Company Cinematheque, an independent film society program at the College Park campus of the University of Marland, will begin its fall season with the Washington area premiere of the latest feature by Baltimere's inimitable John Waters, "Desperate Living." Waters, who describes his new work as "a monstrous fairy-tale comedy dealing with metal anguish, lesbianism and political corruption," is scheduled to appear at each showing. Three performances will be held on the evenings of Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9-10, and two on the evening of Sunday, Sept 11. Admission is $1.50 and the auditorium is Room 0200 of Skinner Hall.

For reservations or further information about Company Cinematheque programs, contact organizer James McKenzie at 864-6265 at the beginning of September. Among other attractions, McKenzie plans to revive "Rocket Ship," the feature-length verson of the original Flash Gordon serial with Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton, et al.

Now for the bad news: "Rocket Ship" will share the bill with an hour's worth of Three Stooges comedies. The Stooges seem to have become hot box-office on campus these days, a development that may or may not be worth brooding about.

"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," Previously announced for today, will now open Friday, Aug. 19, at the Dupont Circle. McLean Cinema and Outer Circle 2. "Sidewinder One," a melodrama with Marjoe Gortner and Michael Parks as rival motocross racers, is a late addition to today's group of openings, which also includes "Outrageous," "Gizmo," "Outlaw Blues" and "Suspiria."

Paramount, hoping to take advantage of the popularity of "Star Wars," now as much a money-making industry as a money-making movie, has reissued two science-fiction hits of the '50s, "War of the Worlds" and "When Worlds Collide," on a double-bill, opening today at area theaters. An independent production company called First American appears to be the first with a "Star Wars" exploitation movie before the cameras: a soft-core sex comedy, entitled "Starhops". Meanwhile, "Star Wars" opens at eight more area theaters today, having surpassed a domestic box office gross of $100 million last weekend.

Brian De Palma has begun shooting his new movie. "The Fury," for producer Frank Yablans and 20th Century-Fox, the "Star Wars" company. Based on a novel by John Farris, who also worked on the screenplay, "The Fury" is a thriller about parapsychology in espionage circles. The cast includes Kirk Douglas, Amy Irving, Charles Durning, John Cassavetes and Carrie Snodgress, the latter ending a seven-year retirement.

Fox announced last week that it had agreed to license 50 pre-1972 features to Magnetic Video Corporation of Farmington Hills, Mich., for conversion to half-inch video tape for use in home video machines, with marketing anticipated later this year. The terms of the agreement were undisclosed, but Steve Roberts of the Fox telecommunications division revealed that "M A S H" and "The French Connection" were among the 50 titles. The deal may provide a clue to the policy distributors' hope to take advantage of the new home video market without totally alarming theater owners. It will be interesting to see if all the major distributors observe a five-year time lag in their choice of features for home video release.