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Needing the One You Hate: Frenemies from Casablanca to The Eagle

Posted January 07, 2011 to photo album "Needing the One You Hate: Frenemies from Casablanca to The Eagle"

Esca, the Celtic Slave, and Aquila, the Roman master, may appear an unlikely team in The Eagle, but the plot of enemies turned friends is a classic cinematic trope.

Slide 1: Roman/Celt
Slide 2: Apolitical/Collaborator | Casablanca (1942)
Slide 3: The Heiress/the Reporter | It Happened One Night (1934)
Slide 4: Sober/Drunk | The African Queen (1951)
Slide 5: Black/White | The Defiant Ones (1958)
Slide 6: Old/Young | True Grit (1969)
Slide 7: Cop/Crook | 48 Hours (1982)
Slide 8: Prisoner/Keeper | Midnight Run (1988)
Slide 9: Hippie/Straight Dude | Flashback (1990)
Slide 10: Finn/Russian | The Cuckoo (2002)
Slide 11: Old Man/Korean Kid | Gran Torino (2008)
Slide 7: Cop/Crook | 48 Hours (1982)

Slide 7: Cop/Crook | 48 Hours (1982)

Cops and convicts really don't get along, so it's inevitable that the main characters in Walter Hill's 48 Hours don't exactly start out on the best of terms. Gruff, hard-living murder detective Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) is out to catch the thief and cop-killer Albert Ganz (James Remar). But to succeed he must enlist the assistance of Ganz's former partner in crime, a slick, fast-talking jailbird named Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy). The two could not be more different. In addition to being on opposites sides of the law, Hammond is black, sassy, and quick, while Cates is white, laconic, and taciturn. In the end, however, the qualities that each disparage in the other turn out to be very elements that each needs. In one celebrated scene, Hammond in his jive and blustery way turns into Cates’ perfect crime fighting partner. Posing as a detective, he brings a rowdy redneck bar to a standstill, declaring, “I'm your worst fucking nightmare, man! A nigger with a badge.” In her New York Times review of Hill's movie, Janet Maslin wrote, “Mr. Murphy and Mr. Nolte make a fine, unlikely team, seeming to enjoy each other's company even when saying the rottenest things, and rising bravely to meet each new challenge. Mr. Nolte, as the grouch of the pair, handles the less showy role expertly, while Mr. Murphy runs away with every comic situation that comes his way. At times, these two sound so tough it's almost funny, especially when they're forced to trade the lines, 'You're gonna be sorry you ever met me' and, 'I'm already sorry.'”