This is my contribution to the Children in Film Blogathon hosted by Comet Over Hollywood. Click HERE to read about more talented tinseltown tykes!
Before the Beatles, before Carnaby Street, before Twiggy, my heart had already been invaded by the British. Hayley Mills was my favorite pre-teen, teen and young woman. I wanted to look like her, talk like her, wear my hair like she did and wear the same clothes. I really wanted to change my name to Hayley, but I couldn't figure out how to accomplish that. She was my idol.
My love affair with Hayley started with "The Parent Trap" in 1961. That snub nose! That adorable haircut! That accent!!! And there were two of them!! From then on I scooped up every Tiger Beat, 16, Teen Screen and American Girl magazine that featured an article on Hayley. Photos like the one above (from "Summer Magic") adorned by bedroom walls.
|Hayley as Pollyanna - the ultimate Disney child star|
As I absorbed all things Hayley, I learned that I had missed a few films, most notably 1960's Disney version of "Pollyanna," as well as "Tiger Bay" and "Whistle Down the Wind," two films where here acting was most admired. Hayley came by her talent naturally, since her dad was acclaimed actor John Mills and her mom was actress and writer Mary Hayley Bell.
|Hayley and her proud parents in 1964|
At the time of "The Parent Trap," Hayley was 15, so her shelf life as a true child star was short. But this kid had staying power and Hayley blossomed into a teen favorite. And yes, I endlessly played "Let's Get Together" (yeah, yeah, yeah!) and "Johnny Jingo" over and over on my non-stereo record player.
Disney (mostly) kept her busy for the next four years and consequently kept me and lots of other pre-teens oh-so-happy. "In Search of the Castaways," "Summer Magic," "The Moonspinners," "The Truth About Spring," and "That Darn Cat" - oh bliss!!! It was a great time to be a movie-going pre-teen.
I loved the great adventure of "In Search of the Castaways," and even then, I was taken with the twinkle in Maurice Chevalier's eyes.
"Summer Magic" was a particular favorite of mine. Corny, yes, but I was so enamored of her, her clothes, her story. I lived every moment with her up there on the screen.
and yes, I had these (and still do, thank you).
After "Summer Magic," Hayley got a chance to really act in the non-Disney film version of "The Chalk Garden," along with Deborah Kerr and her dad. Of course, I sent to see it, but I confess it was a little over my head at the time. Didn't matter - Hayley was in it.
Disney's "Moon Spinners" was one of my all time favorite Hayley films. It had beautiful locations, an exciting story, Hayley's name was Nikki (I loved it), she had a real romance, and some old movie vamp named Pola Negri slinked across the screen with an ocelot and stole the show.
|Nikki is about to be kissed!!|
|Pola shows the younger generation what a movie star looks like|
"The Truth About Spring" was much anticipated, since Hayley had another love interest (James MacArthur) and she sported a new casual bob. It was a non-Disney film and she co-starred with her dad.
Hayley's last Disney film for a very long time was the delightful and memorable "That Darn Cat." By then she was a little too mature for such fluff, but who cared? She was Hayley and the cat was cute.
The last time I loved Hayley at the movies was in 1966's "The Trouble With Angels." After that, she attempted to move into more adult roles, but her star faded and she was no longer a big box office attraction. She married, divorced, had children and lovers. But here's another great thing about Hayley: she almost never stopped acting. She did TV, theater and movies. She tried everything and shrank from nothing. In 1986 she returned to Disney in a TV film of "The Parent Trap II." She stretched her talent to the limit and decided to live an actor's life. After all, it is in her blood.
|A swinging sixties Brit bird|
Today, Hayley continues to act in TV and on stage. She is a breast cancer survivor and is still going strong. When I look at Hayley today I confess I feel a bit old, but I am also encouraged because that youthful glow still shines through.
Love love love your Hayley Mills post! I'm a huge Hayley fan too (though not when she was in theaters) and also love Summer Magic! I love that yellow dress she wears at the end.
I am still trying to track down "The Truth about Spring" because it looks great and James MacArthur is so handsome!
I already have your post linked so you don't have to worry about sending it :) Thanks for participating!
-Jessica, Comet Over Hollywood
My favorite Hayley Mills film was also "The Parent Trap". Awesome review!! She was so cute!!
Bet you knew I'd love THIS one. Let's get together - yeah yeah yeah. It's on my ipod.
Thanks, Jessica. It was great fun to gush about Hayley (I do it every chance I get!. So, thanks for providing yet another opportunity.
Dawn - I have seen that movie so many times that I get cross-eyed and see 4 Hayleys instead of 2 (which is not a bad thing).
Jan- I thought about you when I was writing this. And thanks for sharing a part of your playlist that I think we should just keep between us!
Love Hayley and the post! Great job!
I want to live in that big yellow house in "Summer Magic", the ultimate girl's movie.
I adored your article and the wonderful memories.
What a terrific article. Although I was born in the 60's, I don't really remember seeing any of Hayley's movies as a kid. I got into her when I had my own children and was looking for quality family movies.
We love In Search of the Castaways, and I'll take the original Parent Trap any day over the remake (though Dennis Quaid does have a beautiful smile!).
This was such a fun post.
Thanks for stopping by, Jenni.
CW - I'm with you. I remember every outfit she wore in that film!
Thank you, Patti. Absolutely - there is no comparison between the 2 Parent Traps - Hayley rules. But why did she have a British accent when her parents didn't?
FlickChick - thanks for the memories. Hayley Mills was my first crush. I really enjoyed seeing her at the TCM festival a couple of years ago. She related that it was Walt Disney's wife Lillian that saw her on the stage in London and talked Walt into hiring her for his studio. Thanks Lillian!
Christian - I love learning that the boys loved her, too. And thank you Mrs. Disney!
"Nothing could be better -- say hey, alligator!"
Although I was born in 1980, I grew up watching Hayley Mills movies and wanting to be best friends with her. When I was in high school, I got to go see her as Anna in a stage version of The King and I and she was wonderful. As is to be expected!
Terrific post! I really enjoyed your unabashed love for Haley - and really, what's not to love?
I didn't realize she had battled breast cancer. She really is a remarkable woman.
I think my fave Haley movie is "The Parent Trap".
Another actress who amde it into adulthood without traumas! Although I'm not that familiar with Hayley's work, I can say she was probably the most well-known Disney child star.
Now a question: how much his father being an actor influenced in her career?
Thanks for the coment!
Flick Chick, Really enjoyed reading all about your youthful idolization of Hayley Mills. I remember "Pollyanna" very fondly and "The Parent Trap." OMG, "Let's Get Together" was on the radio 24/7 then, wasn't it? I also have a very soft spot for "Summer Magic" which I saw with my cousins on a warm summer night long ago. Wonderful post.
Hamlette - oh, I so wanted to see her when she was touring in "The King & I." I'm glad to hear she was wonderful.
Silver Screenings - I think everyone who has seen Hayley in Parent Trap puts that as their favorite of her films. After all, 2 Hayleys always beats 1.
Le - I think coming from a famous family had a definite impact on her (and her sister, Juliette). It's great to see that she is still active today.
Lady Eve - there is something about "Summer Magic." It's geared to the teenage girl and boy, does it hit the mark.
Excellent post! You captured the excitement we all share when watching Hayley Mills. This gal is just CAPTIVATING. How dull life would be without the Hayley Mills films that we grew up with! I can't pick a favorite film of hers because I adore them all. Love your picture selection too.
So much fun reading all the fan love for Haley Mills. I remember growing up with The Truth About Spring, The Moon Spinners and Summer Magic. I, too, wanted to be just like her. I also loved her work in The Family Way a movie in which she is a grown up newly wed in Mod England of the 1960's. I just adore her. Thanks for the memories.
Hayley is probably my favorite child performer. THE CHALK GARDEN, WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND, POLLYANNA, and THE PARENT TRAP are all among my favorite films. Plus, I have a soft spot for THE TRUTH ABOUT SPRING, too. Part of those films' appeal is the presence of Hayley...but the first four also happen to be to be excellent films all-around.
Thank you for a thoroughly charming and personal article! It's fun to read things from the fan perspective!
I love Hayley Mills. I know I'm not alone and thank you for your loving article. I could watch "The Parent Trap" over and over ... and perhaps I will tonight :)
Metzinger Sisters - thank you so much for stopping by. Yes, life without Hayley would have been so dull!
Kathi Keeney: I agree that Hayley fit right in with the swinging sixties. I remember how scandalous The family Way was when it came out. Hayley has sex! Impossible!
Thank you, Rick. I am always tickled to know the boys like her, too.
moviesilently: thank you for stopping my. I was - am remain - truly a fan!
Classicfilmboy - I'll bet Hayley would smile if she could read your comment.
Thanks for the lovely commentary on Hayley Mills. I've had a girl crush on her since I was a kid, and still love re-watching (and occasionally finding one I'd not seen before. Most recently "The Family Way", which I thoroughly enjoyed.) Some time ago, my Movie Night group did a mini-Hayley festival. Turns out, they were all Hayley fans too!
Thank you, Patricia. I am overwhelmed at the outpouring of crushes and gushes for our Hayley.
I love the way you evoke your childhood in this post. You capture the giddiness of being a young fan so well. I'm with you on loving Hayley's clothes. Her outfits in The Moonspinners were especially charming. I'd love to own any of them!
Love this blog! Major Hayley fan, first girl crush, pictures all over my wall. But I fell in love from seeing her in Gypsy Girl. I often feel like the only person who ever saw it! I watched it 11 times and wrote the entire script out, memorized it and played it for months. I still look for it on classic tv channels.
Thanks for the great memories. I was a Carnaby St fan too, and Twiggy eventually fought for space on my wall, too!
I love Hayley Mills! I was born in June 1963, right before Summer Magic, and I became aware of Hayley after seeing her Disney films on TV as a child in the early '70s. I had a major pre-teen crush on her, which still exists in a nostalgic way. Hayley's beauty, sweetness, innocence and the fact she is British make for an unbeatable combination. I have all of her films.
Yeah, me too.
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