Local FILMMAKER Robert Starbird will be teaching two classes for Open University. The first, a film-editing seminar, will be held at his house in Mount Plealsant on four consecutive Tuesdays beginning this Tuesday. The hands-on production course is $25, plus a $35 fee for materials. The second course, TV commercial production (taught in conjunctionwith TV PRODUCER Gene Miller), will take the students through the complete process, from writing to editring. To be held at a yet-undetermined site inupper NOrthwest D.C., the course is four Thursdays from 8 to 10 beginning January 31; course fee is $35, pus a $15 material fee. For further information, call Open University at 966-9606.

I Am Eye, a local collective of independent filmmakers, will present an encore screening of Fritz Lang's The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Monday at 8:30 at D.C. SPACE, $$# Seventh Street NW. I Am Eye shows movies at D.C. Space every first and third Monday of each month. The public is invited to bring original films to any screening session. Call 393-0255 for details.

Local actor Nick Olcott has been signed to play the male lead, opposite actress Marthe Keller (Marathon Man, Fedora), in a feture film to be shot in El Salvador. Called Presente, the film will be in German; the director is Austrian Heide Pils, known there for television dramas and documentaries with third-world themes. Olcott, who has appeared at the Folger, New Playwrights' and Source theaters, is president of the Actors' Center.

Concurrent with its previously announced program of British postwar cinema, the Mary Pickford Theater at the Library olf Congress will be showing silent specials from the library's extenbsive holdings. This occasional series begins January 24 and 25 with two screenings of the 240-minute restored version of Abel Gance's Napoleon. Other attractions include D.W. Griffith's Way Down East (with piano accompaniment by Christine Niehaus) and a double bill of the 1923 Will Rolgers short Just Passin' Through and L. Frank Baum's independent production olf His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz. All the films are free, but since seating is limited to 64, you need to make reservations by calling 287-5677 from 9 to 4L30 during the week. Reservations are held until 10 minutes before showtime; standbys are admitted at that time. That phone number will also get you a copy of the complete schedule (including showtimes, which vary for the silent films).

The Reston Community Center Theater has begun a series of films on Thursday afternoons at its facility at 2310 Colts Neck Road. The movies are shown every other Thursday at 1 and 3:30; the $1 admission fee includes an introduction and program notes for each film. The next screening, on January 31, is the recent film version of The Pirates of Penzance. Coming films include 1776, Tootsie, Chariots of Fire, All The President's Men, and the underrated 1980 drama Ressurection, co-starring Ellen Burstyn and playwright Sam Shepard. Tickets are general admission and available either at the door or in advance. For a complete schedule, call 476-4500.

Good Eye: Those of you who sat all the way through City Heat may have spotted this fascinating rare disclaimer tacked onto the end of the credits: ''Patrons are warned not to attempt to imitate any of the stunts or situations portrayed in this film'' . . . A lettering error earlier this week on the marquee of the KB Studio Theater in Northwest D.C. produced the following title: ''A Soldier Story.'' Do you suppose that's an endorsement for the film's nomination in the Adapted Screenplay category at the upcoming Oscar ceremony?

Blood Simple, that new independent film profiled in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, will open in Washington on February 8. It's being distributed by Circle Films, the new distribution branch of Jim and Ted Pedas' Circle Theaters. The movie sports a tremendously effective trailer at some local theaters. The preview, which features bits of mayhem followed by the graphic ''Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,'' was edited by John (Trading Places) Landis. The film apparently was made for just over a million dolalrs, a real feat in today's production arena.

THE PAGES OF FILM HISTORY: A very happy 81st birthday this Friday to Archibald Alexander Leach, otherwise known as Cary Grant. Other famous folk celebrating this date include Danny Kaye, John Travolta, and Milos Forman, director of Amadeus.

Birthdays being commemorated this date include those of A.A. Milne and Oliver Hardy. Curly Howard of The Three Stooges died 33 years ago this date. And it was onthis date in 1961 that the uncut versionof Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game finally opened in New York City -- 22 years after it was made (the objectionable scenes involved the shooting of rabbits for sport on a weekend outing).

Desi Arnaz Jr. turns 32 on Saturday, which is also the birthday of Lee Marvin, director John Frankenheimer (whose political thriller Seven Days in May opened on January 19, 1964), Phil Eyerly, Shelly Fabares, Tippi Hedren, Dolly Parton, Jean Stapleton and Fritz Weaver.

Those whose birthdays we remember on Saturday include Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Cezanne, Janis Joplin, Merwyn A. Bogue (known to the world as singer/comedian Ish Kabibble) and Alexander Woollcott.

George Burns turns 89 on Sunday, Federico Fellini, Sidney Poitier, Arte Johnson and Patricia Neal will also be celebrating.

The African Queen, the John Huston film co-starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, opened nationwide on January 20, 1952, and it was seven years ago Sunday that Columbia Pictures paid $9.5 million dollars for the screen rights to the Broadway musical ''Annie'' Arf.