John Ford in Maine

I didn’t expect to come across something of interest for the WLA Blog while wandering around Portland, Maine, this weekend, but that was before I stumbled upon a statue of director John Ford, famous for directing such western films as Stagecoach, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, etc. and etc.

Ford attended high school and Portland, and the city honored him with this statue. I remember having heard about the statue, and I wondered where it was, and it was only serendipity that took me down a particular street and right up to John Ford himself. The statue is surrounded by a circle of stone, with various important dates and bits of information cut into the stone.

The statue was commissioned in 1998, and, it’s really a well done statue, conveying a sense of character (especially with the pipe) and with a bit of a sense of humor in its accurate depiction of someone sitting in a director’s chair (portable, but not the most comfortable of furniture).

The statue is located at the intersection of Fore Street and Pleasant Street, on the eastern edge of the “Old Port” area of downtown Portland. For more information, see John Ford Marker.


6 Responses to “John Ford in Maine”

  1. Al Kammerer Says:

    How wonderful. I’ve seen the Longfellow statue there, but if I ever get back, I’ll look up Ford and pour out a 40 for a homie.

  2. Fenimore Says:

    That explains a lot. Now I’ll always think of Ford as that salty old Yankee in the Down East jokes: “can’t get there from here,” “turn right two miles before the covered bridge,” etc.

  3. Ron Scheer Says:

    Enjoyed this post. Interesting how many writers and directors we associate with the West had their origins somewhere in the “East.”

  4. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    Is there a tradition of emptying a 40 for John Ford? I ask this because, there was an empty 40 oz bottle on the sidewalk near the statue. I don’t know if this was an offering to John Ford, or if someone had just taken advantage of the fairly comfortable granite ring surrounding the statue to sit down and empty (not by pouring it out) the bottle in Ford’s good company.

  5. Fenimore Says:

    I don’t think Ford was a drinker … anyone know for sure? I read in Kathryn Kalinak’s “How the West was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford” that alcohol was “verboten” at his cast parties, though “sing-alongs were encouraged” (18).

  6. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    In my experience, sing-alongs are more effectively encouraged by the presence of alcohol.

    Maybe a flash-mob sing-along by Ford’s statue would be a better tribute.

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