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The Parent Trap More at IMDbPro »

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Childhood fantasies and candy-coated dreams...

Author: Isaac5855 from United States
2 December 2005

I had a mad crush on Hayley Mills when I was a kid. I don't know what it was about her...I think it might have been that English accent. Whatever, I absolutely adored her and THE PARENT TRAP was probably my favorite Hayley film where she played twins separated as babies by their divorced parents who meet at summer camp, figure out what their parents did, and plot to get them back together. I recently viewed this Disney classic again for the 25th or 30th time a couple of months ago and still found it supremely entertaining. Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara are wonderful as the parents and Joanna Barnes makes her presence known as Keith's bitchy new fiancée, Vicky Robinson. Of course, it doesn't make sense that the father lives in California and the mother is from Boston and the twins spoke with English accents, or that nobody noticed, but I let that slide as a kid and I still do. A classic, anyway you slice it, forget the sequels and remakes and stick with the original.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Strictly Laugh Affair indeed! 123 Minutes of unfailing fun and merriment that certainly had ME laughing!

Author: chrisbishop5000 from United Kingdom
7 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

About five hours and forty minutes ago from this moment, I finished watching "The Parent Trap" with my mother downstairs after just over two hours of playing time and we were extremely amused - to say the least! I feel so glad for recording the film on ITV1 just last Christmas or else I'd have missed out. Believe me now, if YOU haven't ever watched it you'd be missing out too. I have not seen the 1998-remake and my mum keeps telling me and telling me and telling me that she recommends that I see that film too and after an extent this irritates me and how can I if I can't find the video it was recorded on? I know she's only trying to help though and I am moved by her efforts.

She does tell me that unlike most tatty, tired remakes that one is just as good if not BETTER than this original presentation of a novel which appears to be French. Neither of us could wait to watch the movie this afternoon and, after my stressful morning at college and mum's own stress from keeping everything in order with her poor bad back, it certainly lightened our hearts.

To think that the technology even existed back then in the early 1960s to use such special camera effects that give the illusion of not only one but a pair of Hayley Mills for the purpose of bringing the twins and their plan that was simply fate to life.

Some minutes after the overture, at the dance party at Camp Inch, that huge - and I mean HUGE - fight between the twin sisters at the dance, I think, was destined to show its audience just how rebellious, secretive and malicious those girls can be; after all, it's not everyday on such a special occasion as a dance party at a Summer Camp is ruined by merely two girls who are so angry with one another that they start up an enormous catfight, knocking stalls over, breaking record players, getting food absolutely everywhere and causing one heck of a mob and even getting the headmistress involved! My god, most kids I know wouldn't dare, they'd feel much too threatened! But I still think that all of that just adds to the comedy of it all; that shocking kind of behaviour, the malice of those two young girls triumphing over the discipline of any adult - strict or slushy alike - just adds to all the unstopping entertainment! But I completely agree with my amazing mum when she says it's sad for Vicky, Mitch's wife-to-be, being treated with such disrespect! It is not in the least bit fair for her and, answer this, is it HER fault that Margaret Evers changed back to Margaret McKendrick because Mitch divorced her? The answer is obvious.

I imagine Disney wanted to make Vicky mean, bullying and selfish and she is all those - though to an extent - because for the most part, the reason she had such a bad temper was simply due to the fact that she'd reached the end of her tether with those kids and so from the point of the camping holiday, both I and my mother sympathize the long-suffering future bride completely and it's kinda sad how she forced herself to leave the man she loved because of the behaviour of his two girls. Even when she threw a tantrum just like the twin sisters in throwing pots and pans all over the place and hit the pair of them on her way out, we sympathize her and can't really blame her either.

Still, we also kinda thought, "they're thinking, 'it was certainly worth that slap to get her out'" and, to tell the truth, I couldn't think of a much better ending; Vicky to a degree got exactly what she deserved because she was not the nicest person in the world but they still felt bad about tormenting her, made that known to their parents & life turned out to be just as they originally planned. I, myself, have experienced the trauma of my parents divorcing one another at the minor age of 6 and I couldn't believe my dad was going to spend a most of every year yet to come abroad, away from his family and I know MY biological parents will not remarry ever again but I couldn't think of a better husband for my wonderful mother than the one she has now and the message to this comparison is that all families are different.

At the end, one of the girls wakes up early in the morning and tells the other of a dream she just had... the second wedding of Mitch Evers and Margaret McKendrick in the garden of their house, all their friends and relatives attended and the twin sisters who are bridesmaids grin at each other as if to say, "we've done it! Our plans finally worked!" I highly recommend this outrageous, fun-filled, spirited two hours for those who feel they need a nice vacation from the contemporary action thrillers and horrors e.t.c and I think you may well find that the somewhat "sad" moments are not really sad at all - just endearing and sentimental that's all. The fun here is unfailing, take it from me!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This will take you back

Author: estabansmythe from Azusa, CA
20 February 2006

You already know this: this is great family fun. Get the gang together, throw a couple bags of popcorn in the wave, sit back and have a good time.

The Big Surprise of "The Parent Trap" (1961) is that Maureen O'Hara is can be pretty unlikable through most of the picture. She's pretty much the same hellaciously feisty and fighting Irish witch that married John Wayne in "The Quiet Man" and who often only argued and fought with the poor guy.

However, when she has her sane, loving moments with ex-hubby Brian Kieth, she lights up the screen and "The Parent Trap" blossoms.

Bu of course, the film belongs to delightful little Haley Mills, who didn't stir any romantic feelings in me until three years later in Disney's "The Moon Spinners" which was her first romantic adolescent role when she fell for dashing young adventurer Peter McHenry and visa versa.

In "The Parent Trap," Haley pulls of the minor miracle of playing to herself (delightfully) as twin sisters separated at age one, with each of them going to one divorced parent.

IMPORTANT FUN NOTE: Of course, the fact that Haley's totally British accent is undisguised in two girls who have lived all their lives in the US (one in California, the other back east) is to be blissfully ignored.

Vets Una Merkel, Charlie Ruggles, Nancy Kulp, the always wonderful Ruth McDevitt, loopy composer/band leader Frank "Happy Kyne" DeVol and Leo G. Carroll add a special zing to the festivities.

And the knockout Joanna Barnes is a particularly nasty Harpy who manages to get herself engaged to Keith, much to the dire consternation of the twin Haley's and O'Hara. Will the engagement lead to marriage? Have fun: watch and see.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not necessarily a good film for children to watch

Author: Kent Rasmussen from
25 March 2002

I enjoyed this film when it first came out in 1961, and I was young enough to have a crush on the immensely talented Hayley Mills. I can still enjoy watching it; however, I'm not sure it's an appropriate film for young children. There's nothing overtly inappropriate about its content--no violence, no rough language, no real sexual undertones. What I question is the film's none-too-subtle message about marriage and divorce. It may confuse children, especially children of divorced parents.

The film begins with a bizarre premise: Hayley Mills plays identical twins who don't know of each other's existence until a chance encounter at a summer camp throws them together. Eventually, they discover that they are sisters. That moment of discovery can still bring a tear to my cynical old eye, but stop for a moment and consider just how bizarre the film's premise really is ...

One sister has grown up with her father (Brian Keith) in California; the other with her mother (Maureen O'Hara) in Boston. Apparently separated shortly after birth, each not only has grown up unaware she has a sister, but each has had no contact with the other parent. How could that have happened? By all outward appearances, the parents are intelligent, caring, and responsible people. What horrible thing could have gone wrong in their marriage that caused them to cut off all contact with each other and to separate their daughters from each other and from their opposite parents?

In one summer camp scene, the girl who lives with her father reveals to her about-to-be-discovered sister that she has a photograph of their mutual mother. How could she have that picture and not know that her mother is alive and well? For one reason only: Her parents have lied to both her and her sister throughout their entire lives. Who would do that their own children? How wonderful and caring do those parents look now?

(Incidentally, this is fairly typical Disney fare. Have you ever noticed how many early Disney films are about children separated from their parents. Not just early Disney films, come to think of it. THE LION KING has an awful scene in which the lion cub sees his own father get killed. TARZAN, too, is about an orphan whose parents suffer horrible deaths.)

Leaving aside the premise of THE PARENT TRAP, I must now object to the film's resolution: The girls reunite their parents by contriving to force them together in one place and then overwhelming them with cuteness--personified by the song, "Let's Get Together." The scheme works, of course, but why? If the parents are so wonderful and have always loved each so much, why did they divorce in the first place? Is there any reason to believe they have changed? And what is wrong with parents who would do what they have done to their own children?

As I said, I can still enjoy this film--largely because of Hayley Mills's spunky performance--but allow young children to see this film? I have serious reservations. My own children were unfortunate in having to grow up with divorced parents. I never forbade them to see THE PARENT TRAP, but I took some care to steer them away from it.

My children loved both their parents and would like to have seen us get back together, but it would have taken a lot more than singing "Let's Get Together" to make that happen. Watching that film when they were young could only have made them feel there was something wrong with them in not being able to match Hayley Mills's imaginary success. THE PARENT TRAP may be the worst kind of fantasy for children: a beautiful, dreamlike answer to heartbreak that could almost never happen in real life.

Who benefits by putting such a dream into children's heads?

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Still good, but dated

Author: HallmarkMovieBuff from United States
22 April 2007

I saw this movie when Hayley Mills and I were much younger, and I remembered it fondly. Recently, however, I viewed the 1998 remake (see my IMDb comment on it), and I wanted to see the original again for comparison, which I now have done.

It's hard to evaluate this movie on its own, as this is one of those, perhaps rare, instances wherein the remake is better than the original. Technology advances (and perhaps a bigger budget) aside, and without going into detail, let me merely observe that the remake reworks and updates this original, improving upon it in the process, most notably in characterizations, in certain casting for better chemistry, and in the script.

Wherever there are scene-for-scene comparisons, more often than not I prefer those in the remake. By deleting several outdated scenes, situations, and attitudes, the remake was able to expand some of the better scenes from this movie. The extended trashing of the cabin near the beginning of the movie would be but one example -- they perform pranks in the 1998 version that we never would have thought of in 1961.

One of the better scenes here, however hokey it may seem today, is when the twins perform a piano-guitar duet for their parents at the re-enactment dinner. (I don't recall Lindsay Lohan's musical talents being utilized at all in the later version.)

Although I would continue to recommend this movie, if you can see only one, see the remake (as opposed to "The Parent Trap II," which is a made-for-TV dozer).

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Hayley Mills plays twins who want to get their family back together.

Author: Steve Tarter from Peoria, Illinois
5 December 1999

Divorce gets the Disney touch. Far-fetched plot is overcome by good performances by Hayley Mills, Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara. Still haven't figured out what kind of heartless parents could come up with a divorce settlement where twins are split, never to be paired again. In a brief musical interlude, Hayley predates the Beatles with a "yeah, yeah, yeah" line.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great, though the remake is even better

Author: kyle-cruse from California
19 August 2008

"The Parent Trap" just has one of the greatest plots for a family film ever. Hayley Mills was excellent in roles and pulled this off in a very funny way. She plays twins separated at birth who meet and camp and decide to switch places and meet the parent they've never seen, and try to get mom (Maureen O'Hara) and dad (Brian Keith) back together. The result is a film that is very entertaining, funny, and touching. There are tons of memorable scenes, such as the girls meeting, the song and dance ("Let's Get Together") scene, and the camping trip. The 1998 remake with Lindsay Lohan is even better and more touching, as this plot works even better for a family film today, in my opinion. However, this original is very funny and definitely worth watching. If you've only seen the remake, this version may seem dated at first. Watch it again; you'll be used to it and you'll start to enjoy it more. This is a classic live-action Disney movie, and young and old alike can enjoy it.

***1/2 out of ****

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Cute Disney Fluff. However....

Author: namor2000 from United States
5 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When people watch The Parent Trap, I wonder if they ever notice, like I have, a certain undercurrent of cruelty that even got past Walt Disney's watchful eye.

If you didn't catch it, let me point it out: Mitch and Maggie Evers get divorced and decide to let an entire continent separate them. This is realistic so far. But their breakup is obviously so hostile and nasty that one takes Sharon, the other takes Susan, and mutually decide that neither twin shall ever know of their other sibling's existence.

This is bad enough on its own. But to add icing to this inedible cake, Mitch and Maggie choose to forget about their other child at the other end of the country. Why inflict this on their girls? They didn't ask to be born, let alone cause the split.

Okay, okay, I tend to look a little too close at this stuff today than when I was younger. After all, that is the plot, right? And the twins resolve this parental problem, right? And Disney would never end any movie on a sad note, right? Despite my observation, I enjoyed the rest of the movie. So go pop some popcorn and enjoy.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Let's Get The Folks Together

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
5 November 2008

Looking at The Parent Trap over 40 years from when I first saw it in the theater I can see why it was such a hit in more innocent times. It's cute and clever and certainly fulfills a wish fantasy about kids from a broken home longing to get their parents back together. Looking at it now though, I wonder if Walt Disney might have been perpetuating a bad fantasy on a generation.

This was Hayley Mills's second film and third with Disney and in The Parent Trap she takes her Pollyanna, doubles it, and brings it up to the beginning of the New Frontier. She plays twins, separated at birth, each going to live with one parent and neither knowing of the other's existence.

They meet at summer camp and switch places the better to get to know the part of their life they've missed. It works out well for the one who goes with Maureen O'Hara, but the one with Brian Keith discovers that Brian's head is being turned by a mercenary Joanna Barnes on the prowl whose mother reminds her about California's beautiful community property laws.

This means getting Maureen from Boston to California and revealing all in an attempt to put mom and dad back together again.

Maureen O'Hara made her one and only film with Disney with The Parent Trap and in her memoirs she and Walt quarreled because her contract specified first billing. She did not like Hayley Mills being first billed. But she decided not to pursue legal action as Walt threatened to blackball her. He was powerful enough to do it and did do it to a few people. She liked her co-stars though and was especially fond of Brian Keith.

There are a lot of laughs in The Parent Trap with the girls first not liking each other in summer camp. And later on Joanna Barnes goes on the camping trip to hell courtesy of the Hayleys. I've got to say no matter what else happens they helped good old Brian dodge a bullet in the form of Joanna Moore.

But you know how many kids in 1961 and later on Disney's prime time television program saw The Parent Trap and thought that too could plot a good scheme to bring divorced parents back? I wonder how many were disappointed in that way.

Part of the bad side of The Magic Kingdom.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

a bit too mellow

Author: disdressed12 from Canada
23 November 2008

while i will say this movie is certainly family friendly,i didn't really like it all that much.i felt it was too long and slow.i think it could have been 30 minutes shorter without missing anything important.the acting is good,but i found the characters bland and uninteresting.Hayley Mills is is a decent enough actress,and it must be hard for one actor to play twins convincingly,which Mills does.but the movie is a bit too mellow for my tastes.I did like Maureen O'Hara as the mother.she stood out from the rest.Brian Keith was also good as the father.this is definitely a movie the whole family can watch.i did think it was a bit mellow,but to be fair there were a few fun scenes,and some catchy vote for The Parent trap is a 5/10

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