Let There Be Light

Synopsis: The final entry in a trilogy of films produced for the U.S. government by John Huston. This documentary film follows 75 U.S. soldiers who have sustained debilitating emotional trauma and depression. A series of scenes chronicle their entry into a psychiatric hospital, their treatment and eventual recovery.
Genre: Documentary, War
Director(s): John Huston
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
58 min

The guns are quiet now.

The papers of peace

have been signed.

And the oceans of the earth are

filled with ships coming home.

In faraway places, men dreamed

of this moment.

But for some men, the moment is

very different from the dream.

Here is human salvage--

the final result of all that

metal and fire can do

to violate mortal flesh.

Some wear the badges

of their pain--

the crutches, the bandages,

the splints.

Others show no outward signs,

yet they too are wounded.

This hospital is one of the many

for the care and treatment

of the psychoneurotic soldier.

These are the casualties

of the spirit--

the troubled in mind;

men who are damaged emotionally.

Born and bred in peace,

educated to hate war,

they were overnight plunged into

sudden and terrible situations.

Every man has his

breaking point,

and these, in the fulfillment of

their duties as soldiers,

were forced beyond the limit

of human endurance.

At ease, men.

On behalf of the commanding

officer and his staff

of Mason General Hospital,

I want to extend a hearty

welcome to all of you

on your return

to the United States.

There's no need to be alarmed at

the presence of these cameras,

as they are making a

photographic record

of your progress

at this hospital

from the date of admission

to the date of discharge.

Here are men who

tremble, men who cannot sleep,

men with pains that are

none the less real

because they are

of mental origin.

Men who cannot remember.

Paralyzed men whose paralysis

is dictated by the mind.

However different the symptoms,

these things they have in


unceasing fear and apprehension,

a sense of impending disaster,

a feeling of hopelessness

and utter isolation.

May I have your last name?

Meishner, sir.

How do you spell that?


May I have your last name,



How do you spell that?

The psychiatrists

listen to the stories

of the men, who tell them

as best they can.

The names and places

are different.

The circumstances are different.

But through all the stories

runs one thread--

death, and the fear of death.

And then after you got wounded

what happened?

Same things, only worse?

Seems like my nerves keep

getting worse on me.

They get worse.

These airplanes, they bother me.

I got killed nearly

by one of them.

You nearly got killed.

Where were you at the time?

Saint-Lo, I believe.

Somewhere over there.

I don't remember.

What were you doing when

the planes came over?

I was in a hole.

Do you know where you are?

I think I'm in the States now.

They told me I was coming back.

But they told me

I was going to die.

In the hospital I wouldn't eat,


But I was sick,

and I wouldn't eat hardly.

They told me I was going to die

if I didn't eat anyhow.

Told me that they didn't care

whether I died or not.

We will see that you don't die.

You won't die.

I lost my last buddy up there,

little Norman.

He was second scout,

I was first scout.

They had it all mixed up

up there.

They were shelling us.

Well, did that make you nervous?

I should...

I'm first scout, and I should

have been out in front.

And he went out and I started

right after him,

and he got shot.

And he... he just said,

"Oh, Dutch, I'm hit."

And he crawled to my feet, and

I start calling for the medic.

And I went back to see if I

could get the medic,

and there wasn't any.

And I started to go out after

him again,

and they wouldn't let me go.

And he was the last one of the

original boys that was with me.

Him and I were the last two left

out of the original.

And when you were shelled,

how did you feel?

I don't know.

I just... after Norman got hurt,

got killed,

why I was all right when we were

moving up or attacking

or anything like that.

But when we get pinned down

I start thinking about him

laying back there.

And what happened to you

when you'd think about him?

How would you feel?

I just didn't care what

happened to me.

You mean you didn't want to

go back into combat again?

Yes, sir, I wanted to

go back.

I wanted to stay there.

I wanted to keep on for him and

all them other guys--

Norm, John, and Stryker, and

Tex, and Pop, and...

And how do you feel

right now?

I feel all right.

How have you been getting along?

Well, fairly well, sir.

You were overseas.

Yes, sir.


We were in France,

and then we went to Germany.


France to Germany.

And what outfit

were you with?

I was with

Headquarters Detachment,


I see you're PFC.

At present, sir.

You had to go

in the hospital.


You had to go in the


Twice, sir.

It says here on your record

from overseas

that you had headaches,

and that you had crying spells.

Yes, sir.

I believe in your profession

it's called nostalgia.

In other words, homesickness.

Yes, sir.

It was induced when shortly

before the war

I received a picture

of my sweetheart.


I'm sorry, I can't continue.

That's all right.

Griffith, Griffith?

Yes, sir?

Come on and sit down a minute.

Now, a display of emotion

is all right.

I'm not doing this

deliberately, sir.

Please believe me.

Of course you're not,

I do believe you.

A display of emotion is

sometimes very helpful.

I hope so, sir.

Sure-- it gets it off your


You wouldn't be here,

you wouldn't have been returned

as a patient,

if there wasn't something

upsetting you.

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John Huston

John Marcellus Huston (; August 5, 1906 – August 28, 1987) was an Irish-American film director, screenwriter and actor. Huston was a citizen of the United States by birth but renounced U.S. citizenship to become an Irish citizen and resident. He returned to reside in the United States where he died. He wrote the screenplays for most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), The Misfits (1961), Fat City (1972) and The Man Who Would Be King (1975). During his 46-year career, Huston received 15 Oscar nominations, won twice, and directed both his father, Walter Huston, and daughter, Anjelica Huston, to Oscar wins in different films. Huston was known to direct with the vision of an artist, having studied and worked as a fine art painter in Paris in his early years. He continued to explore the visual aspects of his films throughout his career, sketching each scene on paper beforehand, then carefully framing his characters during the shooting. While most directors rely on post-production editing to shape their final work, Huston instead created his films while they were being shot, making them both more economical and cerebral, with little editing needed. Most of Huston's films were adaptations of important novels, often depicting a "heroic quest," as in Moby Dick, or The Red Badge of Courage. In many films, different groups of people, while struggling toward a common goal, would become doomed, forming "destructive alliances," giving the films a dramatic and visual tension. Many of his films involved themes such as religion, meaning, truth, freedom, psychology, colonialism and war. Huston has been referred to as "a titan", "a rebel", and a "renaissance man" in the Hollywood film industry. Author Ian Freer describes him as "cinema's Ernest Hemingway"—a filmmaker who was "never afraid to tackle tough issues head on." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Let There Be Light" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 May 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/let_there_be_light_12480>.

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