Synopsis by Hal Erickson
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.