Of all the movies screened at the recent Cannes Film Festival in hopes of attracting distributors, the greatest crowd-pleaser was reportedly a Canadian comedy entitled "Outrageous," written and directed by an American, Robert Benner, in Toronto and New York on the outrageously low budget of $165,000. The picture has noe been acquired for domestic release by Cinema V. and it will open in Washington on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the West End 23rd and L Street NW.

Formerly the site of the old Washington Theater Club, this property was acquired by Circle Theaters in 1975 and leased to Martin Field as a legitimate theater. The engagement of "Outrageous" will inaugurate a booking policy alternating between first run movies and theatrical productions.

It appears that Benner may have found a fresh variation on the format used so successfully by Shelagh Delaney in "A Taste of Honey" and Neil Simon in "The Odd Couple." In his picture a hardresser named Robin [WORD ILLEGIBLE] layed by Craig Russell, who has a flair for impersonating female celebrities, offers sanctuary to a former high school classmate named Liza Connors (Hollis McLaren), a frazzled young woman who has just been released from a mental institution and desires to bear her baby against the advice of family and doctors.

[WORD ILLEGIBLE] and Liza set up housekeeping and he tires to cheer her out of [WORD ILLEGIBLE] [WORD ILLEGIBLE] despondency by practicing his [WORD ILLEGIBLE]. In turn, she encourages him to put together a professional act, which he does with considerable success. The story is evidently calculated to use one of his night club performances as the climactic pick-me-up for the heroine after fate deals her a few more disappointments.

The management of the Circle chain plans extensive renovations at the West End - the installation of new carpeting and seating, the construction of a canopied entranceway - that may not be fully completed until the fall. For movie advertising purposes, the 360-seat house will be known as the West End Circle, but there will be no alteration of the existing name on the facade of the building. Circle owners Ted and Jim Pedas are also the landlords of a nearby restaurant. Tinker's, and they are planning to open a new first-run movie theater, in partnership with fellow exhibitor John Broumas, sometime later this year in an office building at Van Ness and Wisconsin Avenues NW.

The National Archives has announced an intriguing three-part film-and-lecture series on the subject of animated films in World War II. In the first program, scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Archives Building, Michael Barrier, editor of the magazine "Funnyworld," will offer a general historical survey of the topic. On successive Wednesday evenings David H. Culbert of the Woodrow Wilson International Center will focus on Private Snafu, and Rick Shale of Youngstown University on Donald Duck.

Archives associates may purchase series tickets for $5 or single admissions for $2. The comparable fees for the general public are $8 and $3. For further information, please call 523-3189.

"Star Wars" has passed the $1 million milestone at Washington area box-offices. The film has grossed $617,840 in seven weeks at the Uptown and another $407,074 in two weeks at six surburban locations. Eight more area theaters will join the party on Wednesday, Aug. 17 . . . The film's distributor, 20th Century-Fox, has also announced the local bookings for its two prestige releases of the fall. Fred Zinnemann's "Julia," based on a portion of Lillian Hellman's "Pentimento" and co-starring Jane Fonda as Hellman. Vanessa Redgrave as the title character and Jason Robards as Dashiell Hammett, opens exclusively at the Jenifer on Friday, Oct. 14.Herbert Ross' romantic drama with a ballet setting. "Turning Point," co-starring Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Leslie Browne, opens exclusively at the Avalon Wednesday, Nov. 16 .. . . Yet another screenwriting seminar will be launched by local producer Sheldon Tromberg on Tuesday, July 26. Those interested should call 966-7799 or 244-3770.