Do The Right Thing


Focus on how mise-en-scene and sound create meaning and generate response in a sequence from Do The Right Thing.



Sound can affect an audience’s response to a film and Spike Lee does this particularly well in the 2nd half of the penultimate scene to enforce and reflect the mood of the crowd. Mise en scene in this scene shows hidden meaning which plays on the audiences sub conscious. I will now analyze this scene in detail and identify where this is done.



Costumes are used to keep the theme of heat going throughout the scene. The costumes of the crowd are colors like orange, red and yellow. These are used to express the on going theme of heat throughout the film. This helps the audience understand the feeling that tension is being built up which is symbolized by the heat.


Also colours of costumes show visually themes and social issues we meet throughout the movie. The use of costumes uses the audience sub conscious and the common belief that white represents good and black means bad. When Da mayor tries to save Sal’s pizzeria from the crowd he is wearing white which symbolizes hope for the Italians. Mookie is also wearing white and he sparks off the riot this can be seen as hope for the crowd. Mookie’s top is also from Sal’s which shows a strong form of irony by how he doesn’t respect Sal anymore. Pino who is a racist is wearing black; this could be interpreted as an insult to the black people of the community. His brother Vito is wearing white and is not a racist and wants to be accepted. Their choice of clothes is ironic as they are wearing what does not represent what race they would like to be.



Lighting is used for the audience to identify from the old and the new parts of the town. The décor shows all houses in dark, rusty reds and browns. This helps to bring out the theme of heat as the sun shines on them. Neon lights on the pizzerias make it stand out from the rest of the shops. This may show they are out of town and makes them more isolated. The Koreans shop over the road is very bright and modern and this makes them not a large part of the community.


Using Lighting we are able to make clear distinctions from people alien to the town. This can be seen later in the scene as the Korean male grabs his wife away from the riot. This shows that he doesn’t wish them to be part of that community. The audience can view this scene as that the white people don’t want to be part of the black community and that’s why the black people attack sal’s at the end. This shows the audience that even other outsiders aren’t going to help the Italians against there fight with the community.


The use of background is used to generate audience response by placement and colour. The houses have railing leading up to them which shows the people are insecure about the people around them and themselves. These railing are black as if the community have to keep asserting themselves of they race.


Spike Lee is able to use this example of mise en scene to help messages throughout the film be seen visually. This is shown when Da Mayor leads Sal, Vito and Pino, away from the riot and destruction of their restaurant and into the front garden of one of the houses. The camera zooms in on the black railings, and then retreats as the three Italians are being shut inside the yard. This is showing the audience that Da Mayor is separating them from the other people, which is because of the colour of their skin.


By using mise en scene Spike lee is able to get the audience to see how throughout the film there are references to community. This is a key aspect of the film as it’s the town who attack sal’s and not just a select group.


The fact that houses are so close together helps to show the close community and how they lean on each other for support. This theme