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The Parent Trap
Parenttrapposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nancy Meyers
Produced by Charles Shyer
Screenplay by
  • David Swift
  • Nancy Meyers
  • Charles Shyer
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Dean Cundey
Editing by Stephen A. Rotter
Studio Walt Disney Pictures
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date(s) July 29, 1998 (1998-07-29) (United States)
Running time 128 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Money made $92.1 million

The Parent Trap is a 1998 American romantic comedy film co-written and directed by Nancy Meyers, and produced and co-written by Charles Shyer. It is a remake of the 1961 film of the same name and an adaptation of Erich Kästner's 1949 German novel Lottie and Lisa (Das doppelte Lottchen).

Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson star as a divorced couple who separated shortly after their identical twin daughters' birth; Lindsay Lohan stars (in her film debut) as both twins, Hallie Parker and Annie James, who are fortuitously reunited at summer camp after being separated at birth. David Swift wrote the screenplay for the original 1961 film based on Lottie and Lisa. The story is comparable to that of the 1936 Deanna Durbin film Three Smart Girls. Swift is credited along with Meyers and Shyer as co-writers of the 1998 version.

The Parent Trap was released on July 29, 1998 and was a box-office success, grossing $92.1 million against a $15 million budget. It received positive reviews from critics, with Lohan's performance in particular earning high praise.

Plot

In 1986, American winery owner Nicholas Parker (Dennis Quaid) and British wedding gown designer Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson) get married over the course of a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Elizabeth 2. However, shortly after the birth of their identical twin daughters, Annie and Hallie (both played by Lindsay Lohan), they get divorced and each has sole custody of one girl; Nick raises Hallie in Napa Valley, California and Elizabeth raises Annie in London, England.

Almost twelve years later in the summer of 1998, Nick and Elizabeth coincidentally send their daughters to the same summer camp, where they meet and take an immediate dislike to one another. They begin to pull a series of pranks on each other and after one prank goes too far, the two girls are isolated together as punishment until camp is over. One day they discover they are twin sisters and hatch a plan: to switch places in order to meet the parent they have never met and eventually reunite them. Hallie imitates Annie's British accent and flies to London to meet their mother, maternal grandfather Charles, and the James' butler Martin. Meanwhile, Annie imitates Hallie's American accent and flies to Napa Valley to meet their father, Hallie's nanny Chessy, and the family dog Sammy.

Upon arriving in Napa Valley, "Hallie" learns Nick has a new girlfriend Meredith (Elaine Hendrix), a child-hating gold digger, to whom he intends to propose. "Annie" sneaks out to call her sister from a phone booth but is discovered by Charles, who persuades her to reveal her identity to Elizabeth. Meanwhile, Chessy grows suspicious of "Hallie's" odd behaviour, and "Hallie" confesses she is really Annie, but they do not tell Nick.

"Annie" tells Elizabeth that Nick wants to meet her in San Francisco in order to switch the girls back and the two of them, along with Martin, travel to do so. On the same weekend, "Hallie", Nick, and Meredith travel to the same hotel to discuss wedding plans. Nick sees Elizabeth for the first time in years, and they both learn they have been tricked by their daughters into meeting again, as well as Nick discovering he's had Annie in his care since the end of camp. Meanwhile, Chessy and Martin meet and grow romantically attracted to each other.

Hallie and Annie recreate the night their parents met by renting out a yacht for an evening, but ultimately fail to rekindle Nick and Elizabeth's relationship. The twins resort to a last-ditch effort by demanding a three-day family camping trip, refusing to reveal which twin is which until after they return. Elizabeth tricks Meredith into taking her place on the camping trip at the last minute, much to the girls' dismay. Over the course of the trip, Hallie and Annie play a number of harmless tricks on Meredith who becomes enraged and demands Nick chooses between her and them. Nick, finally seeing Meredith for who she truly is, chooses the girls over her, breaks off the engagement and calls off the wedding, much to Meredith's dismay.

Back in Napa Valley, Nick shows Elizabeth his wine collection including the bottle from their wedding; they both realise they still have feelings for one another but decide it is better to go their separate ways. Elizabeth and Annie later board a flight for London, but when they arrive home, they find Nick and Hallie waiting for them (having taken a faster flight on the Concorde). Nick expresses his previous mistake of not going after Elizabeth when she left him the first time. They kiss, being watched by the girls who exclaim, "We actually did it."

Photos during the credits show Nick and Elizabeth getting remarried aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2, with Annie and Hallie as bridesmaids, and Martin proposing to Chessy.

Cast and characters

  • Lindsay Lohan as Hallie Parker and Annie James, eleven-year-old twin sisters who were separated after birth. Following their parents' divorce, they were raised separately with no knowledge of each other's existence — until they meet at summer camp by chance. Erin Mackey was Lohan's acting double for the scenes where the twins appear together.
  • Dennis Quaid as Nicholas "Nick" Parker, Annie and Hallie's father, a wealthy American vineyard owner.
  • Natasha Richardson as Elizabeth "Liz" James, Annie and Hallie's mother, a famous British wedding gown designer.
  • Elaine Hendrix as Meredith Blake, a 26-year-old child-hating publicist who is planning to marry Nick for his money.
  • Lisa Ann Walter as Chessy, Nick's housekeeper and Hallie's nanny. She meets and falls in love with Martin. She also discovers that "Hallie" is actually Annie after noticing her strange behavior.
  • Simon Kunz as Martin, the James family's butler, who falls in love with Chessy.
  • Polly Holliday as Marva Kulp Sr., the owner and director of Camp Walden.
  • Maggie Wheeler as Marva Kulp Jr., Marva Sr.'s daughter and assistant.
  • Ronnie Stevens as Charles James, Elizabeth's wealthy father and Annie and Hallie's maternal grandfather. After he catches Hallie on the phone with Annie, she tells him about switching places.
  • Joanna Barnes as Vicki Blake, Meredith's mother.
  • J. Patrick McCormack as Les Blake, Meredith's father.

Kat Graham played Jackie, a friend of Annie at Camp Walden. Vendela Kirsebom appears as a model during a photoshoot sequence at Elizabeth James' studio. Meyers and Shyer's daughters Hallie Meyers-Shyer and Annie Meyers-Shyer make appearances in the film, credited as Lindsay and Towel Girl, respectively. Lohan's brother Michael (credited as Lost Boy At Camp) plays a boy at Camp Walden who did not realize he was going to an all-girls camp. Lohan's mother, Dina, and other siblings Aliana and Cody, all appear in uncredited cameos at the airport in London. The films cinematographer Dean Cundey appears in an uncredited cameo as the captain of the Queen Elizabeth 2, who marries Nick and Elizabeth at the beginning of the film. Jeannette Charles portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in a deleted scene in which she and Hallie meet.

Connections to the 1961 film

There are several connections between this film and the original 1961 version:

  • The characters Marva Kulp Sr. and Marva Kulp Jr. are named after Nancy Kulp, the actress who played a camp counselor in the 1961 film, Miss Grunecker.
  • Both versions of the film feature product placement by Nabisco. In 1998 film, Oreos are featured, while in the 1961 film, Fig Newtons are featured.
  • During the poolside scene where Annie and Meredith meet for the first time, Meredith speaks on the phone with someone named Reverend Mosby, who was a character in the 1961 film played by Leo G. Carroll.
  • Joanna Barnes appears in both films, playing Vicky Robinson in the 1961 film, and Vicki Blake in the 1998 version.
  • The Stafford Hotel is named after a boy in the 1961 film that Hayley Mills's character Susan talks to at a camp dance.
  • Right before Hallie meets Meredith for the first time, she can be heard singing a few bars of "Let's Get Together", a song from the 1961 version originally sung by Hayley Mills.
  • There are bunk houses named Arapahoe in both films.

Music

The song used in the opening sequence in which glimpses of Nick and Elizabeth's first wedding are 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 are 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. The song "Let's Get Together" is also quoted over the Walt Disney Pictures logo, and at the end of Alan Silvestri's closing credits suite.

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 tune playing as Hallie and Annie are making their way up to the Isolation Cabin is the main theme from "The Great Escape" by Elmer Bernstein.

The song coming from the radio in Meredith's car as she pulls up to the Parker's home is "Parents Just Don't Understand" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

The background song heard in the campfire scene is "How Bizarre" by the music group OMC.

The song playing as Annie, Elizabeth, and Martin say goodbye to Hallie, Nick and Chessy toward the end of the film is "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye", performed by Ray Charles & Betty Carter.

Soundtrack

The Parent Trap
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
Released July 28, 1998
Length 54:08
Label Hollywood
The Parent Trap (Original Soundtrack)
No. Title Recording artist Length
1. "L-O-V-E"   Nat King Cole 2:32
2. "Do You Believe in Magic"   The Lovin' Spoonful 2:05
3. "There She Goes"   The La's 2:43
4. "Top of the World"   Shonen Knife 3:56
5. "Here Comes the Sun"   Bob Khaleel 3:08
6. "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"   Linda Ronstadt 3:44
7. "Soulful Strut"   Young-Holt Unlimited 3:00
8. "Never Let You Go"   Jakaranda 3:07
9. "Bad to the Bone"   George Thorogood & The Destroyers 4:49
10. "The Happy Club"   Bob Geldof 4:05
11. "Suite from The Parent Trap"     7:13
12. "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)"   Natalie Cole 2:49
13. "Dream Come True"   Ta-Gana 3:50
14. "Groovin'"   Pato Banton & The Reggae Revolution 3:50
15. "Let's Get Together"   Nobody's Angel 3:08
Total length:
54:08

Film score

The Parent Trap
Film score by
Released September 1, 1998
Length 39:46
Label Hollywood
Alan Silvestri chronology
The Odd Couple II
(1998)
''The Parent Trap
(1998)
Practical Magic
(1998)

All songs written and composed by Alan Silvestri

The Parent Trap (Original Score)
No. Title Length
1. "The Disney Logo"   0:16
2. "Suite from The Parent Trap"   7:12
3. "Annie and Martin"   1:00
4. "Shake Hands, Girls"   0:34
5. "Like Twins"   3:39
6. "Changes"   2:41
7. "Hallie Meets Mom"   3:43
8. "Annie Meets Dad"   2:11
9. "Vineyard Suite"   1:38
10. "I Am Annie"   1:17
11. "Dad's Getting Married"   1:01
12. "Hallie Breaks the News"   1:49
13. "You'll Kill in It"   0:53
14. "Table for Two"   1:51
15. "She's Gone"   2:05
16. "Where Dreams Have No End"   2:18
17. "We Actually Did It"   1:38
18. "Finale"   3:52
Total length:
39:46

Box office

The film premiered in Los Angeles on July 20, 1998. 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. By the end of its run, The Parent Trap grossed $66,308,518 domestically and $25,800,000 internationally, totaling $92,108,518 worldwide. The film was released in the United Kingdom on December 11, 1998, and opened on #3, behind Rush Hour and The Mask of Zorro.

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1999 Artios Awards Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy Ilene Starger Nominated
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Female Newcomer Lindsay Lohan Nominated
1998 International Film Music Critics Association Best Original Score for a Comedy Film Alan Silvestri Nominated
1999 Online Film & Television Association Best Breakthrough Performance: Female Lindsay Lohan Won
Best Youth Performance Lindsay Lohan Nominated
Best Family Actress Lindsay Lohan Nominated
1999 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress Lindsay Lohan Won
Best Family Feature - Comedy The Parent Trap Nominated
1998 YoungStar Awards Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film Lindsay Lohan Nominated

Remake

On February 21, 2018, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that remakes of several films are in development as exclusive content for The Walt Disney Company's streaming service Disney+ with one of those projects named in the announcement as The Parent Trap.

Reunion

On July 20, 2020, Katie Couric moderated a virtual cast reunion through her Instagram account for the film's 22nd anniversary. Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter, Simon Kunz, Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer all participated in the video chat. A charity fundraising effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, the reunion special helped raise money for chef José Andrés' non-profit organization World Central Kitchen. Quaid then released an extended version of the reunion on his podcast The Dennissance on the following day.

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