BEVERLY HILLS -- Warren Adler -- author, entrepreneur and erstwhile fixture on the Washington social circuit -- has relocated from the Jockey Club to the Polo Lounge. He's seated in a green leather banquette, his collar unbuttoned, his shades hanging where his tie would be in the more formal atmosphere of the nation's capital. At 60, Adler has gone Hollywood. And after three years in the town that he describes as "the most desperate place in the United States," he has scored: His 1981 novel, "The War of the Roses," has been made into a movie. Starring Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito, the film opens nationwide today. Hollywood is cavalier about its writers, Adler finds. He wasn't consulted during the making of "The War of the Roses." The studio, 20th Century Fox, coughed up only a couple of pairs of tickets for him to the film's New York premiere. On another project, based on his book "Random Hearts," he's listed as executive producer, but he admits he doesn't have a clue what's going on. "I'm supposed to go to all the meetings, but no one invites me," he shrugs. The former owner of glossy Dossier magazine, the chronicle of the lifestyles of Washington's well-off and famous, wasn't daunted even by his anonymity at the premiere of "The War of the Roses." Someone asked him, "Are you anybody?" he reports, and he responded wryly that his son, Michael, has a part in the film, which is true. "Oh," said the questioner, "you're Michael Douglas's father. You're Melvyn Douglas." To which Adler happily pointed out that Melvyn Douglas is dead. (Michael Douglas's real father, Kirk, on the other hand, is alive and well.) But Hollywood's indifference hasn't diminished Adler's belief in Adler. "That's the way it is: The writer as scum," he says cheerfully. "I'm happy because 'War of the Roses' will now be reprinted in every country that buys books." Adler is quick to point out that his 15 novels have been published "in most languages." While some are out of print, he doesn't expect to be forgotten. "I feel I'm writing for future generations," he says. In fact, Adler has had remarkable success getting several works sold or optioned for film and television. "Random Hearts," based on the Air Florida crash, attracted the interest of Dustin Hoffman -- although its fate is uncertain because Hoffman is notoriously slow and indecisive about his movies. "The Sunset Gang," a collection of short stories, will be an American Playhouse miniseries starring Linda Lavin, to air in spring 1990. Warner Bros. has optioned "Madeline's Miracles," a put-down of California psychics, as a possible vehicle for Goldie Hawn. And there are more possible projects in the works. "I don't know many novelists that have that kind of a record," Adler says. "Of all the movies in a given year, how many are adaptations from books?" He answers his own question: Only a very small percentage. "And if you take away the dead writers, it's maybe 4 percent," he adds. "So it's a very, very exclusive club." And lucrative? You bet. "I make no bones about it," he says. "I'm making over seven figures. I do very well. 'War of the Roses' has already earned over a million dollars for me." This despite the fact that "The War of the Roses" wasn't among his best-read novels. He describes the book as a "cult classic" that was "so mean-spirited that a lot of people wouldn't read it." The book and film portray a couple's journey from connubial bliss to living hell. Adler thinks his books sell in Hollywood because they are "deceptively simple to understand." The average studio executive has the attention span of a gnat, so it helps to be able to sum up a "pitch" in a sentence. "For example, 'War of the Roses' is about a mean divorce and a put-down of the yuppie generation," Adler offers. Adler got the idea for the book at a party in Washington: "A guy told me that he had to go home to his wife. But he was dating my friend. He said, 'I'm having a divorce, but we're living in a house together. We share the refrigerator and we have separate times to use the washing machine.' That triggered in me the ultimate married man's fantasy." Movie rights to "The War of the Roses" were first sold in 1981. It wended its way from producer to producer, finally ending up in the hands of James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment," "Broadcast News"). Adler didn't write the screenplay; in fact, as the film was being prepared for production, he says, he was viewed as "a nuisance, a pariah." And after all that, he's delighted with the result. "I thought it was true to my book," he says. "I thought it was immaculately put together." Still, he's prepared for mixed reviews. "It's visceral," he says. "If it hits you in the gut, you either hate it or you love it." Adler continues to be prolific, writing seven days a week, turning out two novels a year. His wife, Sunny, runs a video newsletter in Los Angeles and is thinking of starting a magazine. One of his three sons, Jonathan, is still in Washington, tending Adler Publishing and Communications. Adler and his wife have an apartment in Beverly Hills, but they're building a house in Jackson Hole, Wyo., partly to get an occasional respite from Hollywood. "You discover that it's a hard-nosed, gut-wrenching game they play with each other here," he says. Adler has plenty to say on the contrast between Washington and Hollywood. "Wherever there's a celebrity machine in operation, like in Washington, Hollywood, New York, people are desperate. They're clawing to get into that celebrity mix. Of all the places in the world where that is most active, it's here," he says. "In Washington, the level of desperation is high, but not as high as this." That seems to make people in Hollywood very impolite. "Everybody in Washington answers your phone calls," Adler reminisces. "Everybody. Here, as a general rule, maybe 25 percent of people call you back. That's the height of rudeness." And Hollywood is provincial. "They don't want to read anything," Adler complains. "They don't read newspapers, books. They don't know what the hell is going on. The level of conversation, on a scale of one to 10, is a one compared to Washington, which is a 10. To be uninformed -- they wear that as a badge of honor out here. It's very depressing for us to meet people who have nothing to say. I mean, total emptiness. So we have restricted ourselves to people that read. "In the Jockey Club, if you were a fly on the wall, you would hear the most intelligent conversations in the United States," he resumes nostalgically. "If you sat at the Bistro Gardens, it would be about face lifts. Face lifts, food and maybe Palm Springs. Sometimes, you can be met with a totally blank look if you talk about what's happening in Germany." And L.A. style isn't all it's cracked up to be, either. "The women all have the same color hair, exactly," he says. Still, Adler is grateful. "I don't want to trash {Hollywood} because it is the greatest publicity machine in the world," he says. "If you can get your title on a movie screen, that's like $10 million worth of advertising." And Adler realizes that Hollywood could help him achieve immortality. "When this culture disappears, know what we're going to be remembered for?" he asks. "Hollywood. That is our legacy. Sickening, isn't it?"