Film: The Parent Trap

It's Hayley Mills... and Hayley Mills!

A Disney live-action film that has been filmed twice. The original starred Hayley Mills and yielded three sequels which are hard to fit into one continuity (and are pretty much forgotten about). The remake starred a (surprisingly brilliant) young Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, and the late, marvelous Natasha Richardson.

Twin sisters have been separated nearly at birth when their parents divorced. The year their father is considering remarrying, the sisters meet each other at summer camp. On meeting, they plot to get their parents back together, a plot that involves each pretending to be the other. Hilarity Ensues.

The movie is based on a 1949 book, Das doppelte Lottchen, which has also been filmed as Das doppelte Lottchen (a version that retains author Erich Kästner as narrator and uses actual twins), Twice Upon a Time and Hibari’s Lullaby (a Japanese telling).

The Parent Trap provides examples of:

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     Both Movies 
  • Always Identical Twins
  • Butt Monkey: The fiancée in both versions.
  • Coordinated Clothes: The twins wear matching outfits several times, sometimes to confuse the others about which twin is which. When the mother sees both her daughters for the first time since their separation, each is dressed in yellow and white. She tells them not to do this to her because she's already seeing double and asks who is who.
  • Disneyfication: The original story was far more serious than the Disney movies—the father was distant, the mother was a wreck, and one twin falls ill.
  • Don't Split Us Up
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Hallie/Susan manages to very much overreact and initiate all the fights in both films.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: The twins actively invoke this.
  • Escalating War: The prank war between the twins.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Susan isn't exactly evil, but Sharon's dog still figured out that she's an impostor much earlier than the father and the maid do. The same happens in the remake.
  • First Father Wins
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: Both versions of have a special gesture. They cross fingers (for luck) on both hands, with arms crossed (symbolizing the girls' Twin Switch). It was used much more in the original Haley Mills film.
  • Guess Who I'm Marrying?
  • Hard Work Montage: The twins use this to give each other information and mannerisms they'll need to remember when visiting the other parent.
  • Hilarity Ensues
  • Identical Twin ID Tags
  • Important Haircut: Susan gives one to Sharon in the 1961 version and Hallie does the same to Annie in the 1998 version.
  • Infodump: For everyone who is involved in the main plot.
  • It's a Small World After All: Lampshaded.
  • Karma Houdini: The parents in both versions, who pay for willingly denying their children the chance to know about one another and having multiple family members and friends lie to them for years by being reunited as a couple and a family.
  • No Sympathy: In the 1961 version, Susan and her bunkmates slip into Sharon's cabin and trash the place while Sharon and her bunkmates are asleep. Even though the damage is clearly the work of saboteurs, Sharon and her bunkmates are punished for having a messy cabin. The 1998 version makes more sense, with the cabin sabotage being the climax of the prank war that gets them both in trouble.
  • Now You Tell Me: A lot of characters find things out the hard way.
  • Off to Boarding School: What would have happened if the fiancee married the father.
  • One True Pairing: established in-universe, between Maggie McKendrick and Mitch Evers in the original, and Elizabeth James and Nick Parker in the remake-the daughters' reason for the trap.
  • Parent Trap Plot: The Trope Namer.
  • Parent with New Paramour
  • Remake Cameo: Joanna Barnes played Vicki Robinson (the fiancee) in the Hayley Mills version and Vicki Blake (the fiancee's mother) in the Lindsay Lohan version.
  • Rich Bitch: The fiance in both versions. She serves the role as Gold Digger and Child Hater.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: The father in both versions.
  • Rule of Pool: The father
  • Separated at Birth
  • Setting Update: Both films move the setting to contemporary America.
  • Sibling Team: Once the girls discover they're sisters.
  • Solomon Divorce: One of the best-known examples.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Sharon is a girly girl, having been raised as a child of Boston high society; Susan is the tomboy. In the remake, there's the determined American, Hallie Parker, and the proper Brit, Annie James.
  • Twin Switch
  • Zany Scheme

     The Original Version 
  • Animated Credits Opening: With stop-motion.
  • Artistic License – Music: Hayley Mills is not moving her fingers when playing guitar Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Then on "Let's Get Together" her strumming does not match the music (in addition to not moving her fingers).
  • Colonel Bogey March: The other girls at the camp whistle this as the twins are escorted to the Isolation Cabin.
  • Doomed New Clothes: Susan's new dress is ruined by Sharon as part of their prank war.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Mom punches Dad in the eye. What he says after being punched suggests she'd done stuff like that to him when they were married: "Why do you have to get so physical? Can't even talk to you about anything, you're always trying to belt me with something."
  • Foregone Conclusion: The opening credits tell us the story in clay animation.
  • Friendship Song: "Let's Get Together" is this for the original film.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Hayley Mills, despite being an English girl playing two Americans from vastly different regions of the United States... pretty much just talks like Hayley Mills.
  • Panty Shot: From one of the pranks during the dance, when Sharon surreptitiously cuts the back off the skirt of Susan's party dress.
  • The Remake: The third adaptation of the same book, Erich Kästner's Das doppelte Lottchen, and thus can itself legitimately be described as a Foreign Remake.
  • Vinyl Shatters

     The Lindsay Lohan Version 

  • Abbey Road Crossing: A second-long freeze frame as "Here Comes The Sun" plays in the background.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The orginal movie ended when Mitch and Maggie fell back in love.
  • Big Eater: Hallie, but not Annie.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Annie takes news of her father remarrying so harshly, she rants in French.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The soon-to-be-Step-Mom for Hallie.
  • Book Ends: As part of Alan Silvestri's score, short, dramatic instrumentals of "Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah," accompany both the opening Walt Disney Pictures logo and the last few seconds of the end credits.
  • British Stuffiness: One of the twins is American and the other is British. Guess which is the proper one and which is the spunky one.
  • Camp Straight: If Martin doesn't qualify, I don't know who does. (see Little Black Dress below)
  • Country Mouse, City Mouse: Hallie is the Country Mouse coming from a vast vineyard in Northern California while Annie is the City Mouse coming from downtown London. Played with, though, in that Annie adjusts very well to camping in the forest.
  • The Ditz: Both Marvas are quite bubble brained.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: In addition to the example listed in the top folder, Hallie's dog barks at Meredith in the hotel.
  • Foreign Language Tirade: As noted under Bilingual Bonus.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Elizabeth and Nick, both times.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    Elizabeth: (to Hallie) You're not to worry, okay?
    I'm sorry! I can't handle this!
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: The Strip Poker payoff at camp.
  • Grounded Forever: "We've been grounded till the end of the century." Which would have been much more threatening if the movie wasn't released in the Summer of 1998.
  • Hate at First Sight: Hallie and Annie hate each other from the moment they first see each other and see they look exactly alike.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: Elizabeth panicked during the flight and drank everything in sight, so this was necessary.
  • I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Nick Parker. Annie lampshades this.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Elizabeth may not drink much, but she's a total lightweight.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: The bartender's Hideous Hangover Cure tastes and looks like tar.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Chessy, when she finds out, wants to coddle Annie and tries to cook everything in the kitchen for her
  • Little Black Dress: Martin, Elizabeth's butler and friend, suggests she take one on the trip to see Nick and switch the girls back. She's actually wearing it when they all go out to dinner.
  • Logo Joke: The Walt Disney Pictures logo is accompanied by an orchestral version of an excerpt from "Let's Get Together" from the original movie.
  • The Magic Poker Equation
  • Montages: The movie makes liberal use of them:
    • See Hard Work Montage in the "Both Movies" folder.
    • Hallie's first day in London has at least two.
    • At the end of the movie, Elizabeth and Nick remarry, Martin proposes to Chessy, and Chessy says yes.
  • Mythology Gag: A few sentences from "Let's Get Together" song (made famous in the Hayley Mills version) are hummed/spoken by Lindsay Lohan at one point.
    • Meredith's mother is not only named Vicki, but played by the same actress as her from the original movie, Joanna Barnes.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • Chessy and Martin are like family to their respective employers. Averted with Meredith who treats Chessy like a talking dog who would be summoned with a bell.
    • Chessy is even treated nicely by Elizabeth who was intoxicated at the time of their meeting again after years apart.
      Chessy: [upon seeing Elizabeth after so many years] Hi, you probably don't remember me. I...
      Elizabeth: [gives her a kiss on the cheek] Chessy!
      Chessy: I knew I always liked her.
  • Old Man Marrying A Child: Used as an indirect accusation, delivered with Sugary Malice. When Nick tells his daughter that Meredith is about to become part of the family, she surely understands right away that he's talking about marriage. However, she pretends to innocently misunderstand him and get all ecstatic about how he's finally getting one more daughter by adopting her.
    • A similar line happens in the original version ("I always wanted a sister!") but doesn't have the same insinuation as that version of the fiancee clearly looked like an adult.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Happens to both Hallie and Annie, more often to whoever has a British accent at the moment. Often it's the In-Character version of the trope. Lohan had to play four accents — American, British, American pretending to be British, and British pretending to be American. The latter two had accents slipping. Lohan does a remarkable job in the scene at the hotel where she's basically playing four characters at once - Hallie, Annie, Hallie pretending to be Annie and Annie pretending to be Hallie. She switches up the accents just enough to do exactly what Hallie and Annie were after (confuse the heck out of Mom and Dad).
  • Parents Know Their Children: Sort of—the father looks each twin in the eye and declares which one is Hallie; however, it's not made clear if he's right, since the twins keep playing up the charade and make him question his own judgment.
  • Pet Homosexual: Meredith's sassy gay assistant: "Ooh, Ice Woman!"
  • The Remake: Of the 1961 film (see above).
  • The Reveal: In-universe, several times: first Hallie and Annie to each other (twice), then Annie to Chessy, then Hallie to her grandfather, then Hallie to her mother. And then Elizabeth dealing with the additional reveal of Nick's engagement to Meredith.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Elizabeth is getting emotional about the thought of meeting Nick for the first time after so many years, she spouts off several of these to Martin.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Elizabeth is pleased that Nick still remembers the wine from their first wedding.
  • Scenery Porn: Hallie arriving in London is of course an excuse for plenty of shots of the various landmarks. To a lesser degree, Annie arriving in California.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: When Hallie pierces Annie's ears, and when the girls drag Meredith's mattress into a lake.
  • Servile Snarker: Nick's housekeeper, Chessy, and Elizabeth's butler, Martin. They also become attracted to each other at first sight and end up being the Beta Couple.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Nick has a reaction like this when Elizabeth gets dressed up for the dinner on the ship because he's only seen her half hungover though of course the audience has seen her looking flawless before.
  • Shout-Out:
  • "Shut Up" Kiss
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: One of the first signs that something is funny about them is the fact that both of them like to eat Oreos topped with peanut butter, which everybody else seems to find disgusting (for some odd reason.)
  • Sword Fight: Hallie and Annie's first meeting is through an absurdly over-the-top "fencing match" at camp. The girls have fencing masks on as a way to save on special effects, to cover the faces of the stunt people, and for the big reveal that they both look alike when they take the masks off and face each other.
  • Take a Third Option: When Chessy welcomes Annie!Hallie home, Chessy asks her if she'd like to eat lunch after upacking, before unpacking, or-to Annie's surprise-while unpacking.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Meredith has one after being pranked by the twins and Nick dumps her.
  • You Are Grounded: After the girls scare Meredith off.
  • Youthful Freckles: Annie and Hallie has these. Lindsay Lohan's own.