From the LA Times:
Documentary filmmakers chronicling the Iraq war, including Rory Kennedy ("Ghosts of Abu Ghraib") and Terry Sanders ("Fighting for Life"), have not shied away from showing the nightmarish horrors of the conflict. By contrast, World War II documentarians found a lot of their material suppressed.
"There was much closer regulation and control," says Charles Wolfe, professor of film and media studies at UC Santa Barbara.
The footage generated during the war was all processed by higher authorities. "Nothing was released that had not been approved by multiple levels of the chain of command," he says. "There was an enormous amount of material shot that was left unseen. It's not that way now."
So, the majority of documentaries made for the armed forces or general release were more propaganda films to rally the troops and the country. Then John Huston entered the picture. And war documentaries grew up.
Huston, the Oscar-winning writer-director of such classics as "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," ran into problems with the military over two of his war documentaries: 1944's "The Battle of San Pietro" and 1946's "Let There Be Light," which was banned until 1980.
On Tuesday evening, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ John Huston Lecture on Documentary Film at the Linwood Dunn Theater will spotlight these two documentary classics. Huston's son Tony will be introducing the films.