For a brief moment in the 1980s, some of the most crass, sidesplitting comedies came to us from Walt Disney Pictures, and most of them starred Bette Midler. RUTHLESS PEOPLE, from the team that brought us "Airplane!", might be the crassest and funniest of them all. Sam Stone (Danny DeVito) married his wife, Barbara (Bette Midler) for her money, and is plotting to kill her for that inheritance. Enter Ken and Sandy Kessler (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater), two hapless kidnappers, who've taken Barbara and want a big ransom, or they'll kill her. To their chagrin, Sam ignores them, Barbara might be the worst person they have ever met, and everything goes haywire. "Ruthless People" opened modestly, then spent the entire summer of 1986 sending audiences into an uproar, becoming Disney's highest grossing film of the year.
35mm print - Walt Disney Pictures