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    The Early Eddie Murphy

    So in my quest to continue to watch Eddie Murphy films, my aide Terry insisted I see "48 Hours" with Nick Nolte. She said it was hilarious.

    In the beginning of the picture is the set-up, where a very young Nolte as a police detective sees two fellow officers killed and springs Murphy from prison in order to help him find the killers who were former associates of Murphy.

    As the prison administrator said to Nolte, "You have exactly 48 hours and I want him back."

    What struck me most in the film was how very young Murphy looked in this, his debut film from 1982.

    I was struck by his energy and overall charisma. Nolte also looks particularly young in this film, said to be the first "cop buddy film" of its ilk, followed by such genre films as "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Lethal Weapon."

    Even in this, Murphy's first film, he doesn't just play the role dramatically, but uses his comic talents to lighten up the otherwise straight action film.

    I must say I'm not a strong proponent of action films in general, but this movie had interesting characters, humor and relationships I am very much drawn to.

    A lot of the humor comes from Murphy's quest to hook up with a woman after spending years in prison.

    When I was pursuing my acting career, I read and was considered for a film starring Nolte with my character in a minor role playing a girlfriend of his. It was from an open call and I think part of the reason I was considered was I had the right look and the waist-length hair they were looking for.

    As more details came clear to me about the character I was playing and the details of what I had to do as an actress, I understood there to be nudity involving my character and Nolte's character.

    But I didn't want my first screen appearance to be in that venue. In fact, I talked to several agents and they agreed it wouldn't be a good idea to move forward as an unknown in this direction.

    In hind sight, I'm not really sure I had that good a shot at the role, but I stand by my decision to this day. I think it would have been gratuitous nudity and not what I wanted to be known for. Plus there was always nagging at the back of my mind, "O, my God, what would my parents think?"

    I think from there on in I focused on TV because nudity wouldn't come up as an issue.

    I think Murphy said the producers were considering Sylvester Stallone for the part in "48 Hours" and it would have been a much different movie if Stallone had done it.

    I absolutely concur and think Murphy was a solid choice, giving the movie a lot more humanity than it would have had. By the end of the movie, Murphy and Nolte become friends and defend each other, each saving the others life along the way.

    As a first film, this gave Murphy both action and comedy venues which were born out in later films.

    It took me a long time to get around to seeing it, but it was worth the wait and I recommend it to you in case you haven't seen it.


    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com