Films starring Annette Kellerman almost always found a way to showcase her skills as a diver, swimmer and underwater ballet artist. This scene showing her diving appeared in the silent feature Neptune's Daughter (Herbert Brenon, USA, 1914).
Some reels of Neptune's Daughter have been lost but, to give an idea of the level of stunts she performed herself, Kellerman wrote, ‘In one scene I was thrown over a cliff with my hands and feet tied. I had to release myself under the water. The cliff was about 50 feet high but I had done so much high diving all my life it did not seem difficult’ - Fairy Tales of the South Seas (1926).
The winning combination of action, drama and a hint of nudity, resulted in a big win at the box office for Neptune's Daughter. The film cost US$35,000 to produce but grossed over US$1 million, earning Kellerman the moniker 'Million Dollar Mermaid' (which became the name of the biopic starring Esther Williams as Kellerman, released in 1952).
Notes by Beth Taylor