A Cricket in Times Square

Movie review by
Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
A Cricket in Times Square Movie Poster Image
A paltry adaptation of a classic book.
  • NR
  • 1973
  • 30 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A cricket's selfless good deed saves a poor family's failing business.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that they have nothing objectionable to worry about in this video, unless you count a weak script, poor animation and dreary music. Still, the message of helping others is a good one.

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What's the story?

Chester, a Connecticut field cricket, accidentally hitches a ride in a picnic basket to New York City, where a boy named Mario gives him a home at a failing Times Square newsstand. There Chester meets Tucker the mouse and his sophisticated cat friend Harry, who convince the homesick cricket to stop pining for the country and give the city a try. Chester stays, and learns that he has a special talent. By rubbing his wings together like a bow to a violin, he can play back any tune he hears on the radio. Subway patrons stop to listen, awed by his perfect pitch. Soon the little newsstand is thriving, but fame can't silence the voice within that calls Chester back to the fields of home.

Is it any good?

A Cricket in Times Square lacks visual flair -- which is surprising, considering the source. Because George Selden's classic children's book is so warm and endearing, one would expect that Chuck Jones, the master behind How the Grinch Stole Christmas as well as some of the truly great Warner Brothers cartoons, would work magic on the story. Sadly, he didn't. The whole thing feels rushed, and unreasonable sacrifices are made in story and character development in order to squeeze it into a too-tight half-hour timeframe.

The animated characters are far less engaging than they are in their original literary form. The cat, Harry, serves no purpose at all, and Chester the cricket is an altogether bland creation, with a weak voice and a face made up of two dots and a curved line. With no one in the story to really care about, hardly any action to propel them, and very little humor to distract from its other failings, this program doesn't offer children much to get excited about. Even the altruistic gesture it all leads up to falls flat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Chester does what he does? How can you use your talents to help others? Why is that important?

Movie details

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