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American Experience: Henry Ford [DVD] [2013] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Price: £13.29
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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00AJER44M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,422 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91ab29a8) out of 5 stars 137 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x919a8678) 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? 6 Feb. 2013
By Steve Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: 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"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x919a86cc) out of 5 stars Excellent throughout! 11 May 2013
By V. R. Padgett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92195684) out of 5 stars I believe this video is worth watching 19 April 2013
By sgrams - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
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
28 of 40 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x919a8954) out of 5 stars Disappointing - Too Negative - Too Many Major Accomplishments Overlooked 30 May 2013
By B. Szafranski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: 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!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x919a8b04) out of 5 stars 5 stars! I want more! 31 Dec. 2015
By sulin henninger - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting documentary. My family is a FORD family. My husband also works for a FORD dealer.
This documentary not only shows Henry's industrial life and ideas but also his personal life. How he grew up and where.
He is a master and without his ideas and knowledge and his heart to just take a chance, out world would not be what is is today.
Henry Ford along with other greats like Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Graham Bell,
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.Just to name a few. I can watch any documentary. You are never to old to learn! Can you imagine a world without cars or a telephone or music or airplanes and trains?......Exactly! Knowing how these inventors minds worked. What made them tick? The sacrafice they made and did. The way their ideas revolutionized this world. This is definitely and great documentary to watch. I give this 5 starts!

Brew your favorite coffee, grab a snack, slip into some comfy clothes and get comfy cozy and press play and enjoy!
You will not be disapointed!
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