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Jess Conrad, star of "The Golden Head" visits 70mm Film Festival

The 70mm Newsletter
Written and photographed by: Thomas Hauerslev, travelling correspondent Date: 04.10.2010
Jess Conrad on his very first visit to Germany,  posing in front of "The Golden Head" poster at the Schauburg Cinerama Kino in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Pre Beatles-era singer, entertainer and movie star Mr. Jess Conrad was invited to Karlsruhe to attend the German 70mm premiere of the classic and largely "forgotten" 9th Cinerama film "The Golden Head".

Released in 35mm and CinemaScope in East Germany (DDR) on February 18th, 1966, and dubbed into German by DEFA. German title "Das Goldene Haupt", which is a literal translation of the English title. "The Golden Head" was never shown a lot anywhere, following it's disastrous London premiere in 1965.

For many years Jess Conrad lived next door to Roger Moore, when he lived in England. Conrad was surprised to learn that "The Golden Head" was shown in Bradford in 2006, but didn't learn until too late. The Schauburg Kino, with neon lights and everything, is one of Germany's most successful independent cinemas. After the film Jess Conrad answered questions about he got involved in the film, about the filming and the co-stars of the film. Hungary welcomed the film crew to Budapest, as it was a much needed boost for them to have their beautiful capital appearing in a big international co-production.
More in 70mm reading:

Millie Goes to the Golden Head

"The Golden Head" Revisited

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Ovner of the Kommoedchen restaurant, Mr. Nasi Jamal, between Schauburg manager Mr. Herbert Born and Mr. Jess Conrad to the right.

It was simply a travelogue and in several scenes the character played by Cecilia Esztergalyos, simply say to Conrad's character' "See", the so-and-so bridge, church etc. The audience could enjoy the sight of Budapest by watching "The Golden Head".

Conrad He told the audience that nobody had cars, in those days in Hungary, except high ranking politicians and of course the movie crew. When visiting people at home - always followed by security staff "who was just there", people didn't have any art on their walls - only pictures of cars.

Conrad continued to say, that when his wife visited him on the six-weeks shoot, ,she brought along extra nylon stocking, which was much sought after in Hungary, and impossible to get for the population.

Now appearing on cruise ships, Jess Conrad recently performed with a Hungarian band. He mentioned to the band members, that he once worked on an Hungarian film with Hungarian movie star Cecilia Esztergalyos - to which they replied "She must be very old". Jess Conrad has been married to the same girl all these years. He mentioned how he found her.
Jess Conrad on the last row at the Schauburg enjoying the film

In the early 1960s he was sharing a flat in Chelsea with Michael Caine and Terrence Stamp. Every time they saw a nice girl on TV appearing in soap commercials, they would call the girl and invite her on a date. That's how he and Michael Caine found the love of their life - and they are still married to this day. Terrence Stamp got as far as to marry any of the TV-commercial girls he dated.

Originally Jess Conrad attended the London premiere April 8, 1965, but he didn't see the film on that occasion. He returned a few weeks later to see it, but it had already been removed from the Royalty cinema - 45 years would pass before the next opportunity to see it arrived.

Despite being faded, this 70mm print (#1, the one and only known), had remarkably few scratches or damage. Image quality was very good, and the directional sound was as good as many 70mm films of the same age.

Jess Conrad said he thought the film was far better than he expected. It was made in a different time when things were different and perhaps the world was a safer place
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Updated 21-01-24