Hayley Mills in 6 Classic Disney Films


Hayley Mills’ movies made her the consummate Disney star in the ’60s: cute, bubbly and precocious. During her six-year run with Disney, Mills starred with some of the biggest names of the time (and opposite herself in ​”The Parent Trap”) cementing her place in classic movie history. Her career faltered after she left the studio, but her Disney legacy is worth reliving again and again.


Mills’ first movie with Disney saw her in the title role as “Pollyanna,” a girl who could find the silver lining in the stormiest cloud. The role won Mills a special juvenile performance Academy Award and solidified her star status. Watching Pollyanna transform her small town and the lives of its inhabitants – including Jane Wyman, Karl Malden, Donald Crisp, Adolphe Menjou, and Agnes Moorehead – is a delight. If you’re looking to see your first Hayley Mills film, start at the beginning.


Mills hits the high seas “In Search of the Castaways” as Mary Grant. She heads off along with her brother (Keith Hamshere) and their odd companion (Maurice Chevalier) to find the children’s father, believed to be lost at sea. This fun film is filled with all sorts of crazy adventures, including avalanches, earthquakes, fires, floods, and kidnapping, just to name a few. The highlight is a harrowing ride down the side of a mountain, which looks fun for kids of all ages.


“Summer Magic” is the most sedate of the films that Mills made for Disney. She stars as Nancy Carey, the eldest child of a family in financial trouble following the death of their father. Nancy convinces Osh Popham (Burl Ives), the caretaker for a home in Maine, to let the family stay there for free as they adjust to their new situation and deal with some unexpected twists. Featuring a number of songs by Disney favorites Richard and Robert Sherman, Ives’ song “Ugly Bug Ball” became a huge hit that year.

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