What has Steven Soderbergh been up to since supposedly retiring from movie directing? In addition to diagnosing Hollywood with a dire illness, he’s been designing T-shirts.
The T-shirts, which are on sale on his new website Extension 765, are movie-inspired, each one bearing a film reference on the front. (The site’s name is itself a nod to a line spoken by Harrison Ford’s character in The Conversation each time he answers the phone.) While designing the shirts, Soderbergh told Reuters, “I would test them out by wearing them to the set to see if people knew the movie references.”
This immediately led us to test ourselves and seek out the corresponding films. (An impulse unsurprisingly shared by others.) Some of these references are fairly obvious to the casual pop culture enthusiast, while others are so obscure that even the nerdiest of cinephiles may have a tough time remembering where they first saw them. You can quiz yourself below, but scroll slowly: The answers are below each image.
The New York Daily Inquirer is the newspaper Charles Foster Kane takes over in Citizen Kane.
Michael Chambers works for Perennial Armored Car as a driver in the 1995 Soderbergh film The Underneath.
Susan Alexander Kane is Charles’ opera-singing wife in Citizen Kane.
Linnekar is the last name of the wealthy American man who is blown up in his car at the beginning of Touch of Evil.
The Parallax Corporation—spoiler alert—recruits political assassins in The Parallax View.
Trans Global Airlines flies the not-so-friendly skies in Airport.
How many did you get right? Let us know in the comments.
And if you’re wondering whether Soderbergh received permission from studios or other rights holders to incorporate these references into merchandise, well, we’re not sure. (On the site, he refers to a free bonus T-shirt provided to those who purchase four shirts, which he’s not selling because the “organization that controls the design element would never allow me to use it.”)
New York entertainment lawyer John J. Tormey III explained to me that the legal issues at play are complex. “Rights in and to a character—and rights in and to the character’s name to the extent such rights are enforceable—could be held or shared by one or more film producers, film studios, or other parties.” Soderbergh could have obtained written clearance from rights holders, or he may have a “diplomatic relationship or even contractual relationship” with the studios or entities that own the rights to the films.