Everyone knows Oscar-winning director John Huston as the man behind such classic fiction films as The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but as cable network Documentary Channel (DOC) will show on Monday, April 21, Huston mastered the art of non-fiction as well.
Shortly after being released in 1945 and 1946 respectively, The Battle of San Pietro and Let There Be Light, originally commissioned by the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, were confiscated by the War Department. Through the help of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive, the little-seen documentaries are once again ready for public viewing. As part of its tribute to war documentaries, the Documentary Channel programming starts off the night at 7 p.m. with the fourth episode of its original series “DocTalk,” which will look at three films about the current war in Iraq: The War Tapes, No End in Sight and Body of War. The series will be followed by both banned Huston docs and John Huston: War Stories, a 1988 documentary by Midge Mackenzie featuring interviews with the man himself.
“It is with the utmost gratitude to the Documentary Channel and to the Academy, on behalf of my father’s legacy, that audiences will finally be exposed to these deeply important works. This is truly a posthumous victory for my father,” says Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston.
A fly-on-the-wall account of World War II, The Battle of San Pietro shows the gruesome realities soldiers faced in the midst of battle in Italy’s Liri Valley, while Let There Be Light is almost as relevant now as ever, with its account of the aftereffects of war, particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
For more information, visit www.documentarychannel.com.