"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," a movie version of the best-selling novel about the treatment of a schizophrenic teen-age girl, will open an exclusive engagement at the Dupont Circle on Wednesday, Aug. 17. The film has been receiving lavish praise for the performances of Kathleen Quinlan as the patient and Bibi Anderson as her psychoanalyst. Quinlan was featured prominently in last summer's "Lifeguard" as the lovestick kid infatuated with Sam Elliott.

The Circle management has postponed the opening date of the new Canadian comedy "Outrageous" until Aug. 17 at the West End. A third promising movie from independent sources arrives the same day at the Key: Howard Smith's "Gizmo," a compilation documentary about the history of inventions and gadgets. Smith, the co-writer of the "Scenes" column in the Village Voice, made his film debut as the do-director on the Oscar wining "Margoe." The key has scheduled previews of "Gizmo" tonight and Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 8:30 p.m.

The Washington area Filmmakers League has set a deadline of Monday, Aug. 15, for freelance submittals to its 1977-78 reference guide to local filmmaking talent and services. The fee for inclusion in the guide is $6. Free-lancers desiring to submit their vital employment statistics may receive an application by calling 547-3456 or writing The WAFL Book, p.O. Box 6475, Washington, D.C. 20009.

The publication is intended to be a comprehensive listing of people with experience in any capacity in film or video production. There are also supplementary sections devoted to film services and film education courses available in the greater metropolitan area.

The University Film Association is conducting its 31st annual conference this week at the University of Maryland. The theme is "The Documentary Impulse: Film and Video." For detailed information about the remaining screenings, panels and workshops, contact Marion and Gene Weiss of the Radio-TV-Film Division at (301) 454-2541.

The Rockville campus of Montgomery County's Community College has announced two men film courses for the fall semester. "Acting for Film and Television" and "Film Study: Art and Technique." The instructor for both courses will be associate professor Will Bellais.

Registration for the three-credit acting course, designed for college students and scheduled to meet Mondays and Wednesday from 1 to 3:30 p.m., will be handled through the admissions office on the campus. The film appreciation course, consisting of Wednesday evening screenings and seminars beginning Sept. 14 at 7 p.m., is open to anyone, but registration will be handled through Community Services at (301) 762-1840.

This week's more or less major commercial openings are "MacArthur," starring Gregory Peck as the illustrious, controversial general, on Friday, Aug. 5, and the hysterical comedy "Fire Sale" today, both at a number of area theaters. A Spanish film about the imaginative world shared by two little sisters. "The Spirit of the Beehive," begins an engagement today at the Outer Circle 2.

The black Film Institute will host the first Washington showing of "Passing Through," a new dramatic feature with the veteran character actor Clarence Muse as an aging black musician who becomes the mentor to a young saxophonist. Nathaniel Taylor, just released from prison. The free showing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at 929 E St. NW. A 1938 musical short, "Jettering Jitterbug," shares the program.

"Outlaw Blues," a romantic melodrama co'starrign Peter Fonda and Susan saint James is scheduled to open at area theaters next Wednesday, Aug. 10. A new melodrama about life in the Foreign Legion, Dick Richards' "March or Die," co-starring Gene Hackman. Dominique Sanda and Terence Hill arrives on or about Friday, Aug. 12. The new "Peanuts" animated feature. "Race for your Life Charlie Brown," opening Friday, Aug 19, at area theaters, appears to be the last significant release of th summer