period: Henri 4 – Catherine de Médicis

Henri 4: Catherine de Médicis

The movie traces the rise of the Protestant Henry of Navarre as he goes from battlefield warrior to France's beloved King Henri IV – with more than a little bloodshed and frequent bawdy sexual interludes along the way.

In late sixteenth-century France, Catholics and Protestant Huguenots were at war. Seemingly seeking peace, the French dowager queen, Catherine de Médicis (Hannelore Hoger) summoned Henry to her court to have him marry her daughter to unite the two warring factions. However, the wedding celebrations turned into a slaughter that became known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre – leaving the Huguenots leaderless and Henry struggling to survive as a captive.

Somehow he managed to outlive Catherine’s sons, partly by judiciously converting backwards and forwards between Catholicism and Protestantism, and became King of France, though he was only crowned after converting to catholicism a final time – no doubt with a degree of cynicism even if he didn’t actually say: ‘Paris vaut bien une messe.’

He was assassinated in Paris in 1610.

The makeup

Gerd Zeiss was the key makeup artist; Tamar Aviv & Jörn Seifert of Twilight Creations were the special makeup effects artists; Birger Laube was the special makeup effects artist (dummies).