View Full Version : Anette Kellermann: First person filmed underwater?

05-25-2015, 01:00 PM
So, in an interview Raina did today (see "Saftey concerns over tailswimming" thread) the interviewer stated Annette Kellermann was the first person filmed underwater. Well, that might actually be true, even if I didn't find hard, independent evidence for that exact statement at the moment.
The ponits I actually do know now are:

Annette Kellermann was the first person setting up aquatic shows in theaters around the world starting at about 1905
The film industry at that time was in its early beginnings, with a lot experimenting to be done (the cameras weren't nowhere near those small, sophisticated things we have today, and the film stock too was much, much slower, so film recordings of the vaudeville (I guess that's what they are called) shows are unlikely, but not impossible).
She definitely went into a movie career at about 1909, starting at first with some minor films (not sure if they involved underwater scenes already)
In 1914 she made a movie one would call today "blockbuster" ("Neptunes daughter")
She was the most notable and famous woman swimmer of her time
Although not hard evidence, a German children's television show did a short bio on her in an edutainment-stlye format ("Siebenstein", ep. "Eine Flosse für Siebenstein", aired end of March 2015 on a German children's channel, the series features an antiquity shop-owner called Siebenstein getting involved in several adventures where the lines between reality and imagination start to blur), and although being edutainment, the part regarding Anette Kellermann's bio at least seem to be quite well researched, as they fit with the rest of the information available. There they stated that for a movie (which would be "Neptunes daughter" by the description) they build a special film set where Annette Kellermann could be filmed performing underwater.
She absolutely was a top celebrity at her time, so people would want her in the early films.

Taking all of the mentioned points into consideration, it is at least plausible for her being the first person filmed performing underwater.

I guess there are people especially here in the forum knowing a lot more about her biography, so please feel free add to this info.

P.S.: Sorry for this wall of text ;)

05-25-2015, 03:44 PM
She was the first person who put on a mermaid tail costume and was filmed in it.

I found the article's mention of her "also promoting nudity" superfluous and stupid.

She didn't really promote nudity; she insisted women should get the same opportunity to swim (which means, short bathing suit instead of ballooney pantaloons and wide dresses, which made swimming for women almost impossible and lead to many almost-drowning accidents- well, at least the men felt manly and needed :rolleyes:).

She was still arrested for indecency iirc, thus she invented the long bathing suit which covered the legs so people didn't faint and got heart attacks seeing.

I thought humanity had evolved a little bit since then, but the fact they decided to bring it up in the article out of context, probably as a bit of "negative connotation tidbit", makes me wonder.

Mermaid Freyja
05-28-2015, 01:18 AM
One of Annette's Underwater Ballets:


Some of what is left of Neptune's Daughter:


05-29-2015, 10:09 AM
thanks for digging up the clips