Academy’s John Huston Lecture to Spotlight Controversial World War II Documentaries

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' John Huston Lecture on Documentary Film will acknowledge the lecture series' namesake with a special screening of both of his controversial documentary classics from World War II, Academy’s John Huston Lecture to Spotlight  Controversial World War II Documentaries

Beverly Hills, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) March 31, 2008-– The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ John Huston Lecture on Documentary Film will acknowledge the lecture series’ namesake with a special screening of both of his controversial documentary classics from World War II, “San Pietro” and “Let There Be Light,” on Tuesday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Linwood Dunn Theater. Tony Huston, John’s son, will introduce the films on the family’s behalf.

These documentaries’ historical significance and current relevance will be among the topics covered in a post-screening panel discussion with Dr. Charles Wolfe, professor of film and media studies, UC Santa Barbara; Dr. Betsy McLane, documentary historian and author; and Richard E. Robbins, producer-director of “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience,” which was a 2007 Oscar® nominee for Documentary Feature.

In 1942, when John Huston began shooting documentaries as a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, he was already an accomplished screenwriter and the director of three features, including “The Maltese Falcon.” Huston’s first assignment was to record combat conditions on Adak Island. The resulting documentary, “Report from the Aleutians,” was straightforward and uncontroversial – unlike the two that were to follow.

“San Pietro” (1944) was produced and directed by Huston for the U.S. War Department. Originally deemed too violent and realistic to be shown to the public, it was not screened until 1945, when General George Marshall’s endorsement led to the removal of its “classified” status. The print screened will be the original version, featuring footage not included in the final release version.

The War Department also banned “Let There Be Light” (1946), a naked portrait of the psychological problems suffered by returning veterans. The ban was finally lifted decades later, in December 1980, and the film was released in 1981.

Tickets to the Academy’s John Huston Lecture on Documentary Film may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office or by mail. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved. The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.
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