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.