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: Let There Be Light (1946)  ( 590 )
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« : June 10, 2012, 07:40:25 AM »

Full movie:

John Huston's documentary about post-traumatic stress treatment of World War II soldiers. One of the three documentaries issued by the US government for John Huston to shoot during the WW2 era. Upon release, the army had it banned for many years, worried that it would instill fear into future soldiers. It was rediscovered at Cannes in 1981, and a couple weeks ago release for legally download and viewing online.

I discovered this while reading up on Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, with there supposedly being similarities between this film and the recent teaser trailer (especially with PTA being a huge fan of Huston). Being a semi-fan of Huston myself I decided to check it out.

At first this was an incredibly interesting documentary, crafted expertly with excellent B&W cinematography for a documentary. However, as it went on, it seemed to become more and more overly optimistic for the soldiers to the point where I started to think the whole thing is staged. The rather dramatic recovery of several soldiers is captured on camera, which I find very hard to believe. By the end, they're all seen happily playing baseball together as if nothing was ever wrong with them. It just doesn't seem believable to me, and being issued to make by the government, I feel as if it may have been staged to make a propaganda-type work for the good of US mental hospitals. It feels like a fabricated, sensitized version of Titticut Follies or something.

If this isn't the case, it's one of the best war-based documentaries I've ever seen. Watch it. If there's any evidence of truth behind what happens here I'd love to know.

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