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Apr 20, 2024

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Modjeski Film To Premiere In Philadelphia

On July 10, 2016 the film “Bridging Urban America” a biographic documentary film about bridge engineer Ralph Modjeski will have its local premiere in Philadelphia at Drexel University’s Mandell Theatre.  Produced by Basia and Leonard Myszynski of  sOlareye communications in Irvine, California, the film features not  only historical films of  bridge construction but also aerial and close-up views of the bridges as they are today.

In photo: The Myszynskis at work on the bridge.

Details about the screening event and clips
from the film may be seen through the web page:

The two filmmakers learned about Ralph Modjeski (Rudolph Modrzejewski) while working on their documentary about actress Helena Modrzejewska, known in the America simply as Modjeska. They found  that she had a son who became one of the world’s leading bridge building engineers. When the film about actress and Polish patriot Modrzejewska entitled: Modjeska: Woman Triumphant  received much praise and was shown on Public Television (PBS) stations across the United States,  Basia and Leonard decided to do an even more ambitious film. Though he headed the construction  of some of  America’s most famous bridges: the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, the Huey Long Bridge in  New Orleans, and the Roosevelt Bridge in Poughkeepsie, NY his name was hardly known.

MidHudsonBridgeforwebBridging Urban America-The Story of Ralph Modjeski is intended to bring this important engineer back into prominence.    Working against convention, he created new precedents in bridge construction, pushing the concept  of “form follows function” to new limits,   simultaneously creating a  truly beautiful structures that still evokes wonder.  The spare and slim solution he first employed on the bridge between Philadelphia and Camden is replicated and reflected in the silhouettes of hundreds of  bridges around the world. The engineering firm Modjeski and Masters, located  in  Mechanicsburg near Harrisburg, PA,  carries on the legacy and is very active in pioneering bridge engineering and design. (Photo: The Roosevelt or Mid-Hudson Bridge)

During work on this project the Myszynski’s travelled to eight major bridges and twelve North American cities. They have obtained interviews from experts in their fields on Modjeski’s role in the creation of these railroad and highway bridges expose his impact on engineering and transportation history in America. They have explored some little know sources of information as well as the huge treasure of letters and photographs stored at the Smithsonian Museum archives in Washington, DC. Much new photography includes dramatic helicopter aerials and drone-operated cameras capture the beauty and immensity of these structures.

“This outstanding film about a visionary engineer and America’s bridges could not have come at a better time, showing as it does the importance of infrastructure to a nation’s economy, culture, and sense of self-worth.” — Henry Petroski, Professor of Civil Engineering and history, Duke University; author of Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America.

Story courtesy of Peter Obst

BFbynight_MG_3forwebIn Photo: Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia

 Photographs – courtesy of sOlareye communications

P-Obst and Myszynskisforweb








In photo on left (l-r) Leonard Myszynski, Peter Obst, Basia Myszynska, David Pattison at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC





Basia-LeonardforwebIn photo on left:  Leonard & Basia Myszynski