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The Parent Trap (1961 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Parent Trap
Parent trap (1961).jpg
Theatrical release poster by Reynold Brown
Directed byDavid Swift
Written byDavid Swift
Based onLottie and Lisa
1949 novel
by Erich Kästner
Produced by
CinematographyLucien Ballard
Edited byPhilip W. Anderson
Music bySongs:
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
Paul Smith
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
  • June 21, 1961 (1961-06-21)
Running time
128 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$25.1 million

The Parent Trap is a 1961 American romantic comedy film written and directed by David Swift.[1][2][3] It stars Hayley Mills (in a dual role), Maureen O'Hara, and Brian Keith. Based upon the 1949 book Lisa and Lottie (German: Das Doppelte Lottchen) by Erich Kästner,[4] The Parent Trap follows two teenage twins on a quest to reunite their divorced parents.

Produced by Walt Disney Productions, The Parent Trap was released on June 21, 1961 by Buena Vista Distribution, and grossed $25.1 million at the box office. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, was broadcast on television, saw three television sequels, was remade in 1998 with Lindsay Lohan, and has been released on digital stereo LaserDisc format in 1986 as well as VHS and DVD in 2002. The Parent Trap was Hayley Mills's second of six films for Disney.


Teenagers Sharon McKendrick and Susan Evers meet at Miss Inch's Summer Camp for Girls. Their alike appearance initially causes resentment and a rivalry in which they continually pull pranks on each other, ultimately culminating in a fight that disrupts a dance with a neighboring boys camp. As punishment, they must room together in the isolated "Serendipity" cabin and have all meals at the "Isolation Table" for the remainder of the camp season. They eventually overcome their mutual dislike, then discover they are identical twin sisters. Their parents, Mitchell "Mitch" Evers and Margaret "Maggie" McKendrick, divorced shortly after their birth, splitting physical custody between them. Eager to meet the parent they never knew, the twins decide to switch places by having the same haircut and undergoing a crash-course on each other's life.

In Boston with her mother and grandparents, Susan poses as Sharon, while Sharon, as Susan, goes to Mitch's California ranch. Sharon learns that Mitch has since become engaged to a beautiful and much younger woman named Vicky Robinson, a gold digger who intends to send Susan to boarding school after the wedding. Sharon secretly calls Susan with the news. Susan tells her to break up the couple, but failing that, they decide to prematurely end the charade and bring their mother to California. The next morning, Susan reveals the truth to Maggie and her grandparents. After a happy reunion, Maggie and Susan fly to California. Mitch, still unaware of the switch, is upset by Maggie's unexpected arrival until he learns the truth and is reunited with both daughters. Vicky, however, is furious that the glamorous Maggie is staying at the ranch.

The girls scheme to reunite their parents by recreating Maggie and Mitch's first date. The former spouses are gradually drawn together, then argue over why they divorced. They make up before Maggie and Sharon are to leave the next morning, and Maggie wishes Mitch well with Vicky. To delay the return to Boston, the twins dress alike so their parents are unable to tell them apart. They will reveal their identities only after returning from a family camping trip. Mitch and Maggie reluctantly agree, though Vicky is furious. Maggie then tricks Vicky, who loathes the outdoors, into taking her place, saying Vicky and the twins can become better acquainted.

The twins take every opportunity to exploit Vicky's camping ineptitude, pulling one prank after another on her. Exasperated, Vicky finally has a shouting tantrum, ending in her angrily slapping Susan before storming off and fleeing back to the city for good. Mitch finally sees Vicky's true nature.

Back at the house, the twins apologize for their actions. Maggie and Sharon prepare to return to Boston the next day, the twins now resigned to only seeing each other during visits and shuttling back-and-forth between parents. Later, Mitch tells Maggie everything he misses about her and their marriage. Both realize they still love each other and do not want to grow into old, lonely people. Susan wakes up during the night and tells Sharon about a beautiful dream she just had where they were bridesmaids at their parents' wedding, a dream destined to come true.



The novel was discovered by Disney's story editor Bill Dover who recommended the studio buy it.[6]

In March 1960 Disney announced that Hayley Mills would star in His and Hers to be written and directed by David Swift. Swift and Mills had just made Pollyanna for Disney.[7] It was also known as Petticoats and Blue Jeans and was the first in a five-film contract Mills signed with Disney, to make one each summer.[8]

Maureen O'Hara signed in June.[9] She wrote in her memoirs that Disney offered her a third of her normal fee of $75,000 but that she held out for her quote and got it.[10] O'Hara said her contract gave her top billing but that Disney decided to give that to Mills; she says this caused tension with the studio and was why she never worked with Disney again.[11]

Production started in July under the title of We Belong Together and went until September.[12]

The film was shot mostly at various locales in California. The summer camp scenes were filmed at Bluff Lake Camp (then owned by the Pasadena YMCA, now by Habonim Dror's Camp Gilboa) and the family camping scenes later in the movie at Cedar Lake Camp, both in the San Bernardino Mountains near the city of Big Bear Lake in Southern California. The Monterey scenes were filmed in various California locations, including millionaire Stuyvesant Fish's 5,200 acres (21 km2) ranch in Carmel and Monterey's Pebble Beach golf course. The scenes at the Monterey house were shot at the studio's Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon, where Mitch's ranch was built.[13] It was the design of this set that proved the most popular, and to this day the Walt Disney Archives receives requests for plans of the home's interior design.[14] In fact, there never was such a house; the set was simply various rooms built on a sound stage. Camp Inch was based on a real girls' camp called Camp Crestridge for Girls at the Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center near Asheville, North Carolina.

Musical numbers

Richard and Robert Sherman provided the songs, which, besides the title song "The Parent Trap", includes "For Now, For Always", and "Let's Get Together". "Let's Get Together" (sung by Annette Funicello) is heard playing from a record player at the summer camp; the tune is reprised by the twins when they restage their parents' first date and that version is sung double-tracked by Hayley Mills (Hayley's own single of the song, credited to "Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills", reached #8 on the US charts). The film's title song was performed by Tommy Sands and Annette Funicello, who were both on the studio lot shooting Babes in Toyland at the time. The campers whistle the 1914 marching song, "Colonel Bogey March", as they march through camp, mirroring the scene from The Bridge on the River Kwai.[15]


Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote that "it should be most appealing to adults, as well as to children, because of the cheerfully persuasive dual performance of Hayley Mills".[16] Variety stated that the film was "absolutely predictable from the outset", but was still "a winner" thanks to the performance of Mills, who "seems to have an instinctive sense of comedy and an uncanny ability to react in just the right manner. Her contribution to the picture is virtually infinite".[17] Charles Stinson of the Los Angeles Times declared it "a comedy unusually well designed for the entire family — enough sight gags to keep the children screaming and enough clever dialogue to amuse their parents".[18] Harrison's Reports graded the film as "Very Good"[2] and Richard L. Coe of The Washington Post called it "charmingly lively" even though "the terrain is familiar".[19]

The film holds a score of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 20 reviews.[20]


The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: one for Sound by Robert O. Cook, and the other for Film Editing by Philip W. Anderson.[21] The film and its editor, Philip W. Anderson, won the inaugural 1962 Eddie Award of the American Cinema Editors.[22]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
1962 Academy Awards (34th) Best Sound Robert O. Cook (Walt Disney Studio Sound Department) Nominated
Best Film Editing Philip W. Anderson Nominated
Eddie Award Best Edited Feature Film - Comedy or Musical Won

Subsequent developments

In 1961 a comic book version of the film was published, adapted and illustrated by Dan Spiegle.[23][24]

The film was theatrically re-released in 1968 and earned $1.8 million in rentals.[25]

The Disney Studios produced three television sequels The Parent Trap II (1986), Parent Trap III (1989) and Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989). The original was remade in 1998 starring Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson. Joanna Barnes also made an appearance as Vicki Blake, the mother of Dennis Quaid's character's fiancée, Meridith. Another remake of The Parent Trap is in development for Walt Disney Studios' streaming service Disney+.[26]

In India, there have been several films inspired by The Parent Trap. In 1965, a Tamil language version of the story called Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum, starring Kutty Padmini was released. The following year, it was remade into Telugu as Leta Manasulu also starring Kutty Padmini. A Hindi version Do Kaliyaan starring Neetu Singh in the double role was made in 1968.[27] The 1987 film Pyar Ke Kabil also has a similar storyline, as does the 2001 film Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi which has Kajol playing the double role of 23-year-old twins.[28]

Home media

The film was released on a 2-disc special edition DVD in 2002, as part of the Vault Disney collection, with a new digital remaster by THX.

In 2005, the film was once again released in a 2-Movie Collection, which also contained the made-for-television sequel, The Parent Trap II (1986), plus the original film trailer and other bonus features.

The film was released for the first time on Blu-ray, but as a Disney Movie Club exclusive on April 24, 2018. The 1998 remake was also released on Blu-ray the same day.

See also


  1. ^ Variety film review; May 3, 2005, page 26.
  2. ^ a b Harrison's Reports film review; May 6, 1961, page 70.
  3. ^ "The Parent Trap". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  4. ^ Kästner, Erich (2015). Lottie and Lisa (Reissue ed.). New York City: Lizzie Skurnick Books. ISBN 978-1939601339.
  5. ^ Hoffmann, Barbara (22 March 2018). "Finally, a well-adjusted Disney child star". New York Post. Archived from the original on 11 May 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  6. ^ O'Hara p 417
  7. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Hayley Mills to Play (Both) Twins in Film Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 9 Mar 1960: b4.
  8. ^ Is Young British Actress New 'American Sweetheart'?: Hollywood Letter By John C. Waugh. The Christian Science Monitor 11 Oct 1960: 7.
  9. ^ PRODUCERS PUSH WAR-FILM PLANS: Levy and Mindlin Will Begin 'Longest Day' in March -- 'Terrace' to Open July 15 By HOWARD THOMPSON. New York Times 25 June 1960: 12.
  10. ^ O'Hara p 418
  11. ^ O'Hara p 424-426
  12. ^ BY WAY OF REPORT By A.H. WEILER. New York Times 4 Sep 1960: 79.
  13. ^ "History: A Movie Ranch Like No Other". Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  14. ^ "Disney Movies & Facts". Archived from the original on 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2016-05-15.[self-published source]
  15. ^ "Order of songs for Thunder Over Louisville". Courier Journal. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  16. ^ Crowther, Bosley (June 22, 1961). "Hayley Mills Plays 2 Roles in Comedy". The New York Times. 23.
  17. ^ "Film Reviews: The Parent Trap". Variety. May 3, 1961. 26.
  18. ^ Stinson, Charles (June 26, 1961). "'The Parent Trap' Fun for the Entire Family". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 9.
  19. ^ Coe, Richard L. (July 11, 1961). "TRULY Plural Is Haley [sic] Mills". The Washington Post. B8.
  20. ^ "The Parent Trap". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on December 3, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  21. ^ "The 34th Academy Awards (1962) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 2019-05-24. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  22. ^ "The Parent Trap". Archived from the original on 2019-09-08. Retrieved 2018-07-01 – via
  23. ^ Walt Disney's the parent trap. 1210. Adapted and illustrated by Dan Spiegle. New York: Dell. 1961. LCCN sv97025407.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  24. ^ Friedman, Drew (9 November 2016). More Heroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books. Fantagraphics Books. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-60699-960-8.
  25. ^ "Big Rental Films of 2010", Variety, 7 January 2011 p 15
  26. ^ "Disney Planning Another 'Muppets' Reboot for Its Streaming Service (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. February 21, 2018. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  27. ^ Guy, Randor (30 June 2011). "Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum 1965". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  28. ^ Nahta, Komal (January 30, 2001). "Rishi's khatta experience!". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.


  • O'Hara, Maureen; Nicoletti, John (2004). 'Tis herself : a memoir. Thorndike Press.

External links

This page was last edited on 29 June 2022, at 16:28
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