STUDIO: Disney
MSRP: $19.99
RATED: G/Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 129/81 min.
• Caught In the Act: The Making Of The Parent Trap
• The Sherman Brothers
• “Let’s Get Together” Music Video
• Lost Treasures: Who’s The Twin?
• 1961 Disney Studio Album
• Production Gallery
• Kimbal and Swift: The Disney Years
• Trailers & TV Spots
• Seeing Double: The Special Effects
• Mickey Mouse Club: Title Makers
• Disney Legend: Hayley Mills
• Sound Studio
• Script Excerpt

The Pitch

“I think I’ve seen this movie before. What? There’s two of them? Are they related?

The Humans

Hayley Mills, Maureen O’Hara, Brian Keith, Charlie Ruggles, Una Merkel, Leo G. Carroll, Joanna Barnes

"We know… you are thinking… of a brick wall…"

The Nutshell

Susan and Sharon (Mills in a dual role) meet at summer camp. Because everyone thinks they look the same, they become instant rivals and fight constantly. Still, they are strangely drawn to each other. They are forced to share a tent. Then they realize they’re actually twin sisters, separated at birth and raised on opposite coasts.

If this is wasn’t a 1960s Disney film, things could get a bit wild right about there.

Here’s what happens instead: Each curious to see the parent they never knew, the girls swap identities before going home. They then conspire to reunite Mom and Dad (O’Hara and Keith). Kind of twisted, when you think about it.

"It’s a good thing you sent Billy to the cornfield. A good thing."

The Package

Disc 1 contains the original 1961 movie and the 1986 made-for TV sequel, with a layer change about three-quarters through the first film. Parent Trap I is presented in anamorphic widescreen, side-masked to 1.66:1 with remastered Dolby 5.1 audio. II is 1.33:1 fullscreen, in 2.0.

Disc 2: Loaded, though many of the supplements are recycled from the 2002 Vault Collection release. Notable among the newly-added material is a joint interview with writer-director David Swift and his mentor, legendary Disney animator Ward Kimbal. Less impressive is the special-effects featurette, which misidentifies some of the techniques that were employed to show Mills & Mills onscreen together. The commentary track from the previous edition is not included.

A big soccer fan, Maureen demonstrates "The Vinnie".

Although this set is billed as a “two-movie collection”, Parent Trap II is little more than a glorified extra itself and none of the supplements mention it or the two additional sequels that followed in 1989.

The Lowdown

Sure, the clothes are dorky and the hairstyles are ugly and the very British Ms. Mills’ diction never quite passes for either Bostonian or Californian, but there’s genuine heart and emotional subtlety here. After forty-four years, The Parent Trap holds up remarkably well as bona fide family entertainment.

When Band Practice and Wood Shop collide

The chief reason for this is the writing. That two-hour-plus running time may look daunting, but it’s necessary for us to get to know all the characters and in the end very little time is wasted. I also like that the adults (played by classy veterans all) are portrayed as something other than self-involved idiots—very rare for what is essentially a teen comedy.

Speaking of which, Parent Trap II makes all those mistakes and then some. I know it’s fondly remembered by the Cable Generation and it’s fun to see a grown-up Mills in aerobicise gear, but it ignores the characters as resolved in the original and at two-thirds the length it seems twice as long.

8.5 out of 10