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A Daughter of the Gods
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
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 notorious for featuring Annette Kellerman in the first ever complete nude scene by a major star, which occurred during a waterfall sequence. 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. No copy of the movie is known to exist.

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) is based on the life of Annette Kellerman and the production of the movie A Daughter of the Gods.



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

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 million feet 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 (over 44 miles) to shoot the picture. William Fox (studio head) was so incensed with the cost of production he removed Herbert Brenon's name from the film, but Brenon sued and won to have his name appear.


  • 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, AndrĂ© Barlatier, Marcel Le Picard, 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.


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