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The Parent Trap (1961)

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

Director:

David Swift

Writers:

Erich Kästner (book), David Swift (written for the screen by)
Reviews
Popularity
1,755 ( 438)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Hayley Mills ... Susan Evers / Sharon McKendrick
Maureen O'Hara ... Maggie McKendrick
Brian Keith ... Mitch Evers
Charles Ruggles ... Charles McKendrick (as Charlie Ruggles)
Una Merkel ... Verbena
Leo G. Carroll ... Rev. Dr. Mosby
Joanna Barnes ... Vicky Robinson
Cathleen Nesbitt ... Louise McKendrick
Ruth McDevitt ... Miss Inch (as Ruth Mc Devitt)
Crahan Denton ... Hecky
Linda Watkins ... Edna Robinson
Nancy Kulp ... 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 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:

Caught in a merry marital mix-up! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Parent Trap See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$25,150,385

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,650,385
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara appeared in The Rare Breed (1966), where Hayley Mills' older sister Juliet played Maureen's daughter. See more »

Goofs

When the twins' mother (Maureen O'Hara) is singing the song that was played on her first date with their father, her lips do not match the words that are being sung. See more »

Quotes

Susan's roommate at camp Inch: The nerve of her! Coming here with your face!
Susan's other roommate: What are you gonna do about it?
Susan Evers: Do? What in heaven's sake can I do, silly?
Susan's other roommate: I'd bite off her nose. Then she wouldn't look like you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

An early US laserdisc release is missing the car scene mentioned above, but not the pool transition a few minutes later. It is, on the other hand, also missing about 50 seconds at the start of the conversation between Margaret and her father as she tries to pack for the trip to CA (during which he informs her of the plane ticket, questions her choice of dress, and ponders what sort of lady Mitch might have married since the breakup). Like many Disney releases, it is also missing the distribution title card (Buena Vista) and the accompanying drummed introduction to the title song. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Imaginary Mary: The Parent-y Trap (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played at the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Classic Charmer
8 April 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee 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


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