"The Fourth Wall", for the uninitiated, is the wall that separates the movie from the audience, allowing the audience to be spectators to the events depicted. Famously, the Fourth Wall was demolished like the end of a Pink Floyd concert in the 1986 film, Ferris Beuller's Day Off.
In the movie, the main character spent almost as much time talking directly to the audience as he did interacting with the film's other characters, filling us in on plot lines, thoughts and emotions so we got a deeper understanding of what was going on in the movie.
What I'm wondering is, when was this device first used in film? While I'm not film student or expert, I can not think of a single movie prior to FBDO where the device is used. I know John Cusack's character in High Fidelity did it often, and it was used throughout Fight Club, but it seems such an obvious method to really clue the audience in on what the character(s) is/are feeling. Or is that just the reason not to; then you leave little to interpretation?