SHEENA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE
Many of the people present on the project did not exactly give comfort. Certainly, on script there was David Newman who had written Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Superman (1978). Most prominently however, there was Lorenzo Semple Jr and director John Guillermin who had previously thoroughly trashed a great legend with the Dino de Laurentiis remake of King Kong (1976). Not unexpectedly a considerable camp element tends to dominate the film at times lines like Hello, Your Highness, Hiya Baby. To their credit, Lorenzo Semple and David Newman have given the traditional comic-book relation a hip and sparring Post Sexual Revolution update indeed Sheena is more of a Romancing the Stone (1984) with a sex reversal than it is a Tarzan film.
Sheena has many moments of the grand campiness that usually grants a film Golden Turkey status like a climactic attack on a helicopter by flamingos or in some of the purple prose dialogue that Tanya Roberts gets to say. Moreover, the central relationship that the script is hung around is hamstrung by the perpetually awful, totally blank Tanya Roberts in the title role. On the other side of the relationship, Ted Wass has a likeably handsome charm. There is some beautiful scenery all shot on location in Kenya. The result makes for a film that sits just on the dividing line between occasional effectiveness and being extremely bad.
A better version of the comic book was the tv series Sheena (2000-1) starring Gena Lee Nolin.
John Guillermin was a British director who directed two of the Sy Weintraub Tarzan films with Tarzans Greatest Adventure (1959) and Tarzan Goes to India (1962). Guillermin went onto other big adventure films, war films and spectacles such as Guns at Batasi (1964), The Blue Max (1966), The Bridge at Remagen (1969) and Shaft in Africa (1973). Guillermin is mostly remembered today for for the disaster film The Towering Inferno (1974) and the disastrous Dino de Laurentiis remake of King Kong (1976) and its equally terrible sequel King Kong Lives (1986).