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The Parent Trap is a 1961 Disney feature film starring Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara, and Brian Keith in a story about teenage twins and their divorced parents. It is based on the 1949 German children's novel Das doppelte Lottchen (translated as Lisa and Lottie in 1962; republished as The Parent Trap in 2014) by Erich Kästner. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, was broadcast on television, saw three television sequels, was remade in 1998 with Lindsay Lohan (in her feature film debut), and has been released numerous times on both VHS and DVD formats. The original film was Mills' second of six films for Disney. Disney also authorized the three made-for-TV sequels, all starring Mills: The Parent Trap II, The Parent Trap III, and The Parent Trap IV: Hawaiian Honeymoon.


Identical twins Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick (Mills) meet at Camp Inch, a girls-only summer camp, unaware they are twin sisters. Their identical appearance initially creates a rivalry between them, and they continually pull pranks on one another. Eventually, their mischief comes to an end when it ruins the camp dance, and they stop fighting on the floor in shock when they see the mess they caused as a result. Then, the head counselor Miss Inch (Ruth McDevitt) got angry after a cake falls onto her face, causing Susan and Sharon to realize they’re both in trouble and the prank war between them finally went too far. As punishment, the twins discover they must live together in an isolated cabin for the remainder of camp.

After they both admit to coming from broken homes, Susan and Sharon soon realize they are long lost twin sisters, and that their parents Mitch Evers (Keith) and Maggie McKendrick (O'Hara), divorced shortly after their birth, with each parent having custody of one of them. Eager to meet the parent they never knew, the twins switch places. While Susan is in Boston masquerading as Sharon, Sharon goes to California pretending to be Susan.

Sharon calls Susan in Boston with news that their father is planning to marry a gold-digger, and their mother needs to be rushed to California to prevent the union. In Boston, Susan tells her mother the truth about the switched identities, and they fly there. With all four in California, the twins set about sabotaging their father’s marriage plans (with mild approval from their mother). His money-hungry and much-younger fiancé, Vicky Robinson (Joanna Barnes), receives rude, mischievous treatment from the twins and some veiled cattiness from Maggie. One evening, they recreate their parents’ first date at an Italian restaurant with a gypsy violinist. They are gradually drawn together, though they quickly begin bickering over minor things and Vicky.

To delay Maggie's return to Boston with Sharon, the twins dress and talk alike so their parents are unable to tell them apart. They will reveal who is who only after everyone goes on the annual family camping trip. Mitch and Maggie reluctantly agree, but when Vicki objects to the plan, Maggie tricks her into taking her place.

The twins effect the coup de grace: Vicky spends her time swatting mosquitoes and being awakened in terror by two bear cubs licking the honey the twins put on her feet. As it was the last straw, Vicky threw a tantrum over her hatred of the outdoors and the twins. She declares that all the trouble she's been through to marry Mitch for his money is no longer worth it and angrily slaps one of the twins, which causes Mitch to change his opinion of her, as well as see her for what she really is in the process. Vicky breaks off the engagement and storms off.

Returning home, the twins apologize for their actions to which Mitch accepts their apology and says they don't have to discuss the situation anymore since what's done is done. Maggie and Sharon prepare to return to Boston the next day, with the twins now resigned to seeing each other only during visits and shuttling back and forth between parents. Later, Mitch tells Maggie everything he misses about her and their marriage. They realize that they still love each other and rekindle. Susan wakes up during the night and tells Sharon about a beautiful dream she had, where they are bridesmaids at their parents' wedding, a dream destined to come true as Mitch and Maggie remarry in the final scene.


  • Hayley Mills as Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick, identical twins who were separated shortly after birth when their parents divorced. They learn of each other's existence at Miss Inch's summer camp. Susan and Sharon are respectively based on Luise Palfy and Lottie Körner from the original book.
  • Brian Keith as Mitchell "Mitch" Evers, Susan and Sharon's father, a wealthy Californian rancher. He is based on Ludwig Palfy from the original book.
  • Maureen O'Hara as Margaret "Maggie" McKendrick, Susan and Sharon's mother, a Bostonian volunteer for the Red Cross. She is based on Luiselotte Körner from the original book.
  • Joanna Barnes as Vicky Robinson, a child-hating gold digger who is planning to marry Mitch for his money. She is based on Irene Gerlach from the original book.
  • Charlie Ruggles as Charles McKendrick, Susan and Sharon's maternal grandfather.
  • Cathleen Nesbitt as Louise McKendrick. Susan and Sharon's maternal grandmother.
  • Una Merkel as Verbena, the Evers family's housekeeper. She is based on Resi from the original book.
  • Leo G. Carroll as Reverend Dr. Mosby, the officiant of Mitch and Maggie's second wedding. He is based on Benno Grawunder from the original book.
  • Ruth McDevitt as Miss Abbey Inch, the head of the summer camp where Susan and Sharon reunite. She is based on Mrs. Muthesius from the original book.
  • Crahan Denton as Hecky, the Evers family's ranch foreman.
  • Susan Henning as Susan Evers/Sharon McKendrick (body double) [uncredited]
  • Nancy Kulp as Miss Grunecker, an assistant at the summer camp where Susan and Sharon reunite. She is based on Miss Ulrike from the original book.
  • Linda Watkins as Edna Robinson, Vicky's mother.
  • Frank De Vol as Mr. Eaglewood
  • Kay Cole as Betsy
  • Lynette Winter as Ursala
  • John Mills as Mitch Evers' Golf Caddy (uncredited)
  • Unknown voice actor as John (uncredited)
  • Unknown voice actress as Marsha (uncredited)
  • Dave Goelz as kid at the camp dance (uncredited)

Production notes[]

German author Erich Kästner originally wrote the plot for Das doppelte Lottchen as a film scenario during WWII, but due to his resistance to the Nazis, he was forbidden from publishing any material. Four years after WWII ended and the Nazis fell, Kästner published his original idea as Das doppelte Lottchen ("The Double Lottie"), and it was first illustrated by Walter Trier, who had illustrated the writer's other children's books and had also resisted the Nazis.

In 1950, Kästner provided the screenplay and narration for the first film adaptation of Das doppelte Lottchen, which starred real life identical twin sisters Isa and Jutta Günther playing the eponymous roles of Luise Palfy and Lotte Körner.

Das doppelte Lottchen was discovered by Disney's story editor Bill Dover, who recommended the studio buy it.

The film originally called for only a few trick photography shots of Mills in scenes with herself; the bulk of the film was to be shot using a body double. When Walt Disney saw how seamless the processed shots were, he ordered the script reconfigured to include more of the special effect. He also wanted Mills to appear on camera as much as possible, knowing that she was having growth spurts during filming. The film was shot mostly at various locales in California. The summer camp scenes were filmed at Cedar Lake Camp, in the San Bernardino Mountains near the city of Big Bear Lake in Southern California. The Monterrey scenes were filmed in various California locations, including millionaire Stuyvesant Fish's 5200 acres (21 square kilometers) ranch in Carmel, Monterrey's Pebble Beach golf course. The scenes at the Monterrey house were shot at the studio's Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon, where Mitch's ranch was built. 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. Of course, 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.

The film's copyright was renewed on February 6, 1989.[1] The copyright to the story it is based on was also renewed in the U.S.[2]

In 1962, a year after Disney adapted Das doppelte Lottchen into The Parent Trap, Cyrus Brooks translated the German book into English as Lisa and Lottie, an edition still published in the United States and Canada.

In 2014, Das doppelte Lottchen was faithfully retranslated into English by Anthea Bell and republished in the United Kingdom and Australia by Pushkin Press as The Parent Trap,[3] after Disney's hit film adaption. Then in 2020, Australian actress Ruby Rees recorded an unabridged narration of Bell's translation for Bolinda.[4]

Musical numbers[]

The Sherman Brothers provided the songs, which, besides the title song "The Parent Trap", includes "For Now, For Always", and "Let's Get Together". The latter (sung by Annette Funicello) is heard playing from a record player at the summer camp; it is reprised by the twins when they restage their parents' first date. The title song was performed by Tommy Sands and Funicello, who were both on the studio lot shooting Babes in Toyland at the time.

Awards and nominations[]

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.

Subsequent developments[]

The film was theatrically re-released in 1968. The Disney Studios produced three television sequels The Parent Trap II (1986), The Parent Trap III (1989), and The Parent Trap IV: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989). In 1963, the ABC television sitcom The Patty Duke Show debuted using similar filming techniques in a series about teenage cousins (played by Patty Duke) with identical twin appearances but with completely different personalities. The film was remade in 1998 starring Lindsay Lohan. In 1965, a similar Tamil film called Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum starring Kutty Padmini was released, which was later remade into Telugu as Letha Manasulu and in Hindi as Do Kaliyaan starring Neetu Singh in the double role.



  1. Online Copyright Catalog search (form auto-filled, pressing "begin search" brings up the entry)
  2. Catalog of Copyright Entries (Source material)
  3. Kästner, Erich (November 6, 2014). The Parent Trap. Pushkin Press.
  4. Kästner, Erich (December 1, 2020). The Parent Trap. Bolinda Publishing.

External links[]

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia page The Parent Trap. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

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The Parent Trap (soundtrack/video) • The Parent Trap IIThe Parent Trap IIIThe Parent Trap IV: Hawaiian HoneymoonRemake (soundtrack/video)
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Remake: Annie JamesHallie ParkerNick ParkerElizabeth JamesMartinChessyMeredith Blake

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The Parent TrapLet's Get TogetherHere Comes the SunFor Now, For AlwaysBad to the Bone • Let's Keep What We've Got • Nothin' at All • Stand Back • Never Let You Go