I will start with Italian cinema as it is Sophia Loren who actually inspired this post First saw her in Hollywood cinema, but lately appreciate her Italian roots. Obviously very good looking, but surprisingly an excellent actress. In "Sunflower,"she ages very well as well she does in "Marriage Italian style". In "Two Women" where she was first actress in foreign film to win an Oscar. she plays the mother of a teenage girl while only 25 herself. Other notable movies include "A Special Day" and "Yesterday, To-day and Tomorrow."
Anna Magnani was another notable Italian actress, but only saw her in three movies. In one the director was on record as saying he didn't want her to take over the movie, but she is the main thing I remember from "Mama Roma". She had a strong presence, even though the director tried to minimize her impact. She was also in Rosselini's "Rome, Open City." Another movie was "L'Automobile" near the end of her career and again she was a dominating presence. Apparently I also saw her in "The Secret of Santa Vittoria" with Anthony Quinn, but confess I was unfortunately not conscious of her.
The French have a long reputation for sexy women and I can appreciate the history. One of my favourites is Audrey Tautou in many movies but epitomized in "Priceless ", "Amelie", "Delicacy" and her first English speaking role in "Dirty Pretty Things." She was in a trilogy with Romain Duris.
Another very attractive actress is Bernice Bejo notably in the silent film "The Artist." "The Past". and "The Grand Role." were outstanding. Very recently saw her in "Au Bonheur des Ogres."
Marion Cotillard made a claim to fame in America with 'La vie en rose" although in French she won the Oscar for the best actress, only the second to win that award in a foreign film. She has been on both sides of the Atlantic. French movies seen included "Rust and Bones'" and "Love me If You Dare" In English she starred in "Inception" and more recently "The Emigrant".
Juliet Binoche won our attention in "The English Patient," and "Chocolate." "A 1000 Times Good Night" was seen at a film festival. She appeared in all 3 Three Color movies."Blue" "Red" and "White." Recently saw in "Words and Pictures" where some of her painting was displayed.
Sweden also is noted for gorgeous women, but the one that most stands out for me is Ingrid Bergman. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" "Casablanca" and with Cary Grant in two movies. I recently saw one of her earlier Swedish films, "June Night" for which she was the highlight.
Noomi Rapace played the "Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" and its two sequels in a very quirky role which led to a big surprise when I heard her fluent English accent on a special feature. I have since seen her in "Child 44" and "The Drop.".
The Danes, another Scandinavian country with a reputation for attractive women have got my attention. One I respect is Trine Dyrholm who appeared
in "Royal Affair," "All You Need Is Love" with Pierce Brosnan and the Oscar winner " A Better World."
I watched a number of Spanish movies and the one actress that stands out for me is Penelope Cruz, especially in "Volver" but had seen her earlier in "Open Your Eyes" which she reprised in English with Tom Cruise.
Ingrid Rubio is established in Spain, but I saw her in an Argentine movie "Todas Las Azfalatzas van Cielo" where she was captivating.
I grew up with English speaking movies and the actresses no doubt played a part in developing my interests in movies.
Olivia de Havilland impressed me in"Strawberry Blonde" "Robin Hood," "Captain Blood" and "Gone with the Wind. I enjoyed her performances in "The Snake Pit" and "The Heiress."
Elizabeth Taylor started as a child star in such movies as "National Velvet" and later moved to "Cleopatra" and "Who's Afraid of Virgina Wolf?"
I can only recall seeing two movies of Vivian Leigh. "That Hamilton Woman" (one of mine and Winston Churchill's favorites) impressed me the most and "Gone with The Wind" almost equally impressive.
Katherine Hepburn is remembered in "The Philadelphia Story" and a number of movies with Cary Grant and Spencer Tracey. Later I saw her in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "Golden Pond," and "the Lion in Winter" A regal bearing and excellent diction.
Emily Blunt in "Sunshine Cleaning" "Young Victoria" "Your Sister's Sister," "Salmon Fishing in Yemen" recently "Sicario" upcoming in "The Girl on The Train."
Elizabeth Banks with Russell Crowe, "The Next Three Days" "People Like Us"" Love and Mercy."
Meryl Streep has been a very dedicated actress who perhaps more than anyone on this list was very versatile. "The Hours" "Doubt" "Kramer vs Kramer" and" Sophie's Choice
Zoe Saldana was impressive in "Avatar" I had read her interest in the theatre was from her stay in the Domican Republic. She starred in a Spanish film, "The Curse of Father Cardona" which was mediocre but she is mesmerizing In "The Words" she paired with Bradley Cooper.
Halle Berry was seen in "What We Lost In The Fire" and "The Call"
Rosario Dawson got my attention in "Trance" "Seven Pounds" and "Unstoppable."
Gugu Mbatha-Raw was featured in "Belle." Now I look forward to to watch "Concussion."
Viola Davis was "The Help" "How to get away with murder" is addicting. After an award she was quoted as saying"The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity."
Hiam Abbass is an Israeli Arab who spends most of her time in France. First saw her in an American art movie, "The Visitor" and was quite impressed. Saw in a number of other movies where she seemed to project herself better than the rest of the cast, but without being flashy. Read more about her here: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2014/04/hiam-abbass-always-leaves-impression.html
Woo Soo from "The Housemaid" where she played an unfortunate maid targeted by the philandering husband.
Ji-hyu Jun in "Assassination" played an action role with lots of variety.
Hyo-joo Han, charming in "The Beauty Inside" with a dozen leading men also in "Masquerade"
Li Gong got international attention for films such as "The Geisha," but her earlier Chinese roles "Raise the Red Lantern", "What Women Want" and "Ju Dou" are worth a look. She is now a citizen of Singapore "
The Japanese don't seem to emphasize a star system, although they have many regular actors. Ryoko Hirose got my attention in the Oscar winner "Departures" going through quite the transformation of being disgusted with her husband to supporting him. Later saw her in "Key of Life"
Yasuko Matsuyuki from "Hula Girls" played a hula instructor fleeing from debts in the big city.
Norma Aleandro is now viewed as an older stately woman. One of her big movies was "The Official Story." "Anita" "Andres doesn't nap in the afternoon" and an English movie, "The City of Your Final Destination." Recently saw her in a small cameo in "Todas Las Azfalatzas van Cielo."
Martina Guzman in "Carncho" with Ricardo Darin and in another "White Elephant" that unfortunately saw on defective DVD
Soledad Villami played female lead in the Oscar winner "Suspect in their eyes" as Ricardo Darin's lost love. Apparently the two had been paired together in popular movies earlier.
What I watch most these days seems to be Bollywood and the many attractive women are one of the reasons.--they seem to have the most actresses partly as they churn out more movies than Hollywood and some are making waves in the American market. Although there are quite a few, I couldn't bring myself to cut any of them
Vidya Balan in her first movie played literally a girl next door in "Parineeti" But she refuses to be typecast as proved by "The Dirty Picture" "No one Killed Jessica" "Kahanni" (where she played a charming pregnant woman) and "Te3n" Read more:
Juhi Chawla's heyday was in the 1990's but she gone from giggly glamorous type to mature. I was very disappointed to see her listed with "The 100-Foot Journey" that had her killed off in the early minutes.
Shreya Saran played the girl next door in "the End of the Line" where I decided I wanted to see any film with her in it. The next one was a big surprise, "Kantswamy' which was in Tamil and she played a vengeful conniving bitch. She had roles in two Canadian films directed by Deepa Metha, "Cooking with Stella" and "Midnight's Children." She had bit roles in some Bollywood films that I was unable to obtain. Most recently saw her in "Drishyam" that turned out to be a masterpiece. http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/11/driishyam-bollywood-remake-masterpiece.html
Tabu is one classy actress who can do comic role, but also very authoritative. A strong woman can be off putting to males, but I have come to respect her. Read more at: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/12/tabu.html
Preity Zinta another sparkly actress was in one of my first Bollywood films "Kal Ho Naa Ho" and she is one reason I got hooked. She had been spotted in a tv. commercial A number of her movies are noteworthy, "Dil Chata Hai" "Veer Zara' "Kol...Mil Gaya". One movie "Heaven on Earth" for Deepa Mehta was filmed in Brampton.
Rani Mukerji has been in a wide range of movies and projects a sophisticated, energetic image. Read more: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2014/11/rani-mukerji-maturing-actress.html
Parineeti Chopra has a sparkly personality. In "Ladies vs Ricky Bahl" she only had supporting role , but captured a lot of attention. In "Hasee Toh Phasee" she had a charming, but unusual leading role
Priyanka Chopra is now fairly well known in the States as she appeared as lead in American tv series, "Quantico." She was Miss World 2000, but she has a lot more going for her than her looks. Some of her other movies include "Don", "Don 2" "Fashion" "Barfi." In "Mary Kom" she portrayed a champion boxer .
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, was once declared the most beautiful woman in the world after winning Miss World in 1994. She seemed like fluff, but is not. "Devdas," "Sarkar Raj," and "Jodha Akbar" are some of the more memorable ones. "Provoked" in English was a strong social commentary.
Deepika Padukone debuted with Shah Rukh Khan in "Om Shanti Om." She did a great job in "Bachna Ae Haseeno" and "Karthik Calling Karthik." She has expanded her repertoire with such movies as "Finding Fanny" Recently enjoyed her in "Tamasha" where she paired up with a past boyfriend, Ranbir Kapoor. Now making her first American movie with Van Diesil, See a blog on
Kangana Ranaut has been in her share of duds, but she has really shone in "Queen" "Gangster," "Once Upon a Time in Mumbai,"Tanu Weds Manu," and "Who Lambe." She often plays very glamorous women often with unstable mentality, but in "Queen" she played someone more ordinary, but determined. Read more: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2014/07/kangana-ranaut.html
Kajol is 1/2 of my favourite jodi. She paired with Shah Rukh Khan to really good effect in "Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge," "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" "Kabhi Khusi Kabhie Gham," and "My Name is Khan." She paired with Aamir Khan in "Fanaa" and with Arjun Rampal in "We Are Family."
Srvedi had taken a break from making movies, then appeared in "English Vinglish" in a more gracious mature role. Earlier films such as "Lamhe" established her reputation as a glamour star.
There are so many choices that I know some worthy actresses have been left out. Any you would care to recommend? For my favorite actors: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2016/08/my-favorite-movie-actors.html