“Well, fancy that!” Of The Day

Australia’s own Annette Kellerman, swimming champion and inventor of the women’s one-piece bathing suit, starred in the first ever million-dollar Hollywood film (which of course means that the title of the Esther William’s biopic “Million Dollar Mermaid” now makes so much more sense).


The film was “A Daughter Of the Gods” made in 1916, which used thousands of extras, elaborate sets and over 40 miles of film in its production for a final cut that ran for 180 minutes. The film was hugely controversial because Kellerman appeared naked. No known copies of the film survive.

Kellerman is one of Hoyden About Town‘s banner hoydens.

Categories: arts & entertainment, history


3 replies

  1. No no there is a copy or certainly a very big bit thereof – found about three years ago in the voluminous archives of Screen & Sound archive in Canberra – in very poor condition but I think it’s been successfully salvaged (will report back – am having dinner tomorrow night with saidsame salvager – snap – virtual degrees of separation)

  2. Oh, marvellous! It sounds as if it must have been quite extraordinary.
    Will you ask your salvager if they also have a copy of the special commissioned score (a rarity in 1916)? I know sound and images weren’t synchronised back then, so presumably it would be a separate recording or maybe just the music manuscript.

  3. Bad Bernice – wrong wrong – what was uncovered in Screen Sound’s vaults was previously unknown footage from Kellerman’s film of 1914 – Neptune’s Daughter. Not the lost & lamented 1916 production. Though my informant said that apparently there has been a long tradition of ANY film featuring the scantily dressed to “disappear” from the projectionist’s room at your local cinema. Many a lost treasure has turned up when some one’s family cleans out Uncle Herb’s garage after the wake – & she reckons as do her colleagues that there are Kellerman copies about as it had a huge release across cinemas in the US at the time. Just gotta find Uncle Herb’s copy.

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