To whittle things down, the Siren gave herself but one requirement: The actress must be someone whose presence alone, irrespective of director, scriptwriter, subject matter, cinematographer, location or studio, will prompt the Siren to watch the movie. Even if the Siren suspects, or knows, that a movie is a wing-flapping wattle-waving turkey, she will watch it for one of these actresses.
The Siren has added a small embellishment by picking a still from a favorite movie for each actress. The pictures are very easy to guess, for the most part; it was just something the Siren did for her own amusement.
Barbara Stanwyck. Should be on everyone's list.
Alida Valli. The Siren saw this movie again recently and it was better than she remembered it.
Kay Francis. I already proved I will watch anything with her. I sat through Doctor Monica, for heaven's sake.
Margaret Sullavan. This publicity still is for X. Trapnel; it was lifted from Classic Montgomery, a terrific classic-film blog from a fan of the actor Robert Montgomery. So far it wins the prize for most bizarre stars-link-arms-and-walk-toward-camera-still ever.
Gloria Grahame. See Stanwyck.
Catherine Deneuve. All the boys will grab an opportunity to post something from Belle de Jour but this movie was the Siren's first Catherine love.
Meryl Streep. The Siren has problems with this movie, but chose this still because people forget what a unique beauty Streep was when starting out. Still is, in fact, and thank god she can still move her forehead.
You will notice that neither Bennett sister appears here; Constance and Joan just missed this tier. If I see more early work that I love, they may yet make it. Also cruelly forced out by the numerical limitations were Judy Holliday, Jean Harlow, Julie Christie, Ruth Chatterton, Clara Bow, Eve Arden, Dorothy Dandridge, Gong Li, Mary Astor, Gene Tierney, Anna May Wong, Setsuko Hara, Olivia de Havilland, and Ruby Dee.
All right, here are the Siren's tags:
J.C. Loophole of The Shelf (he volunteered--this'll learn him)
Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy on Film (she probably hates these things, but she will make great choices)
Operator_99 of Allure (this is his second tag from me in as many months, but come on, look at how great his A-Z list was)
Kimberly at Cinebeats (dying to see her swingin' list)
David Cairns at Shadowplay (I expect totally fabulous classic choices from him, too)
And since I am adding a link anyway, here is an unrelated tip--rush over and read David Cairns' post on the underrated William Dieterle and The Last Flight.