Monday, 4 November 2013
The Parent Trap (1961)
After recently re-watching the 1998 remake, which I enjoyed immensely, I decided to pick up a copy of the original 1961 version of The Parent Trap. This version stars Hayley Mills as the identical twins with the scheme to re-unite their parents. Which ironically means that it has a British actress pretending to be two American girls, whereas the remake has an American actress pretending to be an American and a Brit.
Overall, this is certainly a less expertly-crafted film than the remake, with the major plot moments being less adroitly handled in general. Compare the Chessy/Annie scene (which Lisa Walters completely nails) to the original's Verbena/Sharon, or the way the twins first meet in each film.
The humour of the original also hasn't aged very well in some places, with a few scenes inducing winces rather than laughs. However, the last forty minutes or so have a gleeful mischief to them that gives the film a strong ending and makes it hard to dislike. Hayley Mills is good in the main roles, and Maureen O'Hara is lots of fun as their only slightly less mischievous mother.
If you're just going to watch one version, see the remake, but it's easy enough to see why this was well received when it came out.