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42nd St. Nocturne

1953 Xavier J. Barile Born: Tufo, Italy 1891 Died: New York, New York 1981 oil on fabric: canvas mounted on paperboard 8 7/8 x 11 7/8 in. (22.7 x 30.3 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Xavier J. Barile 1979.14.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 36B

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42nd St. Nocturne
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Luce Center Label

In 42nd St. Nocturne, Xavier Barile painted New York City's Apollo Theatre aglow beneath a starry sky. Barile's lively "nocturne" shows moviegoers filtering in and out of the theater under a marquee advertising the main feature, The Moon is Blue. Directed by Otto Preminger, this 1953 comedy film caused an uproar when it appeared on the big screen. The story revolves around a virginal young actress pursued by a playboy architect. Preminger released the film without the approval of the Motion Picture Production Code, since he refused to remove such words from the script as "pregnant" and "seduce," language considered objectionable at the time. The director's rebellion was great publicity, and huge crowds flocked to see a movie that, as Barile's marquee advertises, was "spiced by more than a dash of sex."


Architecture Exterior - civic - Apollo Theater

Architecture Exterior - civic - theater

Cityscape - New York New York

Cityscape - street - 42nd Street

Cityscape - time - night

Figure group


About Xavier J. Barile

Born: Tufo, Italy 1891 Died: New York, New York 1981

More works in the collection by
Xavier J. Barile