Chasing the Panther: Adventures and Misadventures of a Cinematic Life

Product Details
$29.99  $27.89
Harper Horizon
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.1 X 1.1 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Carolyn Pfeiffer is an American film producer. She was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Madison, North Carolina. After attending Guilford College, she moved to Europe and began a career in motion pictures. She first worked in Rome as Claudia Cardinale's assistant on films, including Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, Luchino Visconti's The Leopard, and Blake Edwards's The Pink Panther. She then moved to Paris and worked as an associate producer for Alain Delon's production company. Within a year, she joined Omar Sharif as his executive assistant and worked on many of his films, including Doctor Zhivago.

Four years later, Carolyn moved to London and started her own public relations company. Her numerous clients included Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, François Truffaut, Robert Altman, The Beatles' company Apple Corps Ltd., and Paul McCartney and Wings.

At thirty-five, she returned to the United States and became a founding partner and president and CEO of Alive Films, an independent production and distribution company that released many groundbreaking films, among them Kiss of the Spider Woman (which garnered William Hurt an Academy Award), Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense, Philip Glass's Koyaanisqatsi, and Alan Rudolph's Choose Me. At the time, she was the only woman in Hollywood who could greenlight a movie--a "mini-mogul" in the words of the Wall Street Journal. During this time, she worked with River Phoenix, Sam Shepherd, Jessica Lange, Patricia Arquette, Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, and many other equally talented actors and filmmakers.

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'Carolyn has experienced firsthand what it's like to be part of the glamour and guts of greatness while still feeling her cheeks blush and heart soar. Those same sensations become ours. This book should be required reading for anyone with a dream.'--Alan Rudolph, multiple award-winning director and writer
'The young southern girl who stepped through the looking glass at the right time may be the one to explain the magic hold of movies. Immensely pleasurable, vivid, and precise, Carolyn Pfeiffer's beautifully written and acutely felt memoir brings you into her life and puts you in her skin as she discovers the seductions of Europe and the glamour of show business. And she writes so well about what love affairs are made of and how they go'.--Joan Juliet Buck, author of The Price Of Illusion
'Chasing the Panther is the feminist serial you always longed for, dropping you right into the middle of the explosive European film world of the fifties and sixties, where Carolyn Pfeiffer not only is in the right place at the right time but is the right person: she makes her own way, meets everyone, falls in love a lot, works hard on and off the set with directors and actors, and by the seventies, winds up being the only female producer in Hollywood able to green-light a film. And she has wisdom. This book is such a beautiful read.'--Eileen Myles, poet, author of Chelsea Girls
'Carolyn Pfeiffer fearlessly joined an international cultural revolution where she gracefully embraced opportunities in fashion, the film industry, and single motherhood. Achievement, glorious highs, and tragic lows . . . her life reads like a novel.'--Joan Tewkesbury, filmmaker, author, and senior advisor at the Sundance Institute
'This book is a gem. Carolyn's dazzlingly bold and marvelous souvenirs knock one out from page one. Her prose is powerful and graceful, her life fascinating: she worked for the likes of Visconti, Claudia Cardinale, and Alain Delon (to drop a few names) and is always gracious and generous about them. I love her and love her book. So will you.'--Geraldine Chaplin, actor and winner of the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Goya Awards
'Carolyn was there at virtually every defining juncture of modern entertainment culture--from the French New Wave to the London music scene through the rise of the American independent film movement.'--Keith Carradine, Emmy and Tony-Award nominated actor and Academy Award-winning songwriter
'A terrific read. The education of a pioneering indie studio executive as a young woman whose film school was European art cinema at its heyday, and also an intimate memoir of a life in the fast lane during the Swinging Sixties, careening from Rome to Paris to London, working and partying with the likes of Visconti, Truffaut, and the Beatles.'--Thomas Schatz, professor at the University of Texas at Austin; film historian and author of the bestselling book The Genuis of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era
'Carolyn Pfeiffer's adventures in her most unusual and adventurous life have included associations with rogues and royalty, creative changers of culture and wayward souls looking for redemption. She has, in the process, built companies, created media moguls, built schools, produced Academy-recognized films, and crashed through more glass ceilings than imaginable, all with grace and wit and charm. If there was cutting-edge of action of the cultural front, Carolyn was there: brave, confronting, and unbowed. And on top of all of that, her men have generally been famous, good looking, literate rascals, and she always gave them the run of their lives.'--Thom Mount, producer and former president of Universal Pictures