The film His Girl Friday, Howard Hawkes' adaptation of The Front Page, is a film known for innovation. Ignoring the replacement of a woman as the reporter character, the film was one of the first examples of Hawkes' signature dove-tailing style of dialogue, which has characters beginning lines as another finishes one, a style now much replicated. Even more interesting was the use, mostly in ad-lib, of references to the construction of the film itself. Often called metafilms, films like 8 1/2 and Adaptation rely partially on the viewers understanding they are watching a films. This is similar to Brecht's "epic theatre" but without the purpose of alienation. In His Girl Friday, Cary Grant's character mentions a character he plays in another film, makes reference to his own given name and even makes reference to the character played by Ralph Bellamy by saying "He looks like that actor...Ralph Bellamy!" Since this isn't the purpose of the film it is hard to argue it is a purely metaflim, though Grant appears to exist on this level within the work. Ralph Bellamy, of course, is best known ad the dying millionaire in The Disorderlies starring The Fat Boys, as Dr. Danger alludes to in today's post about the White House weighing "orderly" bankruptcy of the not-so-Big Three.
We miss The Fat Boys, but we think of Wagoner more as Prince Markie Dee.