The Parent Trap (1961)

"Good"

The Parent Trap (1961) Review


Sisters!?

Hayley Mills became America's sweetheart in this children's classic, which has Mills acting opposite herself in an impressive and seamless split-screen effect (considering the movie is 40 years old) -- though many scenes include Mills with a body double. She plays both Sharon and Susan, identical twins separated at birth by divorcing parents -- and oddly, they've never been told about one another's existence. Contrived, sure, but no more than the plot that follows -- the girls meet at summer camp and decide to switch places for a spell, and eventually aim to get their parents back together.

While the film is well over two hours long (expecting an awful lot from a kid's attention span), it's well-made, with great production values and a surprising amount of humor, most of which is laugh-out-loud funny. I'm torn on the adults' performances, with the exception of Maureen O'Hara, which are workmanlike and not terribly inspired. This of course keeps the focus on Mills, as it should be.

Disney has issued The Parent Trap on a two-disc DVD special edition, with a commentary track from Mills and David Swift (writer and director). As well, the second disc features a number of shorts and documentaries from the Disney archives -- the best is an interview with Susan Henning-Schutte, who played the other sister in the non-split-screen scenes. Great release, but kids will probably just stick with the first disc. Over and over and over again...

Remade (and equally long) in 1998.

Mills (without Mills).

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