Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Ultimate Disney List 6: "The Parent Trap (1961)"

Dedicated to the Proposition That Teenagers
and Parents Are Created Equally Hilarious!

It Take Two To Disney

      The Parent Trap is a 1961 Disney film that would spawn a whole series, with 3 TV movie sequels and the well-known Lindsay Lohan remake back in the 90s. Directed and written by David Swift (The Parent Trap (1998)), the film follows a pair of twins, Susan and Sharon (Hayley Mills in both roles), who were separated at birth by their parents' divorce. They two surprisingly find each years later at a summer camp and decide to switch places in order to meet the parents they never knew and try to get them back together. One goes to see their mother, Maggie (Maureen O'Hara) and the other to her father, Mitch (Brian Keith). However, their plan is interrupted when they discover their father is getting married to greedy Vicky (Joanna Barnes) and they must try even harder to get their parents together.

How exciting...
Original Disney

      The Parent Trap presents me with a problem I was afraid I'd face when it came to doing these lists: A movie on the list not really being worth of a review. Don't get me wrong. The Parent Trap is a perfectly fine movie. It's just that there isn't really a whole hell of a lot to say. It's kinda just what you'd expect from Disney. The movie is a sweet, cut, but ultimately forgettable time-waster. It has all the elements you'd expect it to. There's slapstick and a cheesy song right in the middle. Even an unnecessary love triangle to take this film to it's very overlong 2 hours and ten minutes runtime. Yeah, the film drags a little, but I never was really bored with it. The second half is a fair bit superior to the first half though. Yes, the love triangle is pointless, but the film is at least a bit funny in the second half. It's almost like they forgot to put the jokes in the first half.

Split Screen

      There were a few things that impressed me. Okay, well one thing. Two things? The split screen effect they do to put both the sisters on screen at the same time is fantastic, especially for 1961. It's a bit obvious by today's standards, but the effect is fairly seamless. And Mills is great at portraying both girls. Even when they look identical, you can still tell which twin is which and it's all from Mills's performance. She doesn't even exaggerate their personalities. She just plays two different people and it's easily the best part of the film.

Don't judge. I said I didn't have a lot to say.
The Verdict

      The Parent Trap (1961) is a perfectly fine movie that showcase classic Disney, warts and all. The film excels thanks to Hayley's Mills's great performances and to some strong special effects putting the two one screen at the same time. However, the film drags on to a clunky 2 hours and the film gets there by inserting a largely useless love triangle. Overall, a time-waster, but a fun one. The Parent Trap (1961) gets 3 and a half stars out of 6.

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