Constantine Verevis - "Trading Places: Das doppelte Lottchen and The Parent Trap"
In 1961, Walt Disney Productions released The Parent Trap, a story of identical 13 year-old twins, Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick, who meet for the first time at a summer camp and gradually realise they are sisters (separated at birth) whose divorced parents took custody of one child each. With Hayley Mills starring in the dual role of the twins, The Parent Trap was a huge popular and commercial success for the Disney studio: theatrically re-issued (1968); extended through three sequels (1986–1989); and remade in 1998, “introducing” Lindsay Lohan in the twin role of Annie and Hallie, raised respectively in London and California. Perhaps less well known is that Disney’s 1961 version of The Parent Trap was itself already a remake of German, Japanese and British versions – Das doppelte Lottchen (1950/), Hibari no komoriuta (1951), and Twice Upon a Time (1953) – each in turn derived from Erich Kästner’s 1949 novel Das doppelte Lottchen. This paper inquires into the transnational connections between Kästner’s novel and the US and German versions (and their remakes). While the doppelgänger is a familiar figure in German fiction, this paper extends its analysis beyond Kästner’s twin figures of Lisa (from Vienna) and Lottie (from Munich) to chart not only a cartography of transnational flows – a political economy of textual production and reception – but also indicate the way in which the exchange of twins – Luisa and Lotte, Susan and Sharon, Charlotte and Louise, Annie and Hallie – is symptomatic of the that between original and remake copy.
Constantine Verevis is Associate Professor in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. He is author of Film Remakes (Edinburgh UP, 2006) and co-author of Australian Film Theory and Criticism, Vol. I: Critical Positions (Intellect, 2013). His co-edited volumes include: Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film Sequel (SUNY P, 2010), After Taste: Cultural Value and the Moving Image (Routledge, 2011), Film Trilogies: New Critical Approaches (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012), Film Remakes, Adaptations and Fan Productions: Remake/Remodel (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012), B Is for Bad Cinema: Aesthetics, Politics and Cultural Value (SUNY P, 2014), US Independent Film After 1989: Possible Films (Edinburgh UP, 2015), and Transnational Film Remakes ( Edinburgh UP, forthcoming).