Mittwoch, 30. Mai 2012


Auf kann man seit kurzem eine restaurierte Version von John Hustons berühmter, nach Fertigstellung unterdrückter Kriegsdokumentation LET THERE BE LIGHT (USA 1946) streamen, der letzte von drei Dokumentarfilmen über den Zweiten Weltkrieg, die Huston als Captain im Army Signal Corps gemacht hat. Mich hat der Film (der erst in den 80er Jahren veröffentlicht wurde) damals, an der Hochschule, sehr beeindruckt, ich bin gespannt auf ein Wiedersehen.

Huston über die Entstehung:

„I visited a number of Army hospitals during the research phase, and finally settled on Mason General Hospital on Long Island as the best place to make the picture. It was the biggest in the East, and the officers and doctors there were the most sympathetic and willing…. The hospital admitted two groups of 75 patients each week, and the goal was to restore these men physically, mentally and emotionally within six to eight weeks, to the point where they could be returned to civilian life in as good condition—or almost as good—as when they came into the Army…. I decided that the best way to make the film was to follow one group through from the day of their arrival until their discharge…. When the patients arrived, they were in various conditions of emotional distress. Some had tics; some were paralyzed; one in ten was psychotic. Most of them fell into the general designation of ‘anxiety neurosis.’…. [Charles] Kaufman and I wrote the script as the picture was shot, which, I think, is the ideal way to make a documentary…. [The purpose] was to show how men who suffered mental damage in the service should not be written off but could be helped by psychiatric treatment…. The original idea was that the film be shown to those who would be able to give employment in industry, to reassure them that the men discharged under this section were not insane, but were employable, as trustworthy as anyone.”

...und über das Verbot des Films:

„The reason given was that it violated the privacy of the patients involved. I don’t think that was the real reason. The men who were in the picture—the patients whose recoveries we had witnessed—were proud of what they saw of themselves on the screen. As a matter of form, we had asked them to sign releases, and they were happy to do so. We pointed this out to the War Department, but when asked to produce these releases, we discovered that they had mysteriously disappeared. One day they were in the files at Astoria, and the next day they were gone. We then pointed out that, though the film indeed represented a deeply personal investigation into the innermost lives of these men, nothing was disclosed which might cause them to be ashamed. We proposed asking them individually to write letters of clearance, but the War Department said no. The authorities had made up their minds.”

Hier ein lesenswerter Text über den Film, von Kent Jones.


(Eingestellt von Christoph)


  1. Man kann und darf den Film bei auch komplett runterladen (als mp4, 1,7 GB).

    Ein weiterer sehr informativer Text darüber ist hier zu finden. Dort sind auch REPORT FROM THE ALEUTIANS und SAN PIETRO, Hustons andere beiden Kriegs-Dokus, als YouTube-Videos eingebettet.

    Zum Vergleich kann man Joseph Henaberys SHADES OF GRAY, den die Army nach dem Einbunkern von LET THERE BE LIGHT als Ersatz und Remake mit Schauspielern (!) drehen ließ, bei ansehen und runterladen. Leider nicht am Stück, sondern auf 8 Portionen verteilt, die man hier einzeln aufrufen kann.

  2. Lieber Manfred,

    vielen Dank für die Ergänzung. Das Remake klingt irre. c