The James Bond theme song played Tuesday as University of Colorado students settled into their seats in an afternoon Maymester course.

The (course) name is Bond. James Bond. Well, technically, it's "Topics in Critical Film Studies: Lives of 007." And it's one of 130 Maymester courses being offered at CU this month, with enrollment in the class quickly filling up and garnering a wait list.

"It's a popular cinema topic," said professor Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz, chairman of the film studies department. "But we take it very, very seriously."

In fact, the class concentrates on how the film treats large-scale historical and social issues including the Cold War, sexual revolution, feminism, racism and technological developments.

The last day of spring semester finals on the Boulder campus was Thursday, graduation was Friday and school -- for hundreds of students -- was already back in session by Monday.

About 2,500 students are enrolled in Maymester courses this year. The fast-paced semester allows students to earn three credits in three weeks. Because of the intensive nature of their coursework, they are limited to enrolling in just one Maymester course.

"It gives students the chance to take a class to graduate, for their core or for a second major and still have the summer to work, to travel or intern," said Carol Drake, assistant dean of summer session at CU.

This summer, every school and college is represented in the Maymester offerings, she said.


Maymester is also a popular concept with faculty members, Drake said.

"Faculty love it for the same reason students do," she said. "Everybody is focusing on one class. You build a sense of community, and students really get to know each other."

The "007" class on Tuesday covered "Doctor No," the 1962 British spy movie that was the first James Bond film. Acevedo-Munoz told students the budget for the film was $1 million, fairly modest for the 1960s.

"Dr. No looks like a low-budget James Bond movie," Acevedo-Munoz told the class. "You know why? Because it was a low-budget James Bond movie. It was the only low-budget James Bond film because it was the first. Nobody knew if this was going to be a hit."

James Bond sold the fantasy of a "masculine lifestyle," he said -- the cocktails, cars, women, travel as well as violence.

"Bond has to know his champagne and caviar, but he would still go out and take out a knife on somebody or kill somebody in cold blood," Acevedo-Munoz said.

Later in the class, the students will be reading feminist essay critiques of James Bond.

Acevedo-Munoz also discussed how film distribution practices have changed throughout history, with movies today being "frontloaded," drawing large audiences during opening weekend and sales falling about 57 percent the following weekend. The rollout of films in the 1960s prolonged their popularity.

Many of CU's most popular and highly sought-after courses are offered during Maymester. The accelerated pace means that students should plan to study three to six hours each day outside of class. Missing one day is like missing a full week of a regular-semester course.

Other courses being offered during Maymester include an Arts and Sciences course called "Fairytales of Russia," one in law on "Defending Immigrants in Criminal and Immigration Courts" and a music class on "The History of Jazz."

Recent CU psychology graduate Tracey Macdonald is taking an intensive "Digital Media Bootcamp" before she enters the job market so she can give her degree a competitive edge.

She's learning website design, how to use photo-editing software and how best to use social media in business.

"I'm learning skills that will help me in the job market," she said.

Maymester runs through May 31.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or