Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds
Spirits of the Air Gremlins of the Clouds.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byAlex Proyas
Produced byAlex Proyas
Andrew McPhail
Written byAlex Proyas
StarringMichael Lake
Rhys Davis
Norman Boyd
Music byPeter Miller
CinematographyDavid Knaus
Edited byCraig Wood
Meaningful Eye Contact
Distributed byMMA Films, Pro-Image
Release date
1989 (copyright 1988)
Running time
93 min.

Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds is a 1989 Australian post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure film directed by Alex Proyas. It was his first feature.

The film was shot on location near Broken Hill, New South Wales and at Supreme Studios Sydney.[2]


Siblings Felix and Betty Crabtree live alone in a homestead on a treeless desert plain. Their solitary lives are interrupted by a fugitive with a mysterious past, who gives the name "Smith". Smith is fleeing to the north, a trio of sinister figures in pursuit. The wheelchair-bound Felix tells Smith that the route to the north is blocked by an impassable wall of cliffs, and convinces him that the only way he can travel beyond them is to fly. Smith, at first skeptical, is eventually convinced that his only means of escape lies with Felix's plan to build a "flying machine". Meanwhile, the religiously-addled Betty is convinced that Smith is a demon from hell, and makes her own plans to get rid of him.


  • Michael Lake as Felix Crabtree
  • Rhys Davis (Melissa Davis) as Betty Crabtree
  • Norman Boyd (The Norm) as Smith


Film critic David Stratton praised the film as having a "special vision" with brilliant production design while stating that "the film frustrates because of its lethargy and stiltedness".[3]

Rolling Stone magazine called the soundtrack recording "an album of stunning instrumental beauty and exquisite soundscapes" and awarded it 4 stars.[4]


In June 2018, director Alex Proyas released a trailer on his YouTube channel for a re-release of the movie, remastered from original 16mm negative and featuring a restored soundtrack from the original Dolby Stereo mixes.[5] The movie was re-released internationally in September 2018 on Blu-ray and DVD by Umbrella Entertainment.[6] Composer Peter Miller's original soundtrack was also re-released as a 30th anniversary edition.[7]


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards[8]
(1988 AFI Awards)
Best Production Design Sean Callinan Nominated
Best Costume Design Angela Tonks Nominated
Mathu Anderson Nominated
ARIA Music Award Best Original Soundtrack, Cast or Show Album Peter Miller Nominated
Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival Special Prize[9] Alex Proyas Won


  1. ^ "Australian Productions Top $175 million", Cinema Papers, March 1986 p64
  2. ^ Peter Miller (Spirits' Composer/ Art Director) website: Spirits Image & Trivia Archive
  3. ^ "David Stratton 'The Avocado Plantation' 1990". australiancinema.info. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  4. ^ Australian Rolling Stone Issue 434, August 1989
  5. ^ "SPIRITS RESTORATION TRAILER". Mystery Clock Cinema YouTube channel. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  6. ^ "SPIRITS OF THE AIR, GREMLINS OF THE CLOUDS (BLU-RAY) - Umbrella Entertainment". Umbrella Entertainment. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  7. ^ ""Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds" 30th Anniversary Soundtrack re-release". www.scribbletronics.com. September 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  8. ^ Australian Film Institute/Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts Past Winners 1988
  9. ^ "Yubari International Fantastic Adventure Film Festival '90". yubarifanta.com.

External links[edit]