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Annette Kellerman Neptune's Daughter

Rocky beach, Bermuda
1914 AK1410

   Short-sleeved blouse and long skirt. Animal pattern strapless minidress or cape.

   None. TL.

   Scenes from Neptune's Daughter. The village girl on the right and holding the pot is Annette Kellerman. The royalty and captain are Leah Baird and William Shay (1). If Neptune's Daughter is an opportunity for Kellerman to get wet, this scene isn't it. More revealing is this leopard skin single-strapped cape/minidress/one-piece swimsuit--if we can call it that (2), although it appears to be associated with a rocky beach and water behind.
   The picture not here is Kellerman wearing a modern one-piece maillot pantaloon swimsuit, such as this Australian postcard image (AK1E60)

   Nepture's Daughter is based on Kellerman's idea of "a water fantasy movie with beautiful mermaids in King Neptune's garden together with a good love story." It is filmed by Universal on Bermuda, costs $35,000 to make, and grosses one million dollars at the box office.
   Kellerman plays a central role to bring the swimsuit to the silver screen. Her justification is that she is a swimmer after all, so duh! But she is also a flirt and a tease, a star, a headliner and PR hound. Baring legs isn't just good for swimming, it is also good for box office.
   Up until now bathing suit legs in the cinema were covered (see AK0915 and link from there to others). In Nepture's Daughter Kellerman certainly knows that animal hides are not bathing suits. The animal cape makes Kellerman looks more like a Planet of the Apes girl than a bather; as a costume it is unusual for the period, not unique (e.g. LM1635). Documentation is thin here on a really solid example of Kellerman in this movie bringing the modern one-piece maillot to the silver screen, although this is frequently reported as history. The missing link might be akin to this postcard pinup (AK1E60).
   If indeed Kellerman started out in the movies completely covered up (AK0915) she will end up completely nude (AK1610), so bare-legging in the middle is à natural witness point to look for.

   Strick implies a still from Neptune's Daughter, Universal, 1914. Scanned from Phillip Strick, Great Movie Actresses, Beach Tree Books, William Morrow, New York, 1982, p. 10. .50 from Daniel Blum, A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1953, p. 55. See the Kellerman page for more source details. 2 pictures.
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