By People Staff
February 20, 1978 12:00 PM

by Joan Mellen

Years of watching Flynn, Bogart, Wayne, Eastwood and their fellow aggressive, violent, uncompromising heroes battle villains and, usually, disdain women must have affected the way a lot of little boys have grown up. But Mellen, a Temple University professor of English, does little to prove her hypothesis beyond providing exhaustive and exhausting descriptions of films. There are also some minor but annoying errors. She says, for instance, that the Indian has been “rarely represented as a free, sensual and physically powerful male.” Tell that to Jeff Chandler and Burt Lancaster fans. Then, too, the author strays into questionable political quagmires, stating in a discussion of Vietnam films that the U.S. used “nerve gas and bacteriological weaponry” in Southeast Asia. A potentially fascinating book thus becomes as tedious as friends who recite dialogue from films they’ve just seen, line by line and inaccurately. (Pantheon, $12.95)