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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done and concise portrait of Ford (and his relationship with his only son, Edsel). But who are the talking heads?
This is another fine example of the kind of documentaries that PBS' "American Experience" produces. They make the assumption that the viewer may be well versed in the basics of a subject's life or they could just as well know nothing. The basics are often covered entertainingly so as not to bore the former and the musical score often keeps the interest in the story, even...
Published 20 months ago by Steve Ramm

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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - Too Negative - Too Many Major Accomplishments Overlooked
I had such high expectations for this DVD. After watching it in one sitting it was obvious that it concentrates only briefly on just a few of Henry Ford's accomplishments, and instead focuses on his idiosyncrasies (or eccentricities, if you prefer) and his failings. This DVD held so much promise and ended up producing so much disappointment.

As a GM/Chevy guy,...
Published 17 months ago by B. Szafranski


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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done and concise portrait of Ford (and his relationship with his only son, Edsel). But who are the talking heads?, February 5, 2013
This review is from: American Experience: Henry Ford (DVD)
This is another fine example of the kind of documentaries that PBS' "American Experience" produces. They make the assumption that the viewer may be well versed in the basics of a subject's life or they could just as well know nothing. The basics are often covered entertainingly so as not to bore the former and the musical score often keeps the interest in the story, even if the facts get too technical.

This 110-minute documentary begins in the rubber forests of Brazil - and ends there. Not something you would expect for the story of one of America's great industrialists. But - as you will see if you watch it - it makes sense. And, it moves - just like Ford's Model T Ford - at a nice pace. Ford was responsible to the ground-breaking $5.00 wage and the assembly line but he also did "social engineering" building "towns" for his workers to live in and providing social activities for them. He also was an anti-Semite and this is not denied in the script.
The director is clever in using lots of archival movie footage - which keeps things moving along, but younger viewers should remember that until the mid-1920s, except for some experimental sound films by Ford's friend Thomas Edison, all movies were silent. So all the sounds you hear until 1930 (which is the bulk of footage here) has been supplemented by sound effects. But nicely done.

One weakness I found in this production that I don't remember being in other AE productions is the identification of the "talking heads" who are interviewed. With the sole exception of Bob Casey, Curator of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI - all the "experts" are identified by their name and the title "Historian". They could be college professors, authors or researchers but we are never told where they reside or their professional affiliation. All are quite interesting but I - for one - would like to know where their expertise lies.

The film is narrated by actor Oliver Platt, who does a fine job. The DVD has no additional bonus features.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in American history as well as those interested in business - not just the auto business.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - Too Negative - Too Many Major Accomplishments Overlooked, May 29, 2013
By 
B. Szafranski (Buffalo, NY, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: American Experience: Henry Ford (DVD)
I had such high expectations for this DVD. After watching it in one sitting it was obvious that it concentrates only briefly on just a few of Henry Ford's accomplishments, and instead focuses on his idiosyncrasies (or eccentricities, if you prefer) and his failings. This DVD held so much promise and ended up producing so much disappointment.

As a GM/Chevy guy, I'm no devotee of all things Ford - not that there's anything wrong with that - it's just who I am. But as a writer of manufacturing-history articles and as a mechanical engineer, I'd've expected that some time would've been spent in this DVD on at least a few of Henry Ford's major accomplishments. Unfortunately, this DVD focuses on all the negatives aspects of Henry Ford's life which the writers and producers could find and, thus, exploit. That is so sad.

The people who wrote and produced this DVD could've produced a true historical document about Henry. Instead, all they ended up doing was airing their gripes & complaints about what they dislike about the man. Again, that's so sad. They should've known better, as should the so-called historians who appear in this DVD. I'm guessing that some of the people interviewed are disappointed that only their negative comments were extracted and put into this DVD.

Please remember that July 2013 marks 150 years since the birth of Henry Ford. As this DVD was produced in 2012 I had guessed (wrongly, obviously) that it would concentrate more on the positives of Henry's life, rather than the negatives. Further, I'm shocked that this DVD is for sale on the Henry Ford Museum website's Gift Shop. Are the museum directors so greedy that they'll even sell a negative DVD about Henry? That, too, is so sad.

I'd like to document some of the major accomplishments for which Henry Ford is responsible. Again, I make no claims to be any sort of Ford expert, but even this Chevy guy knows a little about Henry's great deeds. Maybe the next DVD ("Henry Ford - The Real Story" perhaps?) can actually be positive, and maybe focus on some of these feats.

Here's my list of some of Henry Ford's significant accomplishments (again mentioning that I'm no expert).

- Fordson Model F Tractor - this landmark farm machine outsold all other tractors... combined! When the Ford Motor Company (FMC) wouldn't produce it Henry formed his own company (Ford & Son Company - thus the name Fordson). The first Fordson featured a unitized design (that is, no separate frame) to save weight & lower cost. It was another example of Henry Ford producing what the market wanted - call it a Model T for the farm. Henry's goal was to give farmers what they needed to replace animal power, and he succeeded.

- Defeat of the Infamous Seldon Patent - Henry risked much to take on Big Business. The Seldon Patent ended up costing car makers a lot of money, and prevented affordable automobiles from reaching the marketplace. Henry won the court fight against those who took unfair advantage of the U.S. patent system, and he was named an "everyman's hero" for it. Further, the patent process was changed for the better because of this court fight.

- Ford-Ferguson Model 9N tractor - lightning struck twice with Henry knowing (once again) what farmers wanted when he formed an agreement with Henry Ferguson to incorporate the now-standard Three-Point Hitch into the 9N tractor. The 9N was affordable, easy-to-operate, and easy-to-repair, as were the Models 2N and 8N tractors that followed. Like the first Fordson tractor, it was truly a landmark design.

- Empathy For Farmers - having grown up on a farm Henry always wanted to improve the lot of farmers, who often relied on hard work and animal power for little or no profit. Henry even performed agricultural research to try to improve farming.

- Ford Tri-Motor Airplane - FMC entered the aviation business with a lightweight, three-engine design. The Ford Tri-Motor is almost instantly recognizable with one engine on each wing & a third on the nose, and the use of lightweight corrugated sheet metal. It was an airplane ahead of its time, and many years later three-engine jets would be very popular, such as the Boeing 727, the Lockheed L-1011, and the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10, each a landmark design in its time.

- Ford Flathead V-8 - if ever there was a right engine for its time it was the FMC Flathead V-8. While the factory horsepower figures seem low this engine was about torque (due to its long-stroke design), affordability, and ease-of-repair. It was also the affordable performance engine of choice for two decades, especially after World War II. This engine has been named to Ward's Top Ten Best Engines of the Twentieth Century, thanks to it's innovations such as: high-strength forged crankshaft; aluminum-alloy pistons; one-piece engine block; and elastomeric engine mounts. Nothing sounds like a Ford Flathead V-8, or ever will!

So, there you have my rather short list of Henry Ford's accomplishments which are sadly overlooked by this DVD. Let's all hope the sequel doesn't make the same mistakes as the original DVD. As always, thank you for reading my review!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great overview of Henry Ford's life and work, January 2, 2014
By 
Moj8888 (Nashua, NH USA) - See all my reviews
It is obvious most of us have heard about Henry Ford's contribution to industrial revolution. Bits and pieces here and there, some positive and some negative. I was really curious to learn more, what made him to become the Henry Ford we all know, his thought process, life all around. This documentary gave me that overview. Although it is still a snapshot and interpretation of outsiders looking back years later, I think it tells you a lot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How true is it?, December 28, 2013
II appears the information provided in the film is accurrate and if so then the documentary is very informative therefore the rating but without further research I can not be sure the conclusions are true.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully presented. One of the best biographies ever made!, December 23, 2013
Amazing! This man is a legend!! He is one of the most influential people in history. His name will live on forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little slow and skips over some of the most important parts of his life, September 13, 2013
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They completely left out his obsession with Thomas Edison. I watched this right after going to the Henry Ford Museum in Deerborn, MI and thought the video spent to much time on the relationship with his son (which is important) but missed a lot of the other things he did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent throughout!, May 11, 2013
By 
V. R. Padgett (Whittier, California, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: American Experience: Henry Ford (DVD)
Stunning portrait of this odd man, rising from the farm to become the richest man in America if not the world, but unconcerned about this fortune.

At the end, building a Disneyland of fantasy from his early years, complete with the china his mother once had, very moving, and sad.

He was anti-Semitic and anti-intellectual. Yet his court-adduced ignorance (in a libel case) only made him more popular with the masses.

Watch this film, read the Stephen Watts biography, on which it is based, to study the genius of this unique American, our greatest industrialist, who ushered in the decline of the 19th Century, and himself escaped from it, after driving his only son to his early death, in his own fantasy land of his early years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I believe this video is worth watching, April 19, 2013
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Although I was looking for a movie type script showing this great American I found the documentary style informative and interesting, I do believe Mr. Ford came out a little better in court when the newspaper labeled him as ignorant because from what I've read in other sources he questioned the lawyer grilling him about such nonsense and that he has a bank of information at his fingertips of anything he wanted, that education is just information unless its used to help others.

I recommend this movie to anyone interested in the life of Mr. Ford. If more focus would have been on the many failures, breakthroughs, and personal strengths leading up to his accomplishments I would have gladly given a five star rating
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good documentary, March 29, 2013
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My son lived it and we both learned al few things. Worth watching and I recommend the movie for all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist Ford - but some good info here - a cautionary tale, October 17, 2014
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Fascinating take on Ford. His early years, when he would fake out his investors pretending to be developing a new car, while actually putting money into perfecting an engine. Later, when he controlled Ford motors, how he used his better engine to glom publicity for his company by himself racing and winning races, that made him and his company famous. How he kept improving the design and the speed of manufacturing, going up the letters of the alphabet, until he hit T, which he thought was the perfect car for all time. His company could not manufacture the model T fast enough.
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American Experience: Henry Ford
American Experience: Henry Ford by American Experience: Henry Ford (DVD - 2013)
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