cut to the chase
This phrase meaning get to the point comes from the early days of Hollywood. Originally, it literally referred to a cut from a dramatic scene to an action one (the chase). The literal sense dates to J.P. McEvoy’s 1927 novel Hollywood Girl, where it is given as a script direction:
Jannings escapes...Cut to chase.
Figurative use comes sometime later. From F. Scully’s 1955 Cross My Heart:
I am the sort who wants to “cut to the chase” As far as I’m concerned, we can read the instructions later.
(Source: Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition)
Copyright 1997-2013, by David Wilton