Nuts!

June 201678 minutes
2

Inventive and wildly fun, NUTS! recounts the unbelievable true story of John Romulus Brinkley, a Kansas doctor who in 1917 discovered that he could cure impotence by transplanting goat testicles into men. From there, the story only gets more bizarre. Mixing hand-drawn animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a very unreliable narrator, NUTS! traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth, and influence. Along the way, he transplants thousands of goat testicles, amasses an enormous fortune, is (sort of) elected Governor of Kansas, invents junk mail and the infomercial, builds the world’s most powerful radio station, and generally annoys the heck out of the establishment. Filmmaker Penny Lane has skillfully borrowed a page from her subject - charming viewers into believing the unbelievable, building their trust and excitement, until the final chapter bares the painful truth and reveals the doctor for what he truly was. NUTS! reminds us that our love of (and need for) compelling narratives is exactly what makes us so endlessly susceptible to being conned. NUTS! is a provocation to the status-quo of documentary storytelling. It uses an outlandish story as an opportunity to question how “truths” can be invented by crafty storytellers, and what responsibility nonfiction filmmakers have to reveal the tricks of their craft.
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Additional Information

Audio Language
English (Stereo, 5.1)
Subtitles
English
Rental Period
Start within 30 days, finish within 48 hours.
Eligible for Family Library
Eligible if purchased with select payment methods. Rentals are not eligible. Learn More
Run time
78 minutes
Independent
This award winning doc about Frank Matthews tells of man richer than Frank Lucas. More powerful than the Mafia. He was the biggest drug dealer in America. In 1973 he jumped bail and disappeared with 15 million dollars. He has never been seen again. Nearly four decades later, the fate of Frank Matthews remains a complete mystery.

The documentary explores several intriguing questions: how was Matthews been able to operate for several years without being detected? What was his relationship with La Cosa Nostra? Why did the CIA get involved in the Matthews investigation? Why has the mystery of his disappearance been so difficult to solve?

Born in 1944 in Durham, North Carolina, Matthews left his hometown when he was a teenager, going first to Philadelphia and then to New York City. By the early 1970 s, Frank Matthews had become America's biggest drug kingpin. His organization, headquartered in Brooklyn, stretched across more than 20 states, and he became the only Black gangster to establish direct ties to the French Connection heroin pipeline. To quote a federal prosecutor assigned to the Matthews case, Matthews was a pioneering giant of drug distribution."

Matthews organization eventually outgrew even the Italian Mafia, and when he built himself a mansion in Staten Island's most exclusive neighborhood (and across the street from mobsters Paul Castellano and Three Finger Brown), he found himself on the verge of a war with La Cosa Nostra. Matthews also battled militant Black Muslims for control in the streets of New Jersey and Philadelphia as he built his empire. The $15 to 20 million dollars he disappeared with is roughly equivalent to $100 million in today's cash. What happened to Frank Matthews? That s the most intriguing questionin organized crime history, said Chepesiuk, who has spent five years researching the Frank Matthews story. Despite one of the largest manhunts in US history, there is no proof as to whether he is alive or dead.
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