Let There Be Light

Critics Consensus

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83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 6

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 121

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Movie Info

At the request of the Signal Corps, John Huston made a wartime documentary of the emotionally disturbed war veterans being treated at Mason General Hospital. For three months, Huston immersed himself in the project, observing the various methods used to pull these shattered-in-spirit men out of their mental anguish, ranging from shock treatment to hypnosis. The key scene in Let There Be Light, as the film would be known upon its completion, a weeping veteran is brought back to the real world through the utilization of trance-inducing drugs. There is nothing that smacks of the sensational in this remarkable film, most certainly not the warm, reassuring narration of John Huston's father Walter. Yet when Let There Be Light was scheduled for a private showing at the Museum of Modern Art, the army confiscated the film, refusing to allow its release to any civilian audience. Huston later determined that the army simply didn't want the U.S. to see its fighting men as anything other than grinning, self-assured victors. Let There Be Light was not made available to the public until 1980, and then only on the special orders of vice-president Walter Mondale.

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Critic Reviews for Let There Be Light

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (1)

  • The film becomes a moving document of the social and psychological tensions that reach the surface of American life in war.

    January 5, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    May 24, 2012 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • The film was suppressed by the military brass. Not because it was inaccurate or insensitive, mind you, but because the portrait was too frank and too sensitive. And maybe for other reasons.

    April 21, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Clearly, the breadth of Huston's Army Signal Corps films show a Blakian passage from innocence to experience, unquestioning jingoism to a recognition of war horrors. [Blu-ray]

    February 4, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Had the film not been banned by the Army, it probably would've been forgotten almost immediately.

    August 17, 2007 | Rating: 2/5
  • Director-writer John Huston crafted this once banned study of the emotional toll of war.

    October 25, 2004 | Rating: A

Audience Reviews for Let There Be Light

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