Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984)

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984) - Tanya Roberts

Taglines: Part Animal. Part Legend. All Woman.

Sheena’s white parents are killed while on Safari. She is raised by the mystical witch woman of an African tribe. When her foster mother is framed for the murder of a political leader, Sheena and a newsman, Vic Casey are forced to flee while pursued by the mercenaries hired by the real killer, who hopes to assume power. Sheena’s ability to talk to the animals and knowledge of jungle lore give them a chance against the high tech weapons of the mercenaries.

Sheena, also known as Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, is a 1984 Columbia Pictures film in Metrocolor based on a comic-book character that first appeared in the late 1930s, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. A hybrid of action-adventure and soap opera–style drama, Sheena was shot on location in Kenya. It tells the tale of a female version of Tarzan who was raised in the fictional African country of Tigora by the equally fictional Zambouli tribe.

The movie starred Tanya Roberts, Ted Wass, Donovan Scott, Elizabeth of Toro, France Zobda, Trevor Thomas, Clifton Jones, Nancy Paul and Kathryn Gant. It was directed by John Guillermin and written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr., who had previously collaborated on the 1976 remake of King Kong.

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984) - Tanya Roberts

Sheena bombed in theaters and was nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Tanya Roberts), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst Musical Score, but it reportedly did find some cult success on home video and DVD.

Around the time the film came out, Marvel Comics published an adaptation of the film as Marvel Super Special #34, written by Cary Burkett and illustrated by Gray Morrow. It followed the story of the film very closely, and developed the character of Fletch the cameraman quite a bit more than in the film, in particular revealing his surname to be “Agronsky”.

The comic also had several pages in the back about the making of the film. One noteworthy difference between the film and the comic concerns the ethnicity of Otwani’s troops. In the film, they are all white. In the comic, the only white soldiers are Colonel Jorgenson and the helicopter pilot (identified as “Joe”), while all of the others are of African descent, including the featured soldiers.

New editions of the comic books were first published by Devil’s Due, then the comic book publication was licensed to Moonstone by Galaxy Publishing, Inc. This latest version of the comic book is now (2012) being published.

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle Movie Poster (1984)

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984)

Directed by: John Guillermin
Starring: Tanya Roberts, Ted Wass, Donovan Scott, Elizabeth of Toro, France Zobda, Trevor Thomas, Clifton Jones, Nancy Paul, Kathryn Gant
Screenplay by: David Newman, Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Production Design by: Peter Murton
Cinematography by: Pasqualino De Santis
Film Editing by: Ray Lovejoy
Costume Design by: Annalisa Nasalli-Rocca
Set Decoration by: Ian Watson
Art Direction by: Malcolm Middleton
Music by: Richard Hartley
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: August 17, 1984