A Daughter of the Gods

A Daughter of the Gods
A Daughter of the Gods

Annette Kellerman
Directed by Herbert Brenon
Produced by William Fox
Written by Herbert Brenon
Starring Annette Kellerman
William E. Shay
Hal De Forrest
Music by Robert Hood Bowers
Cinematography André Barlatier
A. Culp
J. Roy Hunt
William Marshall
C. Richards
Marcel Le Picard
Edward Warren
Editing by Hettie Grey Baker
Distributed by Fox Film Corporation
Release date(s) 17 October 1916 (USA)
Running time 180 mins.
Country USA
Language Silent film
English intertitles
Budget US$1,000,000 (estimated)

A Daughter of the Gods (1916) is a silent film that featured Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman.The film was controversial because of the sequences of what was regarded as superfluous nudity by the main character, Nydia, played by Kellerman. The scene is regarded as the first complete nude scene by a major star, which occurred during a waterfall sequence, though most of Kellerman's body is covered by her long hair.[1] It was filmed by Fox Pictures in Kingston, Jamaica where huge sets were constructed, and directed by Herbert Brenon.

An original score was composed for the movie, which was played by an orchestra during each screening and it was considered the most memorable movie score up to that time. Though stills or publicity photos of the film have survived, no copy of the movie itself is known to exist, so the film is now considered a lost film.



A still or publicity photo for the film

A sultan agrees to help an evil witch destroy a mysterious beauty if the witch will bring his young son back to life.

Production costs

The film is credited as the first US production to cost $1 million to produce.

Great cost was afforded to make a sanitary of mosquito-proofing over a section of Jamaica. Sets consumed 2,500 barrels (400 m3) of plaster, 500 barrels (79 m3) of cement, 2,000,000 board feet (5,000 m3) of lumber, and 10 tons of paper. Director Herbert Brenon employed 20,000 people during the 8 months of production and used 220,000 feet (67,000 m) of film to shoot the picture.

Studio head William Fox was so incensed with the cost of production he removed Herbert Brenon's name from the film. However, Brenon sued to have his name restored to the film's credits, and won.


Brenon served as writer of this original scenario/screenplay for the film. However he more than likely saw and was influenced by David Belasco and John Luther Long's 1902 Broadway play The Darling of the Gods starring Blanche Bates, Robert T. Haines and young George Arliss, which has a similar theme of reward for rescuing a child and a large ensemble cast. The play differs in that it is set in feudal Japan while the movie is backdropped in an undersea kingdom, not unlike Atlantis. Brenon makes aspects of the play cinematic ie underwater sequences, Kellerman's nudity, in an obvious effort to avoid direct plagiarism of Belasco's play and hence a lawsuit. [2] [3] [4]


  • Annette Kellerman ... Anitia (daughter of the gods)
  • William E. Shay ... Prince Omar (as William Shay)
  • Hal De Forrest ... The Sultan
  • Marcelle Hontabat ... Cleone
  • Violet Horner ... Zarrah
  • Jane Lee ... Little Prince Omar
  • Stuart Holmes ... Moorish Merchant
  • Katherine Lee ... Nydia
  • Ricca Allen ... Witch of Badness
  • Millie Liston ... Zarrah's Mother (as Milly Liston)
  • Henrietta Gilbert ... Fairy of Goodness
  • Walter James ... Chief Eunuch
  • Walter McCollough ... Chief of the Sultan's Guard
  • Mark Price ... Slave Dealer
  • Louise Rial ... His Wife
  • Edward Boring ... Arab Sheik
  • Barbara Castleton

Production details

  • Filming date: January to August 1916
  • Filming location: Kingston, Jamaica
  • Release date: 16 October 1916; reissued by Fox Film Corporation in December 1917, in August 1918, and in February 1920
  • Release length: Ten reels
  • Copyright date: 15 October 1916
  • Written and directed by Herbert Brenon
  • Fox Film Corporation production
  • Distributed by Fox Film Corporation
  • Production supervised by J. Gordon Edwards
  • General manager Winfield R. Sheehan
  • Art direction by John D. Braddon
  • Costume design by Irene Lee
  • Prop master Joseph Allan Turner
  • Modeller Herbert Messmore
  • Chief electrician F. Sullivan
  • Technical director George Fitch
  • Cinematography by J. Roy Hunt, André Barlatier, Marcel LePicard, A. Culp, William C. Marshall, C. Richards, and E. Warren
  • Intertitle editor Hettie Grey Baker
  • Musical accompaniment by Robert Hood Bowers
  • Presented by William Fox
  • Copyrighted 15 October 1916 by William Fox (LP9325)
  • Standard 35 mm spherical 1.33:1 format


  1. ^ Robertson, James Crighton (1993). The Hidden Cinema: British Film Censorship in Action, 1913-1975. Routledge. pp. 9–10. ISBN 0-415-09034-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=SNfV-Ussp0gC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  2. ^ Magill's Survey of Cinema; Silent Films Essays 1 A-Fla A Daughter of the Gods page 361, Salem Press c.1981 by Frank Magill
  3. ^ The Darling of the Gods as produced on Broadway Dec.3, 1902 - May 1903, Belasco Theatre; IBDb.com
  4. ^ Pictorial History of the American Theatre; 1860-1970 page 71 by Daniel Blum c. 1970 (reprint edition of 1953 original)

See also

External links

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