Three Fables of Love and Maid for Murder

At the Harvard Square through Tuesday

Three Fables of Love differs from Bocaccio 70 in about the same way that Leslie Caron differs from Sophia Loren. This new string of romantic vignettes is less gaudy than its ancestor, but the quality and themes are nearly identical. If you have good eyesight and don't search for symbolism, Three Fables will give you an Eisenhower dollar's worth of entertainment.

"The Tortoise and the Hare," the first story, is not really a fable. Fables are supposed to have morals, but this little flesh flick does not--at least not in the parietal hours sense. It was included in the trio for the sake of the "Coming Attractions," and for those viewers who enjoy watching seminude women. Although the imbecilic plot was meant to be bittersweet, women's leagues will probably call it tasteless, since it has the camera constantly leering at Sylvia Koscina in a blouse slit to the waist.

The last two thirds of the movie offer a lower temperature and a bit more art. Flattery used for cuckoldry is the subject of the second vignette, "The Fox and the Crow." To make the acquaintance of pretty Anna Karina, Mr. Renard swells the head of her jealous husband. Miss Karina is fully clothed throughout.

Leslie Caron, occasionally in lingerie, spends a weekend accidently locked up with a stolid picture framer in the last part, "Two Pigeons." The situation puts heavy stress on the imagination, but creates some decent comedy. By narrating their sides of the story alternately, the two prisoners expertly squeeze out all the possibilities their predicament suggests, short of the obvious one.

Maid for Murder brims over with Establishment accents, sex, slapstick, guitar music and Tom and Jerry homicide plans. Anna Karina is back, this time a Corsican in frequent deshabille, out to inherit Oberon Manor from a pair of bumbling bachelor brothers. A tubby reporter for True Women arrives: "She looks more like four women," observes little brother. It turns out that "Aunt fell down the well and kicked the bucket," among other calamities. One picturesque heroine and half-a-dozen giggles in Maid for Murder barely rescue British comedy from a stained reputation.