John Huston’s ‘Let There Be Light’ online: Kenneth Turan’s pick


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This week’s DVD pick is not a DVD at all, but a free video on demand streaming and downloading of one of the most significant of American documentaries, a controversial film that has been restored in a very specific way.

That film would be 1946’s ‘Let There Be Light,’ John Huston’s groundbreaking documentary that was one of the first, decades before post-traumatic stress disorder was a term, to document the terrible things combat did to the minds of soldiers.


The candor of this film helped get it almost immediately pulled from distribution, and it was not until 1980 that its release to the general public was authorized.

One problem with the film that did not go away was that many of the soldiers interviewed were hard to understand because they mumbled or whispered their stories. Now, as a result of a National Film Preservation Foundation grant, the National Archives has restored the soundtrack, and the result, easy to hear for the first time, is available courtesy of the NFPF’s website ( starting Thursday.


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-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic