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The Parent Trap (1961)

Approved | | Comedy, Family, Romance | 21 June 1961 (USA)
Teenage twin sisters swap places and scheme to reunite their divorced parents.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (written for the screen by)
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Popularity
532 ( 295)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Charles McKendrick (as Charlie Ruggles)
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Cathleen Nesbitt ...
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Miss Inch (as Ruth Mc Devitt)
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Edna Robinson
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Miss Grunecker
Frank De Vol ...
Mr. Eaglewood
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Storyline

Hayley Mills plays twins who, unknown to their divorced parents, meet at a summer camp. Products of single parent households, they switch places (surprise!) so as to meet the parent they never knew, and then contrive to reunite them. Written by Stewart M. Clamen <clamen@cs.cmu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What these two look-a-likes do to a marriage is sheer DELIRIUM... What they do to the screen is sheer DELIGHT! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 June 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Operación Cupido  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the scene where Maureen O'Hara and Charles Ruggles are speaking in the bedroom, Ruggles didn't have any place to put the ashes of his cigarette. Director David Swift mentioned someone he knew who put the ashes in his hand, and Ruggles asked for permission to use this. He did this in so casual a way that the ashes would be on the floor seconds later. See more »

Goofs

Immediately after the rainstorm, Sharon and Susan step outside. Everything is dry, as if it never rained. See more »

Quotes

Louise McKendrick: Charles, stop burbling.
Charles McKendrick: I haven't burbled in years!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Parent Trap
by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Sung by Tommy Sands and Annette Funicello
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Classic Charmer
8 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Although the split-screen technique had been around for a decade or so, it was usually more noted for its failures than its success, and the actor required to play dual roles usually took tremendous heat for their failure to create two physically identical but distinctly different characterizations on screen. But with THE PARENT TRAP, with the difficult dual role resting on the shoulders of an extremely young star, Walt Disney struck gold. It would be the single highest grossing film the studio had released up to that time, and even some forty years later the baby-boomers who flocked to see it in 1961 regard it as one of their favorite movie experiences.

But THE PARENT TRAP has a lot more going for it than mere nostalgia. The cast is really, really good, featuring the ever-likable Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith in leading roles and a host of great character actors (including Leo G. Carroll and Nancy Kulp) in minor roles. And then there is Haley Mills. The daughter and sister of noted English actors, Mills was no newcomer to the screen when THE PARENT TRAP went before the cameras--she had even picked up an Oscar for her earlier Disney film POLLYANNA. Even so, this was no guarantee that she could pull off the feat of double roles, something that had daunted even the legendary Bette Davis. But she did.

The story has been told so often that surely every one knows it by now. A wife delivers twin daughters--but shortly afterward divorces her husband, and each wins custody of one child. The children are raised without any knowledge of each other's existence... until they unexpectedly bump into each other at summer camp, put two and two together, and devise a scheme to get their parents back together again.

Even today, and in spite of its familiarity, it's an amusing idea, and while the actual script is weak in spots the cast, and especially Haley Mills, makes the most of it. There's plenty of slapstick, lots of laugh-out-loud scenes, and enough charm to beguile all but the most cynical viewers. And Haley Mills clearly demonstrates why she was regarded as the single most gifted child actor of her era: although she plays both Susan and Sharon with the same edge of mischievous fun, they do indeed come off as completely different personalities.

Of course, digital technology has left the old split-screen technique in the dust, and today its easy to see the flaws in the technique that weren't so obvious at the time. And the quality of the film transfer is not the best: while this isn't the worst transfer I've seen, it is full of artifacts nonetheless. Even so, the appeal of the story, the cast, and most particularly Haley Mills make up for a lot, and this Disney double DVD comes complete with a host of bonuses (including a making-of documentary and an audio commentary track by director David Swift and Haley Mills) that fans will enjoy quite a bit.

If you were a fan of the film then, you'll remain a fan of it now. And if you want to introduce your family to a truly charming movie experience, you couldn't make a better choice.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


22 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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