. 5 stars
12/12/06 Ron Im a 46 yr old male, and i loved this movie 5 stars
11/30/06 Charles Tatum Lots of fun, the cast is perfect 4 stars
11/11/06 Debbie It's the best movie i had ever seen 5 stars
1/28/06 Michael Stay Away From Women Who Punch You 3 stars
7/16/05 stephanie i loved the movie, i would watch it a million times 5 stars
10/17/04 Miles Morley Pollyanna, and The Parent Trap are classics which go hand in hand. Way to go David Swift! 5 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz Family fun 5 stars
7/19/04 Jessica Gill Still one of my favorites. A must-have for any Disney movie collector. 5 stars
7/19/04 twilliams606 This movie is a classic that never gets old. 5 stars
7/10/04 Betty Browne One of the filmdom's finest treasures 5 stars
4/14/04 Chris I loved this movie more than the first. I can't belevie only 4 of us have seen it. 5 stars
7/30/02 Nipple Bomb One of Disney's live-action best 5 stars
11/30/01 Andrew Carden Classic All The Way. Imaginative As A Movie Can Ever Be. 5 stars
6/26/00 Dave Nelson Hayley Mills was a wonderful young actress. Brian Keith & Maureen O'Hara are great also 5 stars
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  21-Jun-1961 (NR)



Directed by
  David Swift

Written by
  David Swift

  Hayley Mills
  Maureen O'Hara
  Brian Keith
  Cathleen Nesbitt
  Charles Ruggles
  Una Merkel

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