CineFile: Let There Be Light

by A. Jay Adler on November 14, 2011
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four-color National Film Registry Logo on blac...

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I wish I’d had this for Veterans Day, but the following day nor any day is too late to view it. Let There Be Light was the last of three films made by John Huston for the Army Signal Corp during and just after World War II. Because of its frank, documentary record of the treatment of veterans for neuropsychiatric disorder – what today would more commonly be called post-traumatic stress disorder – the military quashed distribution of the film for thirty-five years. In 2010 it was entered in the National Film Registry as a film selected for preservation because of cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance. You can view the entire 58 minute film at the Internet Archive. This 14-minute excerpt begins in the stark shadows and angles that presage the psychic struggles to come.

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4 comments

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Maureen November 14, 2011 at 7:07 am

Extraordinary. . . wrenching and haunting.

What a shame the film was made unavailable for so long. One can only wonder how this might have contributed to a much earlier understanding of PSTD.

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