Do the Right Thing is a dramatic comedic film that was directed by Spike Lee. The movie was released in 1989. Lee served in three capacities for the film: writer, director and producer of the movie, Ernest Dickenson was the cinematographer and Barry Alexander Brown was the film’s editor. For this film, Lee garnered together some notable actors and actresses, including Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Rosie Perez, Samuel L. Jackson, John Tuturro and Martin Lawrence. The setting of the movie is in Bedford-Stuyvesant; which is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. This particular neighborhood is made up of several ethnic groups that include African Americas, Italians, Koreans, and Puerto Ricans. The movie takes place on a particularly hot day during the summer time. The extreme heat causes tensions between the different races in the neighborhood. In this paper, I will attempt to show how mise-en-scène, camera work, editing, and sound are used to convey “explicit” and “implicit” meaning in one scene in Do the Right Thing.
The scene that I will be analyzing takes place towards the end of the movie in which all the racial tensions that were boiling over erupted like a volcano and spewed out. This particular scene is about five minutes in length and is composed of about 25 shots. It takes place at the end of the day after Sal’s Famous Pizzeria has closed. We see that the pizzeria is closed and Sal is having a conversation with his sons Vito and Pino about him wanting to change the name of his store to Sal and Son’s Pizzeria. He also tells Mookie, “You are like a son to me.” The suddenly we here banging on the door, it’s the neighborhood kids wanting to get a slice of pizza. Although the pizzeria is closed, Sal tells a reluctant Mookie to let the kids in. As they are enjoying their slices, they hear Radio Raheem’s booming boom box and they turns towards the door, where they see Radio Raheem and he is accompanied by Buggin Out and Smiley, demanding that Sal put African Americans on this famous wall. This confrontation does not end on a happy note and has deadly consequences in subsequent scenes.
The scene takes place inside of Sal’s Famous Pizzeria which is in the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The pizzeria has been in that neighborhood for many years and most its customers are blacks. Inside the pizzeria we see chairs, tables, refrigerator that contains soda, a pizza oven and a cash register among other things typically found inside a restaurant. The temperature inside the pizzeria is hot and coupled with the extreme hot day makes the racial tensions more intense.
For this scene natural lighting is being utilized. The lighting is comes from the available source within the scene, which are the several lamps hanging from the ceilings throughout the pizzeria. The three point light system can also be seen in this scene. The main lighting source is the key light. An example of this is present, when we first see Sal at the beginning of the scene....