The widow in question is wealthy Tamarind Brooks (Gloria Swanson), who flits from one man to another with the rapidity of a butterfly. Beginning in New York and ending in Paris, Tamarind collects men like some people collect stamps. Among her most ardent suitors are lawyer Gerry (Owen Moore), violin virtuoso Baslikoff (Gregory Gaye), opera baritone Alvarado (Herbert Braggiotti), and cabaret dancer Victor (Lew Cody). After playing the field with gay abandon, Tamarind finally returns to square one (in a manner of speaking) and marries Gerry. Gloria Swanson is given opportunity aplenty to display her splendid singing voice, and even gets to hark back to her Keystone Comedy days by indulging in some gratuitous slapstick. In a sense, What a Widow was filmic valentine to Swanson from her sponsor-lover, producer Joseph P. Kennedy (JFK's father). Audiences, however, were not quite as smitten as "Papa Joe," and the film was a box-office bust.
by Hal Erickson synopsis