GenreDrama Music directorRobert Hood Bowers CountryUnited States
English intertitles Release dateOctober 17, 1916 (1916-10-17) WriterHerbert Brenon (screenplay), Herbert Brenon (story) CastAnnette Kellerman (Anitia), William E. Shay (Prince Omar), William E. Shay (The Sultan) Similar moviesRelated Herbert Brenon movies
A Daughter of the Gods was a 1916 American silent fantasy drama film written and directed by Herbert Brenon. The film was controversial because of the sequences of what was regarded as superfluous nudity by the character Anitia, played by Australian swimming star Annette Kellermann. 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. It was filmed by Fox Film Corporation in Kingston, Jamaica where huge sets were constructed, and directed by Herbert Brenon.
Though stills and publicity photos have survived, the film is now considered lost.
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 (underwater sequences, Kellerman's nudity, etc.) in an obvious effort to avoid plagiarism of Belasco's play and hence a lawsuit.
A sultan agrees to help an evil witch destroy a mysterious beauty if the witch will bring his young son back to life.
Annette Kellerman as Anitia (daughter of the gods)
William E. Shay as Prince Omar (as William Shay)
Hal De Forrest as the Sultan
Marcelle Hontabat as Celine
Violet Horner as Zarrah
Jane Lee as Little Prince Omar
Stuart Holmes as Moorish merchant
Katherine Lee as Nydia
Ricca Allen as Witch of Badness
Millie Liston as Zarrah's mother (as Milly Liston)