All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Monday, May 08, 2006

John Ford Slept Here

Watch for "John Ford/John Wayne" this Wednesday on the PBS series American Masters.

John Martin Feeney was born in Cape Elizabeth in 1894, was raised on Munjoy Hill in Portland, and as "John Ford" became one of America's greatest directors, with a resume that included Stagecoach (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), The Quiet Man (1952), The Searchers (1956), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).

Here's a snippet from Gerald Peary's 1990 essay "John Ford Slept Here":
The doorbell buzzes are unanswered at the faded, dusty New England three-decker at 23 Sheridan St. in Portland, Maine. However, past a shrine of St. Francis. A side entrance is discovered, and a back stairway.

"What do you want?" a vigilant female voice calls down from the top.

"Do you know that film director John Ford lived in your apartment when a boy?"

She does, though there's no historical marker on the building in which she rents the third floor. Lisa Bridge-Koenigsberg, a human-services worker, had learned of Ford's 1907-1914 residence from a booklet on the history of her blue-collar neignborhood, Munjoy Hill. "I'd seen The Grapes of Wrath, so it made the apartment quite wonderful." [Link]
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