What? I never dicho that I would only do animated movies, and disney produced a lot of cine with real actors over the years. Now, don’t expect of me that I do ALL book-based cine disney ever made, but I picked a few I consider worth a look, sometimes because the movie is something special, but often (like in this case) because I think the book it is based on deserves some attention. If there is a movie made por disney (not just distributed por it, it has to be a genuine disney production), tu would like me to discuss, I am open for suggestion, but don’t promise anything. 1. Which one traps it better?
I guess most of tu are aware that there are two cine with the título The Parent Trap. The “original” from 1961 with Haley Mills as twins, which spurned a whole cine series (which I won’t discuss here), and the remake of 1998 with Lindsey Lohan. Now, it seems to be some sort of sport to hate on Lindsey Lohan por now, but I think she does a really good job in this movie and delivers a performance, which can keep up with Haley Mills.
When it comes to the quality of the two cine – I honestly don’t see much of a difference. The screen play is nearly identical, the actors do a good job, I really don’t think that one movie is really “better” por any stretch of imagination. The original is a little bit más grounded (and has "Let's get together"), the remake a little bit más over the top, but in a good way (hopping the Concorde to catch the amor of your life leaving on a plane is just made for win). I personally prefer to watch the remake, but that’s mostly because it has a technical advantage and therefore does a way better job when it comes to pretending that one actress is two different persons. It also uses character modelos más often, while the original version is sometimes a little bit gimmicky about letting the twins appear in screen together as often as possible. 2. But let’s talk about the book
Before I go into the details, I guess tu should know a little bit más about the cultural significance of the fuente text. Das doppelte Lottchen (in the English translation “Lottie and Lisa”) is one of the most successful libros of German writer Erich Kästner. While many people perceive him nowadays as children’s book writer, he actually wrote a myriad of screenplays and really thoughtful poems, but since he was one of the writers targeted por the Nazis (while he was one of the few writers who decided against leaving the country, he could only work under pseudonyms and with special permission for years and a lot of his work fell victim to the infamous book-burnings), a lot of his adult related work got overlooked for a long time. My favourite quote of him is: “Nur wer erwachsen wird und ein Kind bleibt ist ein Mensch” (Only the people who grow up and stay nevertheless a child are human).
It might be hard to imagine, but when “Das doppelte Lottchen” was published in 1949 it was actually very controversial for addressing the theme “divorce” in a children’s book. It was nevertheless very popular, especially since there were a lot of single mothers after the war. Kästner himself addresses the issue in the book in a very roundabout way, por pointing out that Shirley Temple was allowed to make movies, but not allowed to watch them in theatres because she was too young for a Shirley Temple movie (take this story with a grain of salt). And then proceeds to say that there are a lot of children who suffer because their parents are divorced and other children who suffer because their parents should divorce but don’t, and if the children suffer under those circumstances talking to them about it is the least we can do as adults.
And this is the actual theme of the book. Not the humorous aspect of two twins being confused for each other, but what it means for two children not to know the other half of their family, and how they both discover a world very different from the one they grew up in. 3. Time to compare
The parent trap cine are both first and foremost comedies. The original book has a lot of humour, but is nevertheless mostly a drama and takes the issue it addresses very serious.
Let’s start with the circumstances. Susan/Hallie and Sharon/Annie are actually fairly well adjusted children. They both have not just their respective parents to look out for them, but also friends and family who play a role in their lives. They are a little bit different in that Susan/Hallie who grew up in California with her father is más boisterous, while Sharon/Annie who grew up with her mother in Boston/London has better manners and is a little bit less outgoing.
Luise and Lotte on the other hand are both somewhat neglected. It’s not like their parents don’t amor them, but they both are not able to give them the attention they need. Luise is very spoiled, her father is a successful composer, living in Vienna, who often leaves his child alone when he is in one of his artistic moods, and is overly indulgent when they spend time together. The only other person in Luise’s life his Resi, the house keeper, but she is well aware that Resi only acts friendly because it’s her job.
Lotte on the other hand is a small adult, having grown up in Munich under much poorer circumstances. Because her mother is forced to work long hours for a publisher to keep them both aloof, she learned to take care of the household at a very young age – and this meant back then much más than just being able to use the microwave. She is overly serious and a little bit shy. Compared to Luise she is más sensible and sometimes seems to be the “weaker” one, but in a way, she is also the stronger one, because she confronts problems with a plan in mind instead of just resorting to violence.
The sad thing about their situations is that they both are not really aware that there is something wrong with the way they are raised. It’s mostly the reader who notices that despite their parents amor for them, they are both a little bit blind for the needs of their children. tu could say that Luise is too much of a child, and Lotte too much of an adult, because of that.
Now, the cine make a big deal of the two twins fighting with each other when they first meet. The book is way más realistic in this regard. While Luise initially reacts with scorn towards this girl who looks nearly exactly like her (Lotte always wears braids while Luise prefers to let her curly hair fly free), it actually only takes about a día until they start to develop a friendship. Unlike the children in the movies, they don’t discover that they are sisters until after they went to the photographer for a foto for them both with braided hair.
Now the cine spend a lot of time on the jokes they play in the camp and what they do to get their parents back together. The time when they exchange places mostly concentrates on funny situations which come to pass because each parent has suddenly to deal with a different personality, and with various people figuring out the truth. The strongest moments in both cine are when twins are asking their parents about their other parent and why they are no longer together. And with both movies, I wish there were más of this.
When Luise and Lotte exchange places, they both discover a really different world. Luise’s adventure starts with her having to wait a long time alone at the train station, before her mother finally turns up (as usual, she couldn’t leave work earlier). Instead of living in a big apartment, she now has to share her room with her mother (both Luise and Lotte prefer this arrangement over Luise’s isolated room). Her first try cooking ends up, predictably, in a great failure, so her mother teaches her “again”. She also isn’t able to stay at the parte superior, arriba of her class like Lotte did, and gets into fights with a (female) bully at school.
Lotte on the other hand has it initially a little bit easier, because her father doesn’t really expect that much of her. But it’s not in her nature to just sit around and do nothing, and soon she is leading the household of her father, which becomes más inviting under her touch. Even Resi develops into a good and honest help under her watchful eye. And the change in the children also triggers a change in the parents. The mother learns that she doesn’t really have to do o pay much to give her daughter happiness. And the father learns that he doesn’t have to flee family life to be an artist but can find inspiration in it.
Those aspects are mostly missing in the movies. There are some scenes in which one the twins demand the attention of one parent in a way the other would have never done it, but overall, the focus of the cine is mostly on bringing the parents back together. In the book on the other hand, the twins exchange the places because they fear what will happen if they tell their parents that they know, but aren’t able to pretend the meet didn’t happen either. And while there is a faint hope that the parents might get back together, it’s más a dream they don’t consider seriously. Mostly they hope that they might be able to decipher why their parents divorced, and naturally they both want to meet their other parent.
To be frank: I don’t really like the segundo half of the parent trap movies. Forcing the parents together doesn’t look like a good plan to me, especially since the reason for the división, split (that none of them could life in the world of the other one) is still an issue. And the whole “fighting off the gold-digger” part is a little bit cheap. It’s always easy to built-up an annoying and somewhat stupid character, and then give the audience the satisfaction to see him o in this case her thoroughly bashed. This will work every time, but honestly, this character is so transparent, I don’t see how the father can even fall for her, o why the mother would go into a cat-fight with her instead of taking her children and getting the hell out of there.
To be fair, the character is based on the book. But the new love-interest of the father, Fräulein Gerlach, is way better written. For one, she is quite clever and two she isn’t a oro digger, her family has money. That doesn’t mean that her “love” is less shallow. She is mostly interested because the father is good-looking and famous. And she is a danger, too, because while she does want family, she certainly doesn’t want the child of another woman in it. And that’s is her real “crime” - not that she is interested, but that her interest ends with the father. So when he ignores her for days to stay at the sick-bed of his daughter (Lotte becomes ill because the strain of the situation gets to her), and she then learns that his ex-wife (who came across the fotografía of the two children and discovered the truth) is in his home, they have a short argument and she leaves. She just isn’t the kind of woman who would cling to a man who is obviously lost to her. And the mother – well, she doesn’t even learn that there ever was another woman.
Like in the movies, the parents get eventually back together. But in this case the children don’t force the issue, though naturally the parents are well aware that what they want the most is not just staying together, but staying together with mother and father. It happens because the parents both realize that they were originally too young and not ready for the responsibilities of marriage. When they decide to remarry, they do it for the children, but also because they rue the lost years and the mistakes of the past. 4. Conclusion
I realize that I spend más time escritura about the book than the movies. That’s because there is much más to say about it. The cine are entertaining, certainly worth a watch if tu don’t have high expectations and want some laughs. But if tu want something thoughtful, I recommend the book (well, I would recommend the movie from 1950 too, but since it’s a German production, I doubt that it’s available in English). I don’t know if the translator of “Lottie and Lisa” did a good job to capture Kästner’s special style of narration, but I’m sure you’ll find that none of the parent trap cine really did it justice.