Identical twins Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick (Hayley Mills) meet at summer camp, unaware that they are sisters. Their identical appearance initially creates rivalry, and they continually pull pranks on one another. Eventually, their mischief ruins the camp dance. As punishment, they must live together in an isolated cabin for what remains of the summer. After both admit they come from broken homes, they soon realize they are twin sisters and that their parents, Mitch and Maggie (Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara), divorced shortly after their birth, with each parent having custody of one of them. The twins, each eager to meet the parent they never knew, switch places. While Susan is in Boston masquerading as Sharon, Sharon goes to California pretending to be Susan.
Sharon telephones 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 the two fly there.
With all four in California, the twins set about (with mild approval from their mother) sabotaging their father's marriage plans. Mitch's money-hungry, and much-younger, fiance, Vicki Robinson (Joanna Barnes), receives rude, mischievous treatment from the girls and some veiled cattiness from Maggie. One evening, the girls recreate their parents' first date at an Italian restaurant with a gypsy violinist. The former spouses are gradually drawn together, though they quickly begin bickering over minor things and Vicki.
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 girls effect the coup de grace: Vicki spends her time swatting mosquitoes and being awakened in terror by two bear cubs licking the honey the twins put on her feet. Exasperated, Vicki angrily slaps one of the girls, and Mitch ends the relationship. Mitch and Maggie rekindle their love, and the two remarry in the final scene with the twins in the wedding party.
- Hayley Mills as Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick
- Brian Keith as Mitch Evers
- Maureen O'Hara as Margaret "Maggie" McKendrick
- Joanna Barnes as Vicky Robinson
- Susan Henning as Susan/Sharon double
The screenplay originally called for only a few trick photography shots of Hayley 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. Disney 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 Monterey scenes were filmed in various California locations, including millionaire Stuyvesant Fish's 5,200 acres (21 km2) ranch in Carmel, Monterey's Pebble Beach golf course. The scenes at the Monterey house were shot at 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.
Richard and Robert Sherman provided the songs, which, besides the title song "The Parent Trap", includes "For Now, For Always", and "Let's Get Together". "Let's Get Together" (sung by Annette Funicello) is heard playing from a record player at the summer camp; the tune is reprised by the twins when they restage their parents' first date. The title song was performed by Tommy Sands and Annette Funicello, who were both on the studio lot shooting Babes in Toyland at the time.
Awards and NominationsEdit
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 original film was remade in 1998 starring Lindsay Lohan.
In 1965, a similar Tamil film called Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum starring Kutty Padmini released, which was later remade into Telugu as Letha Manasulu and in Hindi as Do Kaliyaan starring Neetu Singh in the double role.