Cinema: Sure-Footed Fleecing

Banana Peel has a plot as tricky as its title. Named after a race horse, this free French comedy of crime and blandishment gives the beast a mere nod during the opening credits, then plunges into an orgy of intrigues on a pretty fast track. Viewers may occasionally wish they had a pony to keep abreast of what is happening. But they will never lose interest, thanks to two shrewd performers, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jeanne Moreau, under direction from Marcel Ophuls (son of Max).

Belmondo plays a. bass fiddle until Moreau, his former wife, lures him into a role as confidence man....