John Huston's "Let There Be Light" (1946, B&W,
59:00) Restored Audio & Video
"Let There Be Light" was commissioned by the United
States Army Signal Corps at the end of World War 2. There are no
actors in this true life documentary. For the first time on film,
Huston explored the diagnosis and treatment of what used to be called
"battle fatigue" or "shell shock" among returning
servicemen. This condition is now know as PTSD - post traumatic
stress disorder. Public showing of "Let There Be Light" was
suppressed soon after completion and it wasn't released for 30 years
because of a feared negative effect on recruiting and public morale.
But it's a story that must be told because it's still highly relevant
to our times.
The film follows 75 U.S. soldiers who have sustained severe
emotional trauma and depression while serving their country. You'll
see their entry into a psychiatric hospital, treatment and, in some
cases, eventual recovery. Some of the treatments involved then new
drugs and hypnosis. Much of the filming was done at Edgewood State
Hospital, Deer Park, Long Island, New York which between 1944 and
The release in the 1980s by Secretary of the Army Clifford
Alexander, Jr. was attributed to his friend Jack Valenti who worked
to get the ban lifted..In 2010, this film was selected for
preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the
Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or
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