"Let There Be Light" was commissioned by the United States Army Signal Corps at the end of World War 2. There are no actors in this true life documentary. For the first time on film, Huston explored the diagnosis and treatment of what used to be called "battle fatigue" or "shell shock" among returning servicemen. This condition is now know as PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder. Public showing of "Let There Be Light" was suppressed soon after completion and it wasn't released for 30 years because of a feared negative effect on recruiting and public morale. But it's a story that must be told because it's still highly relevant to our times. (This film is spotlighted in the NetFlix Series "Five Came Back.")
The film follows 75 U.S. soldiers who have sustained severe emotional trauma and depression while serving their country. You'll see their entry into a psychiatric hospital, treatment and, in some cases, eventual recovery. Some of the treatments involved then new drugs and hypnosis. Much of the filming was done at Edgewood State Hospital, Deer Park, Long Island, New York which between 1944 and 1946 .
The release in the 1980s by Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander, Jr. was attributed to his friend Jack Valenti who worked to get the ban lifted. In 2010, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"
"Don't blame me if there is a popup ad at the beginning this film -- blame YouTube!" Zeno