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Let There Be Light

Just before Let There Be Light was about to be shown to the public at a film festival put on by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the print was confiscated by military police. The Pictorial Service, the army organization in charge of clearing the film for general release nixed it on a technicality, claiming it would be an invasion of the privacy rights of the men that he filmed. The truth of the matter was that the war department was going to find some way to suppress it because they thought it was too harsh for the public to see (“too strong medicine” Huston later said). Huston tried everything to change their minds, from secretly showing it to friends in Hollywood and trying to get them to lobby for its release, to calling anyone he knew in the Truman administration, all to no avail. It wasn’t until 1981 that it was allowed to be released to the public, at which point it garnered critical acclaim and was heralded as a milestone.

 

– from the upcoming book “How to Film the Truth: The Story of Documentary Film As a Spiritual Journey” to be released in the Summer of 2018 by Wipf & Stock