The Day of the Jackal: A Day Cravat and an Alfa Romeo

Edward Fox in The Day of the Jackal, carrying a custom rifle in front of his 1961 Alfa Romeo.

Edward Fox in The Day of the Jackal (1973), carrying a custom rifle in front of his 1961 Alfa Romeo.

Vitals

Edward Fox as “The Jackal”, mysterious professional assassin

Montemorro Forest, Italy, August 1963

Film: The Day of the Jackal
Release Date: May 16, 1973
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Costume Design: Joan Bridge, Rosine Delamare, and Elizabeth Haffenden

Background

On le 14 juillet (or “Bastille Day,” as we Yanks call it), BAMF Style is exploring one of Edward Fox’s many simple but elegant casual outfits in The Day of the Jackal, where he plays an enigmatic British contract killer tasked with the assassination of French President Charles De Gaulle.

This installment of Car Week ends as it started, featuring a 1961 model year convertible. In this case, it’s the white Alfa Romeo that “The Jackal” – as our smooth assassin is codenamed – drives through Europe, including for this brief interlude as he tests his new customized sniper rifle in the Italian countryside.

What’d He Wear?

The Jackal owns a realistically limited wardrobe of light earth-toned shirts, suits, jackets, and trousers that help him blend in as he traverses Europe in his quest to assassinate De Gaulle.

All of the clothing that The Jackal wears for his target practice has been seen elsewhere in the film, but this is the only time he wears this specific combination. His beige cotton shirt has double sets of thin white stripes. The firm, long point collar is worn open to showcase the day cravat around his neck. The rest of the mother-of-pearl buttons are all buttoned down the shirt’s front placket, although the single button on each rounded cuff is undone and folded back once over each wrist. (The fact that the shirt sleeves reach the end of his wrists perfectly when the cuffs are folded back indicates that the shirt sleeves may be too long for Edward Fox.)

THE DAY OF THE JACKAL

The day cravat – often incorrectly referred to as an “ascot” – is a staple of The Jackal’s undisguised wardrobe that adds a polished touch for a character that believes in his own standards of dress. In 1963, it would have been less dignified for a gent to wear only a shirt and trousers with no jacket, so The Jackal foregoes the standard neckwear of a long tie and dresses up his warm-weather casual attire with a series of patterned day cravats that also prevent his earth-toned ensembles from being too suspiciously inconspicuous.

For his afternoon of buying and shooting melons, The Jackal wears a maroon soft silk day cravat with white polka dots, worn under the unbuttoned collar of his shirt. He was previously seen wearing this same cravat during a brief stop in Paris, where he wore it with a light brown odd jacket and tan trousers.

The Jackal negotiates for his melons.

The Jackal negotiates for his melons.

The Jackal wears taupe gabardine flat front trousers with a long rise and an extended tab that secures in the front with a hidden hook closure. The side pockets are slightly slanted, and the back has double “Keystone”-shaped darts on each side with no pockets. Though fitted through the hips, the trouser legs slightly flare out to the plain-hemmed bottoms. The Jackal previously wore these taupe trousers to the British museum and spends much of the film wearing a similar pair of a warmer tan shade.

There are no belt loops for a clean, minimalist look, with the trouser fit adjustable around the waist via a buttoning tab on each side of the waistband, connected from a hidden elastic belt around the back of the waist. The tabs are pulled toward the front for a tighter fit, similar to the “Daks top” adjusters on Sean Connery’s trousers as James Bond, although The Jackal pulls his tabs tighter than 007 by wearing them on the second button rather than the first. (Based on the visible length and the slight “lump” of The Jackal’s side-tabs, it’s safe to assume that his trousers are fitted with three buttons on each side.)

Nothing suspicious here at all.

Nothing suspicious here at all.

The Jackal’s preferred footwear throughout the movie is a pair of brown leather double monk-strap loafers with taupe socks that correctly continue the leg line of his trousers.

A white car is easy to disguise when needed just by painting it a different color... in this case, blue. The Jackal approaches his wardrobe with the same sensibilities; it's hard to tone down loud clothing if needed, but it's certainly easy to disguise blander clothing by adding new elements.

A white car is easy to disguise when needed just by painting it a different color… in this case, blue. The Jackal approaches his wardrobe with the same sensibilities; it’s hard to tone down loud clothing if needed, but it’s certainly easy to disguise blander clothing by adding new elements.

Unobtrusive like the rest of his wardrobe, The Jackal wears a plain yellow gold wristwatch with a round case, light gold dial, and brown leather strap.

Ripe for the plinking.

Ripe for the plinking.

The limited palette of his clothing makes his disguises that much more effective.  The word “beige” itself is derived from the French term for natural wool that has been neither bleached nor dyed; thus, The Jackal in his beige clothing is an empty bland palette, quick to blend in with any added garment serving as an easy disguise, if needed.

How to Get the Look

The Jackal’s beige, taupe, and earth-toned clothes match Edward Fox’s hair and complexion to create a subconsciously bland effect with only his colored and patterned silk day cravats breaking up the monotony.

  • Beige (with double sets of thin white stripes) cotton shirt with firm point collar, front placket, 1-button rounded cuffs
  • Maroon (with white polka dots) silk day cravat
  • Taupe gabardine flat front trousers with extended front tab, 3-button adjustable side-tabs, slanted side pockets, darted back, plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Brown leather double monk-strap loafers
  • Taupe socks
  • Yellow gold wristwatch with round light gold dial and brown leather strap

The Car

The Jackal zips through Europe in a sporty white 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider two-seat convertible.

The Giulietta Spider's 10.2 cubic feet of trunk space is all The Jackal needs for his compact custom rifle and melon.

The Giulietta Spider’s 10.2 cubic feet of trunk space is all The Jackal needs for his compact custom rifle and melon.

Alfa Romeo introduced its first Giulietta model at the 1954 Turin Motor Show with the Giulietta Sprint 2+2, designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone. The four-door Berlina sedan was next in 1955, shortly followed by the two-seat Giulietta Spider that featured convertible bodywork by Pininfarina, the same legendary car design firm that had worked on iconic Alfa Romeo and Lancia sports cars throughout the 20th century in addition to the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, the Ferrari Testarossa, and the 2007 Volvo C70 (a car that I once owned!)

By 1961, the refreshed Giulietta lineup included the Berlina, the powerful Turismo Internazionale (T.I.), the sporty Sprint models, and the Spider two-seat roadster.

1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider (Tipo 101.03)

Body Style: 2-door convertible roadster

Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)

Engine: 1290 cc (1.3 L) Alfa Romeo Twin Cam I4

Power: 91 hp (68 kW; 92 PS) @ 6500 rpm

Torque: 83 lb·ft (113 N·m) @ 3500 rpm

Transmission: 4-speed manual

Wheelbase: 88.6 inches (2250 mm)

Length: 153.5 inches (3900 mm)

Width: 62.2 inches (1580 mm)

Height: 52.6 inches (1335 mm)

The introduction of the Alfa Romeo Giulia in June 1962 marked the beginning of the end of the Giulietta model. The Giulia offered models with two sizes of Alfa Romeo’s venerable Twin Cam engine, the 1290 cc version that was currently found in the Giulietta and the new, more powerful 1570 cc engine for the Giulia only. While the Berlina and T.I. models were slowly phased out by 1965, the sportier Sprint and Spider models were incorporated into the Giulia lineup where they received new life with the new 1.6 L engine.

The Jackal's Alfa Romeo is registered with plates GE 16 1741.

The Jackal’s Alfa Romeo is registered with plates GE 16 1741.

The Alfa Romeo Spider would become its own model in 1966 with a relatively unchanged look – also designed by Pininfarina – through four generations of production until the final Spider – the 110,128th ever – rolled off the line for the 1993 model year. It was a 1966 Series 1 Spider 1600 that Dustin Hoffman famously drove as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate.

The Gun

For his mission to assassinate De Gaulle, The Jackal has a unique bolt-action takedown single-shot rifle custom made for him by a gunsmith in Genoa to fire .22 Magnum ammunition. The folding rifle has a telescopic sight, a suppressor, and a broad shoulder stock that would later be incorporated into The Jackal’s disguise.

THE DAY OF THE JACKAL

The Jackal initially fires a few standard .22-caliber rounds into the helpless melon to give him a better sense of how to adjust the weapon’s sights. Once he is confident in the rifle’s ability to hit its target, he loads it up with one of the explosive bullets he plans to use on the day of the assassination.

The Jackal adjusts the zero on the telescopic sight.

The Jackal adjusts the zero on the telescopic sight.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie and read Frederick Forsyth’s thrilling 1971 novel.

2 comments

  1. RM

    A predator matching his natural colouring to his wardrobe, urban camouflage.
    The Jackal’s striped shirts are mentioned in the novel but the cravats are all Edward Fox, a habit he picked up in the army.
    The literary Jackal is much served by his dove grey suit & wraparound shades, more like a 60s Vincent from Collateral.

    Like

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