The Little Details
Running Time: 96 min. (The cover states ”Running Time: 1 Hour 54 Minutes” which is true if one includes the behind the scenes footage, but as is appears a bit misleading.)
Production Date: 6 / 17 / 2002, 2 / 15 / 2004, 11 / 21 / 2006, 3 / 22 / 2007, 11 / 17 / 2007
Director: Andrew Blake
Cast: Adriana Sage, Aria Giovanni, Claire Adams, Courtney Page, Cytherea, Dahlia Grey, Elena Rivera, Emily Marilyn, Faith Leon, Georgia Jones, Jade Starr, Justine Joli, Melisande, Michelle Maylene, Paola Rey, Rebeca Linares, Sasha Grey, and Aaron Wilcox
The Short Story
Initial Expectations: Andrew Blake's artistic eye combined with bondage themes and rope work has me eagerly looking forward to this one.
Initial Reaction: It's every bit as visually stunning as I hoped, but although the cover doesn't make it appear so it's also a compilation.
Who Should Watch It : Anybody wanting a compilation of Andrew Blake's bondage and more fetish oriented scenes
Who Should Avoid It: Anybody wanting a brand new release
The Technical Stuff
Audio /Video Quality: As usual with Andrew Blake, the technical aspects show an extreme amount of care. The audio is almost completely limited to music with very few sounds from the actual performers, and works well for the artistic styles of the scenes. The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen and looks fantastic. The scenes are all shot on film and look fantastic with just a hint of grain as well as lighting that shows plenty of care. There's also a nice mix of black and white footage mixed in with the full color presentation, and many times the scenes are slowed down slightly to add a little more of an artistic style.
Music: The music shows every bit as much care as the visuals. It never feels like typical porno music, and although it’s normally the only audio in the scenes, there’s a lot of care put into the levels as well. The music plays very well with the visuals of this release and helps out every one of the scenes.
Disc Complaints: Before one gets to the main menu you're forced to watch a commercial for Andrew Blake's website that you can't skip past or even scan through. This always pisses me off and gives me a feeling like whoever put out the release has a lack of respect for those who are putting out their hard earned money to support them. I'm deducting a half point from the overall score because of this.
Menus: The main menu gives an artistic still with the choices for a very simple yet intriguing first impression. The chapter menu gives a few more stills while letting you choose a scene based on a scene number along with a title or the name of the performers in it.
The FeatureAndrew Blake has been known for a specific style of artistic porn for roughly twenty years. His scenes focus on beauty and sensuality, and often have a dreamlike, artistic feeling to them. They also rarely feature males, instead focusing on masturbation and lesbian scenes while rarely getting into nastier sex. High Strung Women collects sixteen of Andrew Blake's scenes with a heavy focus on bondage themes and rope work. Due to the very graphic nature of the scenes and the consistent style and look of the scenes I'm breaking away from my traditional reviewing format for this release. Those who would like to check out some of Andrew Blake's style can check it out at www.andrewblake.com.
The scenes featured in High Strung Women are collected from Blake's Flirts, House Pets, Justine, X, and X 2 with the following scene breakdown:
Scene 1: Faith Leon
Scene 2: Speedway starring Paola Ray from ”X”
Scene 3: Elena Rivera
Scene 4: Aria Giovanni and Justine Jolie from Justine
Scene 5: Lipstick starring Courtney Page and Elena Rivera from House Pets
Scene 6: Junk in the Trunk starring Adriana Sage and Dahlia Grey from Flirts
Scene 7: Adriana Sage and Justine Jolie from Flirts
Scene 8: Hollywood Download starring Faith Leon and Aaron Wilcox from ”X”
Scene 9: Mummified starring Cytherea, Melisande, and Rebeca Linares from ”X”
Scene 10: Leg Lust starring Georgia Jones and Michelle Maylene from ”X”
Scene 11: High Strung starring Claire Adams and Sasha Grey from House Pets
Scene 12: Aria Giovanni and Emily Marilyn from Justine
Scene 13: Adriana Sage and Dahlia Grey from Flirts
Scene 14: Dildo Play starring Cytherea, Melisande, and Rebeca Linares from ”X”
Scene 15: Remote Controlled starring Courtney Page from House Pets
High Strung Women leaves me with some very mixed feelings. On one hand, I was very impressed with this release. I love Andrew Blake's artistic eye and style combined with bondage themes, and I could barely break my eyes away from the movie as it played in front of me. The women are beautiful, and combined with Blake's artistic eye I was completely pulled in from when the movie started right up to the final credits rolling. On the other hand, this is a compilation release and unless one pays attention to the release dates there's no way to know that going in. I know that Andrew Blake has a very devoted following, and it's one that I think is very well earned and deserved, but the boxcover on this one seems more than a little deceptive. Even as somebody who has a greater appreciation of Blake's work with every release I see I felt a little betrayed as I fully expected this to be a new release due to comments such as ”the master bondage rigger, Damon Pierce, has contributed his consummate skills to this film”. High Strung Women is every bit as visually stunning as one would expect from Andrew Blake, just don't expect anything new from it.
The Extra StuffTrailers are included for Night Trips: A Dark Odyssey, X 2, and Paid Companions. There's also behind the scenes footage and commercials.
Behind the scenes footage is included for three scenes from ”X”. Waterplay starring Jade Starr and Melisande (which was not included in this release) starts things off with about six minutes of the girls having fun with the camera and working with Andrew Blake to get things how he envisions them. Mummified (which did appear in this release) with Cytherea, Melisande, and Rebeca Linares is next with about five and a half minutes of footage with Andrew Blake shooting the girls as he gives them a few instructions of what he's going for along with getting a few outtakes. Finally there's about six minutes of Fashion Slaves between Melisande and Rebeca Linares with the girls getting a little direction. This is a nice trio of behind the scenes featurettes. I'll readily admit that I would have liked it more if all three scenes were from this release, but when it comes to masters like Andrew Blake it's always nice to see them work. With a pair of these scenes not quite fitting into the theme of the movie it would have also been nice if they would have been included as bonus scenes along with the behind the scenes footage. Regardless, although it could have been better this is a nice addition to the DVD.
The Down -n- Dirty Sex Stuff
Themes: Straight, all girl, fetish, tease, bondage, peeing, toys, interracial, group, and masturbation
Raincoat Factor: Very high
Condom Usage: None needed
The Bottom Line:Currently, most of Studio A’s DVDs can be found online for between about $18 and $30 with only a few stores offering them near the low end. Although I do have some strong reservations about how this release is presented, I can also say that it's well worth the money at the low end. I like the idea of Andrew Blake releasing themed compilations of his work, and this one works well. The technical aspects are very bit as good as one would expect from Blake and there's also a little effort put into the extras. It would have been nice if this would have showed more clearly that it was a compilation, but this is still a well done release.
Note to Studio A: There's nothing wrong with releasing compilations, but when you make it look like it's a brand new release that gives consumers a reason to withhold trust in the future. With how many great scenes Andrew Blake has put out I can definitely see the desire to release compilations, but in the future I hope you make it much more clear that it's a compilation as well as clearly letting fans know who's in each scene and where it comes from by listing it in the chapter menu on the DVD or in the closing credits.
If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me .
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