Two in a Taxi, although filmed on a tight schedule, has little reliance on action for its plot, showing the relative complexity which its occupational genre could reach without ever extending beyond the B category. The tone is far more serious, clearly expressing the liberal viewpoint of its original screenwriters, Malvin Wald and Morton Thompson, who regarded their story as an "urban Grapes of Wrath for the cab drivers." The socialist overtones are evident from the outset; workers of different occupations have the same interests, and all have a common enemy in management no matter what field, a concept conveyed in theatrical-style dialogue. The situation is no different for women than men; when Hayden's sweetheart, played by Anita Louise, obtains a modeling job, it is only through accepting another man's offer, who then believes she owes him her future and favors.
The characters are in no way idealized; they are realistic and flawed, with Hayden, for instance, jealous of his girlfriend because of his own lack of self-confidence. Two in a Taxi exposes the daily difficulties faced by the drivers and the near-impossibility of breaking out of a dead-end cycle of borderline financial stability, in which everyone is chronically short of money, in need, and trying to get ahead. As Hayden's character remarks, he is crowded in with all the other little guys, and hacking is a one way street, with nothing at the end; indeed, One Way Street was the working title. No matter how hard Hayden's driver works, with over time and penny-pinching, it is impossible for him to accumulate the $300 needed to buy the gas station. Trying to raise money on his cab, the driver learns that what he thought was an asset is only another sinkhole of debt-- conveyed by photographing the cabbies through the prison-like bars that guard a banker. Working for racketeers seems to offer easy money, but when another driver accepts the work, he is killed--leaving his starving family more desperate than ever, with the stigma of shame added to their privation. Just as Hayden's driver gains $100 through a reward, he accidentally yet ironically turns down a one-way street, and the hack bureau fines and suspends him, in what seems the final straw to end his hopes. Only through the deus ex machina of a soft-hearted seller accepting a lower price for the service station is an upbeat conclusion reached.
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