Let There Be Light - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Let There Be Light Reviews

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March 4, 2019
John Huston‚(TM)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‚(TM)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‚(TM) and ‚~The Battle of San Pietro‚(TM), it did not see ‚~The Light‚(TM) 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‚(TM)s autobiography ‚~An Open Book‚(TM) 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‚(TM) and ‚~battle fatigue‚(TM) can respond to treatment and give their unfortunate sufferers a renewed lease of life.

Despite the dated soundtrack, the narration by Huston‚(TM)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.
June 15, 2018
Haunting coverage of war's lesser-known casualties.

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.

Haunting coverage of war's lesser-known casualties, written and directed by the great John Huston. Incredibly original and decades ahead of its time, as, at the time, PTSD was not very well-known outside medical circles. It would take until after the Vietnam War, about 30 years later, that PTSD gained public knowledge and acceptance.

Sensitively told, despite the candidness of the footage. Quite confronting too - these are all real patients, undergoing real psychological episodes. Starkly brings home the long-term effects of war.
½ February 1, 2018
A really haunting piece on the effects of war and the mental state it can leave a man in.
July 15, 2015
Historically important documentary was suppressed by the U.S. government for over thirty years.
½ March 10, 2014
This is an interesting documentary about the emotional price for war was banned for many years after it was produced. Director John Huston made this at the end of World War II, showcasing the turmoil the war caused on some soldiers. It is interesting in two ways, one to see how they dealt with these kind of issues in the 1940s, and also to see them actually talking about the non-death/physical wounded price that war has...so many films and documentaries produced of the era glossed over the emotional stuff. It isn't great propaganda to say that war is difficult and scars you mentally if not physically. Worth a look.
½ April 13, 2013
Let There be Light

Actually I was surprised that for a documentary made in shortly after World War II that it adequately represented more ethnicities than just Caucasians. This film I thought was useful for historic purposes, psychologist, and families trying to understand how to go about family members after war veterans come back home. I thought that it was great that this was mostly real footage rather than people acting. I never realised all the kinds of things veterans did such as artwork, prep for civilian jobs and so fourth. I thought it was good that there was a happy ending but not always is there as happy of an ending as presented in the film as some psychological damage is permeant. I thought this was an interesting and useful documentary.
April 5, 2013
"I don't know if anybody knows John Huston's "Let There Be Light," but a lot of Hollywood directors were commissioned by the War Department to make films about the war. Frank Capra did films out in the field, John Ford obviously did a lot, and John Huston decided to make one about the VA hospitals, when soldiers were coming back. And the War Department took one look at this film and they said "absolutely no way we're showing this to anybody" because they had this amazingly graphic footage that showed you what these fellows were coming back with. There's stuff that we kind of ripped off, line for line, from that film. It was the best source of material that we found to show what these VA hospitals were like at that time. It tells that story in a very different way." - Paul Thomas Anderson (on making ''The Master.'')
½ February 8, 2013
Poorly soundtracked and ultimately syrupy, but depressing nonetheless.
November 18, 2012
wow. you will never see a movie like this ever again
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