love dash (n) the act of a character running to his or her soul mate or object of affection at the climax of a film, esp. when accompanied by swelling music and an overflowing sense of destiny.
After seeing The Apartment, and again exulting in Shirley MacLaine's mad sprint through the West 60s, I decided the phenomenon of the love dash would be an excellent blog topic. After some serious pondering, I discovered one problem: I can't name too many. The love dash seems to be the most typical and enduring cinematic convention, yet I can hardly come up with a decent list.
So, readers, I solicit you for submissions. What are the greatest love dashes of all time? Here are my top three:
1. Manhattan (1979). Woody Allen lies on his couch, despondent over his girlfriend's imminent exodus to London. To cheer himself up, he starts to list all the things he loves about life. Soon, he comes to the realization that he loves his girlfriend more than anything on the list. He must see her and stop her from leaving before it's too late! Woody lopes down a Manhattan street as Gershwin's spirited "Strike up the Band" blares away. He gets to her in time, but she greets him with a life lesson, not a passionate embrace.
2. Rocky (1976). The fight is over, and the Italian Stallion couldn't care less about his purpled eye sockets and the media frenzy. He wants Adrian, who is hugging the wall at the rear of the auditorium, concerned but unsure of what to do. As soon as she hears him call, she starts cleaving her way through the crowd. As the clamor intensifies, Rocky screams her name louder. Gosh, he really needs me, Adrian thinks. He actually needs me. She starts barrelling her way through the crowd. The two are drawn together like magnets. Eventually, Adrian worms her way into the ring, and we are treated to one of the sweetest releases in movies: "I love you!" she cries, shocked at both her wild emotion and her ability to convey it. "I love you!"
3. It's a Wonderful Life (1946). "Merry Christmas!" George Bailey shrieks as he runs through the snow-clogged streets of Bedford Falls. He has been spared a lifetime of emptiness; wouldn't you dash, too? (Note: I couldn't find a photo of a love dash in progress, so I offer Jimmy Stewart awash in the aftermath of his love dash, above.)
I considered: Lost in Translation (didn't like the movie, so didn't like Bill Murray's last-minute love dash and the inaudible last line [cop out!]), Forrest Gump (bounding through the Reflecting Pool is a nice, if schmaltzy, touch), Life Is Beautiful (oh that end, with the mother, and the son, and "We won!"), What Dreams May Come (Annabella Sciorra and Robin Williams dash through, like, paint in, like, heaven), and I have a feeling there's some sort of love dash in The Sound of Music, but I'm forgetful. No doubt there are a baker's dozen in Love, Actually, but I don't want to hear about them. And do the elderly Mel Gibson and Isabel Glasser hobble quickly at the end of Forever Young? Again, I'm forgetful.
Now, what are your ideas? What am I forgetting? Requirements: The dash has to have a good pace, or at least a sense of urgency (so no Shawshank Redemption, for example), and it has to cover some ground (at least more than what Fredric March and Myrna Loy cover in The Best Years of Our Lives). Obviously, it's a double love dash if both characters are rushing toward each other (examples?). And what if a character is dashing toward an abstraction (JMR, I expect you to enlighten us on that final tracking shot in When the Cat's Away)?