Venus of the South Seas
Coming at the tail end of her silent film career, Venus of the South Seas (USA, 1924) was directed by Kellerman's husband and manager James (Jimmie) Sullivan. Kellerman's mother Alice Charbonnet-Kellermann wrote the script.
The film was primarily financed in the US but shot in New Zealand. This film is complete, unlike Neptune's Daughter (1914), which exists only in fragments, and A Daughter of the Gods (1916), which is lost altogether.
The simple plot is an excuse for Kellerman (as Shona and also the fairy princess and the mermaid) to display her considerable swimming, diving and underwater ballet talents. As well as displaying physical strength and prowess, Kellerman's character sails a boat single-handed in stormy conditions.
These qualities aside, Venus of the South Seas is a fairly lightweight and otherwise forgettable film. Viewed today, it suffers from an overly melodramatic story and some weak acting.
This watermarked copy of the complete 47 minute film comes from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision in New Zealand.
Notes by Beth Taylor