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The Parent Trap
, Theatrical release poster

Directed by
Nancy Meyers
Produced by
Charles Shyer
Screenplay by
David Swift,
Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer
Story by
Erich Kästner
Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter, Simon Kunz
Music by
Alan Silvestri
Dean Cundey
Editing by
Stephen A. Rotter
Walt Disney Pictures
Distributed by
Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates

July 29, 1998 (1998-07-29),

Running time
128 minutes
United States,
United Kingdom
$15.5 million
Box office
The Parent Trap is a 1998 romantic comedy film co-written and directed by Nancy Meyers, and produced and co-written by Charles Shyer. It is the second adaptation of Erich Kästner's German novel Lottie and Lisa (Das doppelte Lottchen) following the 1961 film of same name and stars Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson as a couple who divorce soon after marrying, and Lindsay Lohan in a dual role as their twin daughters, Hallie Parker and Annie James who are accidentally reunited after being separated at birth. The novel and the 1936 Deanna Durbin film Three Smart Girls are the basis of the screenplay written by David Swift for the 1961 and 1998 film, only the novel is credited however. Meyers and Shyer are credited as co-writers of the 1998 version along with Swift.


1 Plot,
2 Cast and characters,
3 Production,
4 Music
4.1 Soundtrack,
4.2 Film score,
5 Response,
6 Reception
6.1 Critical reception,
6.2 Box office,
7 Deleted scenes,
8 References to the 1961 version of the film,
9 Pop culture references,
10 References,
11 External links,

In 1986, Nick Parker (Dennis Quaid) and Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson) meet and get married during an ocean cruise on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. After the birth of their twin daughters, Annie and Hallie, Nick and Elizabeth divorce and lose contact, each parent raising one of the twins without telling her about her sister. Nick raised Hallie in the Napa Valley and he became a wealthy wine grower, while Elizabeth raised Annie in London and became a famous wedding gown designer.
Eleven years later, in 1997, Nick and Elizabeth coincidentally enroll their daughters in the same summer camp in Maine called Camp Walden. Hallie and Annie first meet at the end of a fencing match, when they remove their masks and see that they look alike. A comical hostility between the two girls leads to a prank war that ends when the camp counselors fall into one of Hallie's traps and isolate the twins from the other girls.
Living together, Hallie and Annie discover that they were born on the same day and they each have half of a torn wedding photograph of their parents. Realizing with delight that they are twins, the girls hatch a plan to meet their previously unknown parents: each girl will train her twin to impersonate her, and they will switch places at the end of the summer camp.
When camp is over, the plan succeeds. Hallie, pretending to be Annie, goes to London, where she meets her mother, her grandfather Charles and the James family's butler Martin (Simon Kunz). Annie, pretending to be Hallie, goes to California, where she meets her father, the Parker family's housekeeper Chessy (Lisa Ann Walter), their dog Sammy, and Nick's young, opportunistic fiancée Meredith Blake (Elaine Hendrix), who is only interested in Nick's money. Distressed by Meredith's deviousness, Annie telephones Hallie and persuades her to bring Elizabeth to California to break up the engagement. Soon, the girls' identities are discovered by everyone except for Nick and Meredith, who remain unaware of the switch until their newfound family members surprise them.
In order to bring Nick and Elizabeth together, Hallie, Annie, Chessy, Martin and Charles conspire to have them meet at a hotel in San Francisco by arranging for Nick to meet Meredith's parents and by not telling Elizabeth about Meredith. Nervous about meeting Nick, Elizabeth asks Martin to accompany her and Hallie. After a few comical mixups in the hotel, Nick and Elizabeth see each other, Nick finally learns about the switch and the girls host a candlelit dinner for Nick and Elizabeth, served by Chessy and Martin, on a yacht decorated to recreate their first meeting. At dinner, Elizabeth mentions that Nick did not follow her after she left him, and Nick responds that he was not sure if Elizabeth wanted him to. They make plans for the girls to spend holidays together, but decide against resuming their relationship.
Hallie and Annie dislike this idea, so they force their parents to take them on Hallie and Nick's annual camping trip by refusing to reveal which twin is which. After Elizabeth persuades Nick and the girls to take Meredith instead of herself, the girls play tricks on Meredith. Hallie (or Annie) put rocks in her bag when she is tired, and put a lizard on her Evian bottle, which they later put on her head. They also put sugar and water together in Meredith's mosquito repellant bottle, and then they take her floatable mattress out the tent and put it in the lake, who becomes enraged and gives Nick an ultimatum that he choose her or the girls. Nick chooses the girls over Meredith and breaks off the engagement.
After Meredith leaves, Nick shows Elizabeth his wine collection, which includes the wine they drank at their wedding. Elizabeth is touched by this gesture at first, but has a change of heart and returns to London with Annie. However, when Annie and Elizabeth get home, they find Hallie and Nick waiting for them, having flown there on the Concorde. Elizabeth is fearful of remarrying, but she yields to Nick's confidence, and Hallie and Annie look on happily as Nick and Elizabeth embrace. A year later, Nick and Elizabeth get re-married aboard the QE2, with the girls as bridesmaids and Martin presenting Chessy with an engagement ring.

Cast and characters:
Lindsay Lohan as Hallie Parker and Annie James, 11-year-old twin sisters who were separated shortly after birth. Following their parents' divorce, they were raised separately with no knowledge of each other.,
Dennis Quaid as Nick Parker, Hallie and Annie's father, a wealthy American man who owns a winery.,
Natasha Richardson as Elizabeth "Lizzie" James, Hallie and Annie's mother, a wealthy British wedding gown designer.,
Elaine Hendrix as Meredith Blake, an attractive young publicist who is planning to marry Nick for his money.,
Lisa Ann Walter as Chessy, the Parker family's housekeeper, who meets and falls in love with Martin.,
Simon Kunz as Martin, the James family's butler, who falls for Chessy.,
Polly Holliday as Marva Kulp, Sr., owner and manager of a summer camp.,
Maggie Wheeler as Marva Kulp, Jr., Marva Kulp, Sr.'s daughter and assistant.,
Ronnie Stevens as Charles James, Elizabeth's father who managed to find out Hallie's identity.,
Joanna Barnes as Vicki Blake, Meredith's mother,
J. Patrick McCormack as Les Blake, Meredith's father,
Erin Mackey as Hallie/Annie double,
Lindsay's mother, Dina and younger sister, Ali appear in uncredited cameos as a mother and her daughter at the airport.
Joanna Barnes appeared in the original 1961 film as Vicki Robinson, the attractive gold digger who is planning to marry the girls' father for his money.
The scene where Nick sees Elizabeth and leans over in the elevator is a repeat of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne's classic scene from My Favorite Wife.

Principal photography started on July 15, 1997 in London, England and continued in Napa Valley, San Francisco, Lake Arrowhead and Los Angeles, California.

The song used in the opening sequence in which glimpses of Nick and Elizabeth's first wedding is seen is Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E". The song used in the end credits, in which photos of Nick and Elizabeth's second wedding is seen, is his daughter Natalie Cole's "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)".
The instrumental music featured prominently in the hotel scene where the girls and their parents cross paths serendipitously is "In the Mood", which was previously made famous by the Glenn Miller band. Later in the hotel, Hallie sings a few bars of "Let's Get Together", a tune from the first version of the film that was a hit for its star, Hayley Mills.
When Hallie shows up at Annie's poker game at Camp Walden, the music used is "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers.
The background song heard in the campfire scene is "How Bizarre" by the music group OMC.

The Parent Trap

Soundtrack album by Various artists
July 28, 1998
Hollywood Records
"L-O-V-E" - Nat King Cole,
"Do You Believe in Magic" - The Lovin' Spoonful,
"There She Goes" - The La's,
"Top of the World" - Shonen Knife,
"Here Comes the Sun" - Bob Khaleel,
"(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" - Linda Ronstadt,
"Soulful Strut" - Young-Holt Unlimited,
"Never Let You Go" - Jakaranda,
"Bad to the Bone" - George Thorogood & The Destroyers,
"The Happy Club" - Bob Geldof,
"Suite from The Parent Trap" - Alan Silvestri,
"Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye - Ray Charles and Betty Carter,
"This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) - Natalie Cole,
"Dream Come True" - Ta-Gana,
"Groovin'" - Pato Banton & The Reggae Revolutation,
"Let's Get Together" - Nobody's Angel,
"In the Mood" - Glenn Miller,

Film score:
The Parent Trap

Film score by Alan Silvestri
September 1, 1998
Hollywood Records
watch the movie chronology

The Odd Couple II,
The Parent Trap,
Practical Magic,

"The Disney Logo",
"Suite from The Parent Trap",
"Annie and Martin",
"Shake Hands, Girls",
"Like Twins",
"Annie Meets Mom",
"Hallie Meets Dad",
"Vineyard Suite",
"I Am Annie",
"Dad's Getting Married",
"Hallie Breaks the News",
"You'll Kill in It",
"Table for Two",
"She's Gone",
"Where Dreams Have No End",
"We Actually Did It",

The film was met with generally positive reviews, holding an 86% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It entered the box office charts at number 2 on July 31, 1998. It ended up with a gross of over $66 million in the U.S. and $92,108,518 worldwide.
The film debuted on United Lands television (The Family Film Channel) on October 4, 1999, and had 5.43 million viewers.


Critical reception:
Upon release, the film received generally positive reviews from film critics. The website Rotten Tomatoes states that 86% of critics gave the film a "Fresh" rating. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 64/100, indicating "generally favorable". It also received "two thumbs up" from Siskel and Ebert.

Box office:
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $11,148,497 in 2,247 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #2 at the box office, behind Saving Private Ryan, was the best debut for a Disney film that week. By the end of its run, The Parent Trap grossed $66,308,518 domestically and $25,800,000 internationally, totaling $92,108,518 worldwide.

Deleted scenes:
The scene slots between Hallie and Martin meeting at Heathrow Airport, and Hallie meeting her mother and grandfather. Hallie is in a limo and they come across Buckingham Palace. She gets out and tries to get one of the guards to move. The guards then crowd around in formation as the Queen exits Buckingham Palace in a car. The window rolls down and Hallie speaks to the Queen, getting confused with 'Your Highness' or 'Your Majesty' or whether to curtsy. The Queen promises not to tell a soul and moves off. Director Nancy Meyers had a difficult time getting the uniforms, location, and an actress to play the Queen. Although the scene is shot well, the scene was deleted due to pacing problems.
Another deleted scene appears in the trailer that debuted in 1998. The scene shows Hallie standing out on the deck of her vineyard-estate house. She sees a shooting star and sings the rhyme "Starlight, Starbright." Annie appears standing outside her window, too.
In the original draft of the script, many scenes have been altered or deleted. An extended ear-piercing scene is in. While putting the needle through Annie's ear, Hallie screams and passes out. Annie gently smacks Hallie in the face, trying to wake her up. After Hallie wakes up, she asks Annie, "Are you bleeding to death? Did it hurt?" Annie tells her no to both questions and shows Hallie the needle again, and tells her to finish with the other because she (Annie) will not go through life with just one pierced ear. Hallie passes out again.
In an extended scene, Elizabeth delves further into why she and Nick did not stay together long. She says, "I tried living in California, He tried living in London..." Hallie replies, "So you broke up?" Elizabeth tells Hallie that she and Annie were the best thing about the whole situation and they continue to stroll down the streets of London.
There is an extended ending at the end where Hallie tells Annie: "You guys are going to love living in California." To Annie replies: "California? You guys are going to love living in London." Then Hallie replies "London?" In the front yard Sammy is barking to the poodle next door as Chessy and Martin are kissing and Charles is getting home.

References to the 1961 version of the film:
As this film is a remake of the 1961 The Parent Trap, it features a number of references to the film it is based on. Among them are:
The use of the Sherman Brothers song "Let's Get Together", which also plays over the Walt Disney Pictures Logo.,
Meredith talks to a "Reverend Mosby", named after a character in the original film.,
Some of the dialogue is almost identical to the 1961 film.,
Actress Joanna Barnes, who played Vicki Robinson (a character like Meredith Blake) in the original film, plays Meredith's mother (also named Vicki) in this film.,
The camp counselors, Marva Kulp Sr. and Jr., are named after Nancy Kulp, who played the younger camp counselor in the original film.,
Many of the camping scenes were taken from the original film, such as:
The use of the sugar and water mosquito repellent which the twins give Meredith was also given to Vicki in the original film.,
The use of clapping two sticks together to scare away mountain lions, even though there aren't any.,
The use of the lizard on Meredith's canteen.,

Pop culture references:
After Hallie arrives in London, she and her mother walk across the street together, on the same street, zebra crossing, and with the same cars as the Abbey Road album cover of The Beatles. The song "Here Comes the Sun" (written by George Harrison) plays; the screen even pauses while they are walking across.
The music that accompanies Hallie and Annie's march to the isolation cabin is taken from the scene in The Great Escape in which Steve McQueen's character is marched to prison.
In numerous scenes, the girls refer to Meredith as Cruella de Vil, a reference to the 1996 film version of 101 Dalmatians which feature Richardson's sister, Joely Richardson.
First, Nick sees his ex-wife in a hotel as an elevator door closes in front of him. This is essentially identical to the corresponding scene in the 1940 screwball comedy My Favorite Wife, starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, and its 1963 remake Move Over, Darling, starring Doris Day and James Garner. Other references to the film are the husband's name of "Nick," and a scene where someone falls into a pool at a hotel.
When asked by Hallie, "You talkin' to me?" Meredith replies, "What are you, Robert De Niro?", a reference to the film Taxi Driver.
In the scene set in the isolation cabin during the rainstorm Hallie's picture of Leonardo DiCaprio gets ruined by a gust of wind through an open window. Hallie is then surprised to find out that Annie hasn't heard of Leonardo DiCaprio.
Hallie, after being asked many questions about living in California, refers to two girls at Camp Walden as Lucy and Ethel Mertz, a reference to the American sitcom, "I Love Lucy" starring Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance.

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