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Hayley Mills’ Five Best Roles

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With a new restoration of The Family Way just released, we look back at some of actress Hayley Mills' best performances.


Iconic British actress Hayley Mills has had a career spanning over five decades. From her roles as a child star and winning a Juvenile Oscar at just 14 years old, Mills cemented her stardom with a string of box office hits as a young adult including her leading role in Roy Boulting’s The Family Way, which is the latest addition to Studiocanal’s Vintage Classics collection and has been beautifully restored, available for the first time on Blu-Ray and on DVD and digital download. In celebration of its release on May 4th, we’re looking back at some of Mills’ best roles.





Pollyanna (1960)
Pollyanna (1960)
This role won Mills an Academy Juvenile Award, awarded for the most outstanding performance by a young performer. Pollyanna is a young orphan, who arrives in a small town to live with her wealthy, strict aunt Polly. She’s a talkative, radically cheerful and optimistic child who sees the positives in everything, no matter the situation, making her hugely popular and attracting friends from across the small town. When she falls out of a tree by her bedroom window, Pollyanna finds herself paralysed and learns that she may never walk again. She develops severe depression, a wake up call for her strict aunt, who rallies the town and all of Polyanna’s friends around her to wish her good health. Her good spirits gradually return, along with the hope of eventual recovery from her injury.



The Parent Trap (1961)
The Parent Trap (1961)
Mills stars in dual roles in this iconic story about teenage twins on a quest to reunite their divorced parents. Identical twins Sharon and Susan meet for the first time at summer camp, unaware they are sisters. Once they make the connection that they share a birthday and both come from single parent homes, they decide to switch places so each has the chance to get to know the parent they’ve been separated from all this time and hatch a master plan to get their parents back together. When they reveal the truth and arrange to switch back, sparks fly as their parents Mitch (Brian Keith) and Maggie (Maureen O’Hara) see each other again for the first time in years. The path to reuniting their family isn’t quite smooth sailing, with Mitch’s devilish fiancΓ©e Vicky (Joanna Barnes) lingering in the sidelines, but hilarity ensues as Sharon and Susan will stop at almost nothing to get their family back together! 



Whistle Down the Wind (1961)
Whistle Down the Wind (1961)
Whistle Down the Wind is a 1961 British film directed by Bryan Forbes, adapted by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall from the 1959 novel of the same name by Hayley Mills' mother, Mary Hayley Bell. In 2005, the British Film Institute included it in their list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14. After a confusing exchange with a strange man (Alan Bates) they find hiding in their family barn, Kathy Bostock (Mills) and her young siblings jump to the conclusion that the man - in reality an escaped killer - is none other than Jesus Christ. Excitement erupts as word spreads among the children in their small farming community in North West England. Adult skepticism abounds, until their father (Bernard Lee) catches wind of the tale and begins to investigate.




The Family Way (1966)
The Family Way (1966)
Based on Bill Naughton's play, The Family Way, directed by Roy Boulting, is a thought-provoking exploration of the emotional impact of the Sixties sexual revolution on a northern British family. Featuring a soundtrack by Paul McCartney, Hayley Mills and Hywel Bennett star as two sensitive youngsters who fail to consummate their marriage, following the vulgar ribaldry of their typically working-class Lancashire wedding. The Family Way was considered controversial at the time of its release, but remains a warm, gentle comedy of manners, morals and manhood.



Twisted Nerve (1968)
Twisted Nerve (1968)
Roy Boulting’s 1968 psychological thriller brought Hayley Mills and Hywel Bennett back together on screen and follows a troubled young man named Martin (Bennett), who retreats into the personality of a six-year-old named Georgie to get close to Susan (Mills), with whom he has become infatuated. Martin goes to murderous lengths to stop anyone coming between him and his beloved Susan.