Although its popularity didn't endure, The Cricket on the Hearth was originally the favorite of Charles Dickens' Christmas Books (the most well-known today is, of course, A Christmas Carol. Director Lorimar Johnston makes an imposing Josiah Tackleton (also known as "Old Gruff"), and producer Paul Gerson is a handsome and likable John Peerybingle. The rest of the cast is filled with favorites of the silent era -- Fritzi Ridgeway has the pivotal role of Bertha Plummer, the blind girl, and character actor Josef Swickard is her father, Caleb. Virginia Brown Faire is Dot Peerybingle. Peerybingle marries his much-younger sweetheart Dot and they establish a happy home in the little village of Tindsley. Nearby lives a poor toymaker, Caleb Plummer who weaves idealistic fibs of his rich home and life for his blind daughter, Bertha. But Old Gruff, the town's most powerful figure, wants young, beautiful May Fielding (Margaret Landis), who loves Plummer's son Edward (Paul Moore). After knocking down Tackleton in a fight, Edward is forced to leave town for a year. He returns disguised as an old man in time to save May from a forced marriage to Tackleton. Tackleton, meanwhile, has played on Peerybingle's jealousy in an attempt to destroy his happiness, and Bertha has learned that her father's tales are untruths. But Edward has brought a fortune in Brazilian diamonds with him, enough to make his father's stories a reality.
~ Janiss Garza, All Movie Guide