July 1, 2023
Adventures and Misadventures of a Cinematic Life
Carolyn Pfeiffer
with Gregory Collins
Harper Horizon
Hardcover, 336 pages
"The book is ripe with glittery stars such as Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon, and Omar Sharif. There’s old Hollywood (Burt Lancaster), new Hollywood (Barbra Streisand), and the British Invasion (The Beatles). There's plenty of fun stuff, too, like smoking weed with director Blake Edwards during the filming of The Pink Panther."

"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 Says
A cinematic and vibrant coming-of-age memoir that captures the thrilling and heartbreaking early years of a pioneering film producer and one of Hollywood's first female executives.

For a moment in the 1980s, Carolyn Pfeiffer was the only woman in Hollywood who could greenlight a movie. Working with directors like Sam Shepard and Wes Craven, and with actors like River Phoenix and Bette Davis, she had a hand in producing or distributing many landmark films including Ridley Scott's The Duellists, Alan Rudolph's Choose Me, and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

As a young girl in rural North Carolina, Carolyn felt a calling she couldn’t articulate but that she nonetheless understood: it was a tug on her heart, a yearning for something more. When she could, she set out for New York City, a refuge for young women exercising their independence and resisting the pressures of marriage and motherhood. There, swept up in the glamorous world of beat poets and millionaires, Carolyn brushed shoulders with a young Burt Reynolds and became fast friends with Penny Knowles, an English journalist.
As the turbulent 1960s dawned, Carolyn booked a one-way passage to Europe to visit Penny and to travel for the summer Instead, the world opened up to her in ways she couldn't;t have imagined. She found herself on set with Italy’s great filmmakers, in the couture houses of Paris’ fashion icons, and swept up in the youthful energy flooding London. She learned about film and found work on iconic movies such as Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, and David Lean's Doctor Zhivago, and she befriended and worked alongside luminaries such as The Beatles, Tennessee Williams, Francoise Truffaut, and Barbra Streisand. Amid these adventures and misadventures, Carolyn fell in and out of love and was beset by tragedies and triumphs that resoundingly affirmed what she'd known since girlhood—that she was always destined for something more.

Set against the dazzling backdrop of Fellini's Rome, the Paris of the French New Wave, and Swinging London, her memoir reads like a true-to-life novel revealing Carolyn’s unforgettable journey to find her place in the world.
Dear Readers,
Mine is the story of a small-town girl who arrives in Europe for the amazing 1960s and early 1970s. Rome, Paris. and London. I had adventures galore…some good and some less good. I felt it was time to write them down. It is my hope that you will enjoy the book, which was co-written with Gregory Collins, to whom I am most grateful.
All the very best,
Book Club Menu
Peasant Pasta (with the family of boyfriend Masolino d’Amico, and his mother Suso Cecchi d’Amico, a screenwriter, at their home in Rome).

"With short hair and soft curls brushed away from her forehead, Suso struck me as an old soul, wise and with a calming presence. She had just taken both of my hands in hers when the maid appeared and announced that lunch was served. “You’re welcome in our home, Carolina,” Suso said. I was seated between Masolino and the charming Nino Rota as the maid brought in a large bowl of pasta from the upstairs kitchen. Bottles of water, fizzy and flat, and wine littered the table. “Benvenuti a tutti,” said Masolino’s father in a loud voice. This was met with a chorus of grazies and with the raising of glasses. “We call this ‘peasant pasta,’” said Masolino, leaning over to me. “Only olive oil, tomato, and garlic. Do you know in Italian, tomato?” “Ma certo. È pomodoro.” “Pomodoro, si. And oil?” “Olio, no?” “Bene, si. And garlic?” “No, garlic, I don’t know.” “Aglio.” “Aglio.” “But with your tongue: aglio.”

Fish and Chips (with Omar Sharif and The Beatles in Antibes) "When we arrived in Cannes, I got Omar to his hotel and then caught a taxi to Antibes, where the Beatle contingent was settling into a private villa at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Entering the suite where they’d gathered, I smiled when I saw Maureen, Ringo’s wife, on her hands and knees ironing her gown. There were armies of people at her beck and call, but she was a working-class girl from Liverpool, and the notion of tasking someone else with something she could do herself had never occurred to her. Then George appeared. They all distrusted French cooking, and he’d gone to bring back a simple dinner of fish and chips.

Ringo’s birthday was approaching, and George, Paul, and John wanted to surprise him with an original Picasso. So while George and Ringo ate, Peter Brown pulled me aside and asked if I could get to Picasso. “Even if I could get to Picasso,” I said in disbelief, “what would I say?” “Just ask him.” “You want me to ask Picasso for a painting?” “Yes.” “Well,” I said, “let’s see. How much do they want to spend?” “Spend? No, they just want a doodle, a squiggle on a napkin or something. You know, as a favor to the boys.” After a toast to Wonderwall and to the French mastery of fish and chips, I excused myself and headed back to Cannes..."
Bloody Mary (with Truman Capote in Cannes): "We found Truman in his room overlooking the Croisette. Short and feisty, he had a ferocious energy about him. “Bloody Mary?” he asked as soon as introductions were out of the way. As he mixed our drinks—the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had—he recounted his recent heartache of being jilted by his boyfriend, his air-conditioning repairman who’d gone back to his wife. Then, drinks in hand, we sat by the window and looked out over the Mediterranean. The sun was shining, the Riviera was crowded, and the mighty Cannes Film Festival was underway."

Bread, burrata, tomatoes, tagliatelle, and Montepulciano (shopping in Rome) "Animated by the beauty surrounding me, I took my time shopping. At the panificio, I chose bread carefully. I thought of the ingredients and the labor present in each loaf of casareccio and focaccia. At the salumeria, I bought burrata and a portion of fresh tagliatelle. At the fruttivendolo, I marveled at the rich display of produce. Taking a tomato in my hand, the feel of its taut and perfect peel against my skin felt somehow important, as if it could restore me if only I held it long enough. At the vineria, I bought a bottle of Montepulciano to bring to dinner. Turning toward my flat, the cobblestones caught the afternoon sun and an old man smiled at me. These things, so simple and so inconsequential, warmed me unexpectedly, and a wave of something that felt like hope rose up within me."

-Carolyn Pfeiffer, Chasing the Panther