Friday, May 25, 2012

"Let There Be Light" - Newly Restored!

The 1946 documentary, Let There Be Light was recently restored and released by the National Film Preservation Foundation.  The final film in a trilogy of documentaries created by director John Huston for the U.S. Army, Let Their Be Light "pioneered unscripted interview techniques to take an unprecedented look into the psychological wounds of war."
The film's cinematographer was Stanley Cortez, whose credits include The Magnificent Ambersons and The Night of the Hunter.

Let There Be Light (1946) directed by John Huston
cinematography by Stanley Cortez

The screen notes continue: 

"The subject of Let There Be Light is what we’d now label PTSD—post-traumatic stress disorder—among returning soldiers, and if the term is of more recent invention than Huston’s film, that’s in good part precisely because such sympathetic examinations of the condition were swept under the rug until after the Vietnam era. What World War II soldiers still called 'shell-shock' was variously labeled 'psychoneurosis' or 'europsychosis' by physicians, and it was under the working title of The Returning Psychoneurotics that the assignment was given in June 1945 to Huston, then a major in the Army’s Signal Corps... What was almost unprecedented in Let There Be Light was its reliance on unscripted interviews, something common in documentaries only after the mid-1950s with Direct Cinema, cinema vérité, and the British Free Cinema movements."

You may view the film online here.  That link also offers the option of a high-quality file download.  While you're there consider supporting the fine work of the National Film Preservation Foundation. 

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