The wonderful opening to Frank Tashlin’s The Girl Can’t Help It serves two purposes. We see Tom Ewell, who plays the male lead in the film, on a performance stage, looking directly at the camera, delivering a monologue which sets up two of the important ideas of the film. First, simply enough, that this is a film about music — a certain type of music, seen as a fad in a very fad-driven society: rock’n’roll. The other is specifically about the film technology that is used so well. In an extraordinary use of meta filmmaking, Ewell begins his monologue in black-and-white, 4:3 standard-ratio frame, and starts to describe the wonderful CinemaScope. Noticing that the film the audience is seeing isn’t using this technology, he literally pushes the edges of the screen away, which instantly gives us a greater impact of the wide-screen format. Next, he moves on to all the wonderful colors you will see, again becomes annoyed until he is able to correct the picture for us. These effects obviously serve to captivate us by these new wondrous capabilities, but there is also a bit of a dubious undertone — one that marks the decade’s great ideology of consumerism. The film isn’t hawking vacuums or automobiles here, but it does feel intently like an advertisement. Ewell’s persona is the salesman, tricking us into buying what he’s selling. In this way, like other films I’ve covered in this series, The Girl Can’t Help It can be read simply through narrative, but it isn’t quite what it seems.