The Parent Trap (1961)

The Parent Trap
Directed by David Swift
Written by David Swift from a book by Erich Kastner
1961/USA
Walt Disney Productions
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental

Sharon McKendrick:  Watch out for snakes!

I hadn’t seen this since childhood and had forgotten a lot.  Haley Mills is fantastic as usual.

Identical twins Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick (both played by Mills) have been separated since infancy when their parents divorced.  Susan has lived in California with her father Mitch (Brian Keith) and Sharon in Boston with mother Maggie (Maureen O’Hara).

They meet at summer camp and get off to a very rocky start.  When they discover they are sisters, however, their greatest desire is to meet the parents they have been denied and to reunite the family.  They decide the easiest way to get their first wish is to switch places when they go home.

Susan and Sharon are surprisingly convincing at imitating each other.  Maggie even seems amenable to their plan.  The great sticking point is Mitch who is about to marry a gold-digging young blonde bimbo named Vicky (Joanna Barnes).   Sharon, Susan and Maggie all hate the two-faced Vicky.

The entire family eventually assembles at Mitch’s house, where wedding plans are underway.  The rest of the story deals with the the ladies’ plot to oust Vicky.  With Charles Ruggles as the girls’ grandfather, Catherine Nesbitt as their grandmother, Una Merkle as Mitch’s housekeeper and Leo G. Carroll as a sympathetic preacher.

This was a pleasant trip down memory lane.  With this cast it was almost bound to be enjoyable.  My favorite parts were the scenes with Vicky.  These Disney films are also good for catching beloved character actors from the 30’s and 40’s.

When did Hollywood decide that Bostonians speak with British accents?  It was a tradition that lasted since the first talkies.  Mills does pretty well with her American accent as Susan.

The Parent Trap was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Sound and Best Film Editing.

Mills and Mills sing “Let’s Get Together”