The true story of a quack doctor who made a fortune and created a radio-broadcast empire during the 1930s Great Depression, based on transplanting goat testicles into his male patients to “cure” impotence, is too much of a tall tale for any other treatment than animation. Documentary-maker Penny Lane (her actual name) gives the chronicle of J.R. Brinkley a beguilingly imaginative look — part cartoon, part period newsreel, with musical interludes and a host of humorous asides — to put us in the front row at Brinkley’s charlatan show. The film’s infectious merriment encourages us to laugh at Brinkley’s rube followers — and thus, by extension, at ourselves — in spite of everything that might have made the story tragic. Written by Thom Stylinski and narrated by Gene Tognacci. Highly recommended (107 min.).
Director: Penny Lane
Producer: James Belfer, Caitlin Burke, Penny Lane, Daniel Shepard, Dan Cogan and Evan Savada
Cast: Gene Tognacci, Andy Boswell, John Causby, Kelly Mizell, Jeff Pillars, Thom Stylinski and Fran Taylor