We can leave aside the question of whether this kind of film actually constitutes a genre in itself - there appears to be some disagreement about it but repeated viewing of those movies, coupled with attentive analysis of Cavell's essays on these, is surely a profitable exercise.
Among the things which strikes me is how small Cavell is considering a film qua film; during the majority of his article on Sturges' glorious humor starring Stanwyck and Fonda he might be writing about a drama, if written, staged, or filmed. True, early he discusses a camera motion (which can be misidentified as'drifting' - the scene in question is accomplished by a direct cut), the funny opening credit sequence, also, afterwards, he does tackle REFLEXITIVITY concerning the picture of the 3 card hustlers, in addition to saying, in a conversation regarding the mirror Jean stays up to watch the other passengers on the boat, which"... we're advised that this movie knows itself to have been composed and directed and edited and photographed." Perhaps it does, perhaps it does not - but when it doesit does so in a sense obvious only to some philosopher or even a serious film scholar. It does not show this understanding of itself in the manner, say, the mic hanging over a celebrity's head is clearly observable in a Godard movie.
However, aside from this, there's small in Cavell's article that tackles the film for a member of a distinctive artistic medium. As an instance it could be, I believe, entirely out of character to Cavell to remark on the transition clip in the"smokestack" of this tiny boat Fonda and Demarest consume the Amazon into the smokestack of this cruise boat (think about Kubrick cutting out of the thrown bone into the spaceship) or about using stock footage of a cruise boat sailing around the sea that Sturges utilizes here. Or this - that the tiny boat they've already been up the Amazon with only happens to have the ability to contact the ocean liner at the center of the ocean? Obviously, I know that Cavell's concerns lie in various areas - he states that he isn't pretending to be writing film criticism - however occasionally as I read his experiments I wonder whether he is not giving the cinematic facets of cinema only a small short shrift.