A Palette That Sizzles On-Screen

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Jul 29, 2019


Three decades after its release, Spike Lee’s masterpiece Do the Right Thing stands as one of the most politically audacious, and visually captivating, films of his career. With the help of cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, Lee vividly captured a sweltering summer day on one Brooklyn block—and the racial tensions that wind up rising with the mercury—through a vibrant array of colors and textures. In the above clip, taken from the supplement The One and Only “Do the Right Thing” on our chock-full new edition, filmmaker Darnell Martin, an assistant camera operator on the movie, and writer Nelson George highlight not only the film’s flawless evocation of a New York heat wave but also the particular care Dickerson and Lee took in photographing its cast members of color.