The Frank Capra classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," in which young, idealistic Jimmy Stewart fights for his lost cause in a Senate chamber filled with cynics, has enduring life. Just this week, a reference to the movie was deleted from President Reagan's speech in New Jersey; the president had planned to equate his seemingly lost-cause fight for Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork with Mr. Smith's battle. The Capra film portrayed politicians in a less than adulatory light, sparking some sharp reaction when it had its world premiere here in 1939. Capra was on hand that night as several angry senators huffily left Constitution Hall before the movie was over. The premiere was sponsored by the National Press Club, and when Capra arrived there for a postscreening party he was confronted by a throng of reporters complaining they had been portrayed as drunken sots.

Now, nearly 50 years later, all is forgiven, at least by the press. The National Press Club has invited Stewart to the club Dec. 2 for a special showing of the movie as part of a fundraiser for its library. Don Larrabee, who's organizing the event, said Stewart has said he has stories to tell about making the movie and about its opening night in Washington. And Arthur Hachten, the retired International News Service reporter who was Press Club president in 1939, also plans to be at the showing. If any senators are invited, they probably won't walk out this time.Out and About William F. Buckley remembered Clare Boothe Luce yesterday for "the excitement and glamor" she created and for her "wonderful wry, nasal laugh." He said "her friends will be so sad without her." Luce, the former congresswoman-ambassador- playwright-journalist, was eulogized at St. Stephen-Martyr Church here. She died Friday at the age of 84 and was buried Sunday in a private ceremony at Moncks Corner, S.C. A funeral mass for her Tuesday at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City was attended by former president Richard Nixon. At the Washington service, her stepson Henry Luce III described her as a woman who created "her own footsteps." In trying to sum up her accomplishments, he noted "her journalism, her play writing, her service in Congress and as an ambassador ... She was the woman of the century" ...

Max Kampelman, the head of the U.S. delegation to the negotiations on nuclear and space arms in Geneva, will receive this year's Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. The institute presented its first award to Jackson; other winners have been former U.N. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.). Kampelman, who is a founder of the institute, is being recognized for his efforts on behalf of its primary concerns: "a strong and secure United States and a close strategic relationship between the United States and Israel." The award will be presented Nov. 8 at the Sheraton Washington Hotel with former assistant secretary of defense Richard Perle as the keynote speaker ...

People are always picking on voluble White House correspondent Sam Donaldson. In an interview with the newsletter Longevity, former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn have given a practical guide to the art and science of staying young through exercise, eating properly and avoiding a certain member of the White House press corps. Or, as Rosalynn Carter puts it, one of the fringe benefits of her husband's defeat seven years ago was that "at least we never have to deal with Sam Donaldson again." She must have been kidding. Donaldson is one of the truly entertaining characters at the White House ...