7.5/10
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23 user 14 critic

Let There Be Light (1946)

Not Rated | | Documentary, War | 16 December 1980 (USA)
A group of mentally traumatized veteran patients is followed as they go through psychiatric treatment.

Director:

John Huston

Writer:

John Huston
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Walter Huston ... Narrator (uncredited)
Benjamin Simon Benjamin Simon ... Himself (uncredited)
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Storyline

A documentary, filmed shortly after the end of WW2, shot entirely in a US Army psychiatric hospital. Candidly shot, the film shows the mental casualties of war - soldiers with PTSD and other neurological issues: their symptoms, how they cope and, if they're lucky, how they are cured. Written by grantss

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Genres:

Documentary | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

E la luce fu See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is included as an extra feature on the Blu-ray release for The Master (2012). See more »

Quotes

Unnamed Soldier: I believe, in your profession, it's called 'Nostalgia'.
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Connections

Featured in Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Moving real life story
19 January 2006 | by john-3109See all my reviews

John Huston's (1946) documentary film was shot at Mason General Hospital on Long Island at the end of the Second World War for the U.S. Government during the director's time as an officer in the U.S. Signal Corps.

One of a number of documentary films he made in this capacity including 'Report From The Aleutians' and 'The Battle of San Pietro', it did not see 'The Light' for a number of years. As copyright holders and owners of the film, the U.S. Government chose not to release it.

The techniques used in making the film are described in John Huston's autobiography 'An Open Book' published by Macmillan and also in an interview recorded by Richard Leacock and Midge McKenzie in 1982.

The film follows the progress of a particular intake of men returning from active service in various theatres of war. These men have returned deeply disturbed by their battle experiences and we follow their progress as they are helped to come to terms with their distress and to rebuild their fragile lives.

Huston captures the most unusual and remarkable sequences that document the work of the gifted psychiatrists at Mason General as they assist the men to reconcile themselves to the awful experiences they have endured.

This film was way ahead of its time in recognising and understanding how conditions that were variously known as 'shell shock' and 'battle fatigue' can respond to treatment and give their unfortunate sufferers a renewed lease of life.

Despite the dated soundtrack, the narration by Huston's own father – Walter – makes the confusing and sometimes disturbing footage accessible and meaningful to the audience.

How tragic that such a well-made and important film should have been kept from us for so long.


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